Monday, 23 July 2012

A Cat's Eye View

Still pleased with this piece I drew in good old fashioned ink & paper for a children's book, a few years back.

Friday, 29 June 2012

People, places...

There's a lot of digital art out there on the web. Too much you might say – as an artist it's very easy to feel swamped by competition or depressed when you realise everybody who is better than you is also younger! However, although I absolutely love looking through other artists' online portfolios – always a source of good inspiration – when it comes to science fiction and fantasy art, so much of it is very samey. 

Some of the recurring themes you find in science fiction and fantasy art are countless occurrences of scantily-clad women with large, bulging breasts, enigmatic, shadowy heroes boasting huge chunky blasters or all manner of winged beasts, fairies or angels. It is with this in mind that I have often avoided creating similar pieces – do we really need more of it? The irony is, that back in my days of self-produced graphic novels, the emphasis was always on the characters and character designs – and these are the elements which trigger the emotions and draw you in – the human factor. I suspect some folk simply aren't drawn in my a conceptual piece that doesn't have a character in it.

Maybe this is why – though possibly limiting my options in the process – I find it much more interesting to put the viewer in the heart of the scene, or to include the character in such a way that while they remain crucial to the image, they're not always the focal point. I've come to realise that this may well be what I can confidently call my 'style'.

It's funny how when I think back to my college years, the simple prospect of painting a landscape bored the hell out of me. Nowadays it is quite the opposite – the idea of creating a portal to other worlds; a window overlooking an alien terrain or dreamy landscape in which to escape, is the driving force behind so many pieces.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Synesthetic art

I've already written a blog entry on this, but today, I felt compelled to expand on it a little...

Last year, I posted a gallery of work from 2004, of my synesthesia-inspired art. Looking back on this, I really am quite proud of this work, not only because I love the music that inspired each piece, but because I managed to capture the abstract sensations and visions I experienced whilst playing the music and transpose them on to the screen.

Synesthesia takes many forms, from mild to extreme, each individual having a very specific experience. For me, the association of sounds/music, words and numbers with colours has always been there. I assumed everybody experienced the same. I didn't even know it had a name. Not until 1997 when I heard the term for the first time – which put a whole new slant on everything for me.

I'm lucky that for me the synesthesia isn't intrusive or disturbing in any way – it's an addition to my work and an extra facet of creativity. Sadly for some people the condition can be extremely distressing and problematic, especially in more severe cases.

As I first realised what synesthesia was in Peter Gabriel's CD-ROM project, Eve, it made perfect sense, as an ardent fan of Gabriel's music, to try and illustrate how several of his songs took form in my mind. I remember working through many different tracks – not necessarily my favourites – and not getting anywhere with some, and others came together instantly. "Come Talk to Me" was such an example – the colours, forms and textures that I achieved on screen (as these were digital pieces) were close to what I experienced when listening to the music. What is consistent through each piece I produced, over a series of days of listening to the songs, was the central "streak" of white or cream, which in most cases tears through the middle of the image. My ultimate conclusion was that this represented the vocals.

The result was an interesting suite of abstract images – which I would have been very satisfied with even had it not grown out of such an unusual matter. I've often wondered why I haven't tried it again on other artists' work and songs that I like. But actually I realise, that I have. Every time I paint, I listen to music – and this makes up a core element of any piece I produce.

Talk in Pictures gallery on The Light Dream

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Forgotten pieces

In every artist's studio or computer archive lurk those old abandoned pieces; rough starting points for new pieces of art which never got off the ground, or simple quick sketches to capture a spontaneous idea. All abandoned and unfinished. So most of the time, these pieces simply gather virtual dust, in the darkest corners of the hard drive, but sometimes the discovery of a long-forgotten piece can spark a new idea or the impetus to finish it off.

Either way, good or bad, I believe in saving all these rough ideas. You never know when they might come in handy. Here is a selection of some of my 'forgotten pieces'...

Clockwise from top left: Future Perfect, Assassin, Sunstorm, Kingdom and When it Rains.