Amy Ross writes “I am interested in the idea of artist as mad scientist. My drawings offer visual hypotheses to the question: what would happen if the DNA sequence of a plant or mushroom were spliced with that of an animal? Using graphite, watercolor, and walnut ink on paper as well as directly on gallery walls in site-specific installations, I portray animals morphed with branches, mushrooms, berries, and blossoms, thus forming implausible hybrid creatures. These images subvert the traditional genre of botanical illustration by approaching the close study of the natural world through the lens of genetic engineering and mutation gone awry.”
Her delightful images make your face smile as you imagine small mushroom birds bursting from the soil or hopping along branches. The delicate colours emphasise the unusual creatures created from both foliage and fur or feathers. Her attention to detail, and delicate renderings of shadow, smudge, beak and eye make you wish that her mad creations existed somewhere in the world. And perhaps they do! Find her work here.
Tiffany Bozic grew up in Arkansas amongst the natural elements on a farm. Working with acrylic paint on mapel wood, her observations of nature are both striking and dark. Living and working in San Francisco, she has shown her work in a multitude of galleries. Her art inspired by J J Audubon as well as notions of power, grabs your attention. Fascinating compositions, attention to detail and showcasing curious relationships between fauna and flora which blossom and bloom from the panels.
“Andrew Hem’s introspective, otherworldly paintings explore realities one step away from our everyday waking life.” And I can’t get enough. Hem is a Cambodian American artist, I love his use of colour, and the way he depicts his characters. Faces full of shadow and light. And his figures are so light footed and full of movement and mood.
Check out his website and blog for more info and images.
Ralph McQuarrie’s art must look familiar to generations of movie goers, his work featured in Star Wars, Battlestar Gallactica and a slew of sci-fi flicks. He was a conceptual artist, and past away this year in March at the age of 83. He left behind a legacy of fantastic moonscapes, robots, and epic futuristic space stations.
McQuarrie started off drawing teeth and aeroplane parts for a dentistry firm and Boeing respectively, and created posters for the Apollo Space Program. His technical illustration ended up catching the eye of George Lucas, who commissioned him to create conceptual art work for his new film, Starwars.
“McQuarrie designed many of the film’s characters, including Darth Vader, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO and drew many concepts for the film’s sets. It was McQuarrie who suggested that Vader wear breathing apparatus. McQuarrie’s concept paintings, including such scenes as R2-D2 and C-3PO arriving on Tatooine, helped convince 20th Century Fox to fund Star Wars, which became a huge success upon release in 1977.Neil Kendricks of The San Diego Union-Tribune stated McQuarrie “holds a unique position when it comes to defining much of the look of the “Star Wars” universe.”McQuarrie noted, “I thought I had the best job that an artist ever had on a film, and I had never worked on a feature film before. […] I still get fan mail — people wondering if I worked on Episode I or just wanting to have my autograph.” source
His work carved out a particular style within the sci-fi-fantasy genre, creating landscapes and worlds that one could really imagine inhabiting, vast alien vistas receding into the distance, populated with characters that, brought into our lives through cinema, feel like old friends.
“Ralph McQuarrie’s life can be clearly divided into two distinct sections: before Star Wars, he was an industrious, skilled, virtually unknown technical illustrator; after Star Wars, he became the most sought after Production Illustrator ever to work in films.
A primary reason for this change, of course, has to do with the film’s unprecedented success. But, in a very real sense, Star Wars wouldn’t have been the film it was without McQuarrie. His eyes and hands were the first lenses through which Star Wars was focused and captured for Lucas’ inspection and refinement.” source
You can find out more, and see more of his art on his website.
These are a few paintings from Stefan à Wengen, a Swiss artist based in Germany. His work is often times dark, mysterious, and I particularly love his “Occurrence” series, which I have presented here. The paintings make you ask questions, what happened? why? where? Your imagination spins off in a multitude of directions, fuelled by his landscapes and creatures, who seem furtive, perhaps trying to escape, flying off canvas, and creeping into shadows. The mood seems one of the hunter or hunted.
He includes an interesting interview in his website, an excerpt of which I have included here.
Where does your interest in night, darkness and desolation come from?
That is not an easy question! I try to answer;
I try to work with things I do not understand like death, sexuality and time. Since my childhood I am fascinated in things I tried to understand but nobody could explain me, for example where melancholy comes from, why do I have depressing days, why is alienation so alien, why is the night sometimes frightening and at the same time so beautiful and protective.
There is always light in the dark, there is always good in evil – or like Lautréamont once said: “Like Baudelaire, like Flaubert, he too believes that the aesthetic expression of evil implies the most vital appreciation of good, the highest morality.”
Or to tell it in an other way:
I always felt the idyll seems uncanny to me, the idyll of a fancy suburbia for example implies to me a great deal of violence to keep up the idyll as such, to keep up the atmosphere of this area, that suggests, that there is always Sunday. These things make me angry and are fascinating me at the same time.
There is no black or white, there is neither a grey, but there can be black and white… you know what I mean…
And doesn’t have everybody a dark side? Don’t we enjoy the execration sometimes – beside it helps to keep up our cardiovascular system?
Say hello to the girls of Sonya Fu, an artist based in Hong Kong. She says her artworks are based on dreams, which she renders in a digital format, with intricate details, her doll like figurines emerging from moody backdrops. The colours and compositions make for striking illustrations, and the girls are both cute and creepy at the same time.