Here’s the video of a TED talk by Bruce McCall, an illustrator from (notably) The New Yorker and The National Lampoon, in which he talks about his retro-futuristic work and humor. Near the beginning he describes how he arrived at his gouache style in terms that make that style sound like a limitation – while he also makes it pretty clear that the style is a kind of visual grammar that he uses, as you’ll see, to great effect. That stands out for me because the signature style is a double-edged sword that I know pretty well.
Throughout the talk we see examples of McCall’s work from his "Serious Nonsense" retrospective. He’s arrived at or invented a number of labels and phrases for his work that are sometimes pointed, and usually amusing, from the familiar retrofuturism to the unfamiliar and altogether charming faux nostalgia.
These illustrations are grounded in the real imagination of the 1930’s through the 1950’s (autogyros jousting over Malibu, or the auditions for King Kong); many of them get their bite from McCall’s experience as an illustrator and copywriter for the automobile industry. As he mentions in the talk a lot of this work has been folded into his children’s book, Marveltown.
And near the end, there’s another treat – an animated version of his three-page New Yorker cover based on The Ascent of Man – seen as an escalator.
Sizer’s very graphic portraiture and illustration is often accented with some swell machine age typography, as you can easily see here. The work’s playful but very well executed.
He’s done quite a lot of work on projects for the electronic musician Thomas Dolby. Dolby’s been doing this long enough that the "electronic" is grandfathered in; how much these days isn’t electronic, in one way or another?
Oh! I forgot about polka.
Some of the other pieces here were born in one area or another of Warren Ellis’ Whitechapel forums – there are some imaginative Remake/Remodel works (like 2000 AD, at right) and some portraits of other Whitechapel users.
All in all, well worth your browsing time. So, you know, get clicking.
Here at the Secret Laboratory the outside world just can’t decide what season it is. The occasionally balmy day is alternating with near-freezing temperatures. The trees and plants, not to mention the birds, have committed to Spring. I salute their determination!
But you can see from the above that in Retropolis there isn’t any such confusion. In this new illustration for The Lair of the Clockwork Book
Gwen and Rusty are hard at work on the Great Plains where something has interfered with their prairie restoration project. I’m afraid you won’t find out what, exactly, or even see this illustration again, until sometime in June. That’s just how the schedule rolls.
Back on April first I mentioned that something pretty neat might be going on, but I couldn’t say just what. Well it really is going on – this weekend, in fact – but I probably still shouldn’t say what it is. I might not be able to say for awhile yet… because it’s one of those things. Still, even secretive neatness is pretty neat. In a secretive way.
Krenkel’s later work is an indelible part of my memories of growing up – his covers, frontispieces and illustrations for the old Ace paperbacks, his work in Amra, and his collaborations with other artists like his friends Frank Frazetta and Al Williamson crop up everywhere in my memories. He had an enviable knowledge of real history, its artifacts and our archaeology that informed all his fantastic works and, I think, lent Frazetta a firm grounding for his own fantasy paintings and illustrations.
This illustration came early enough in Krenkel’s career that his signature inking, with its delicacy and spontaneity, hadn’t gelled yet. That’s one of the reasons that I like it. The catwalks, ray guns and mysterious machines don’t hurt either, of course.
I just realized that I haven’t heard lately from (or about) sculptor Greg Brotherton. If you’ve been here awhile, you might remember one or two posts I’ve written about his work in days gone by.
So I hied myself over to his gallery web site and found some new, typically neat and sinister pieces. I especially like the one I show here, Listening In. Brotherton lists its materials as "Welded steel, cast pewter, payphone dial, parts from a beer tap, concrete", which I think may sum up a large part of my own life, as well as reminding me quite a bit of my telephone.
There’s a similar piece called The Calculator that’s also really striking. The new pieces are often smaller, and somehow more intimate, than the large pieces I’ve featured here before. As always, incredibly neat work can be found in his gallery.
[tags]greg brotherton, sculpture, retro, assemblage, found objects, robots, dystopia[/tags]