Illustration

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Art Design Illustration

A Monograph Gathers Dozens of Jolly, Anxious, and Relatable Characters by Artist Jean Jullien

May 18, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Pepe the Weekender” (2018), made for Lieux Mouvants. Image © Nicole Zezig. All images courtesy of Phaidon, shared with permission

It’s easy to recognize the quirky, joyful characters of French artist Jean Jullien. Whether looming over a park or gracing a deck of cards, his dodgy dogssmirking fish, and mischievous tree-climbers are cartoonish in style and emotionally conspicuous with their anxious expressions and good-natured gestures. A forthcoming monograph published by Phaidon celebrates Jullien’s broad body of work, which spans public sculpture, illustration, and design. In addition to his most lauded projects, the 256-page volume also contains early sketches and never-before-seen pieces. Jean Jullien ships on May 25 from Bookshop.

 

Vivi (70 3/4 inches), Bruno (66 7/8 inches) Lili (55 1/8 inches), (2019), acrylic paint on aluminum. Photo © Jean Jullien Studio, courtesy of NANZUKA

“Dog Bench” (2019), limited-edition metal bench produced with Case Studyo. Image © Case Studyo

Sculpture for the show The People (2017), fiberglass, 4 7/8 feet. Image © Computer Graphic Plus Co., Ltd.

Photo collage for a feature published in National Geographic (April/May 2018). Image © the artist and Jean Jullien Studio

 

 



Art Craft Illustration

Seven Artists Crack Open the Art of Printed Matter in 'Bookworks'

May 17, 2022

Kate Mothes

Guy Laramée, “Encyclopedie Larousse” (detail), carved books, pigments, inks, and metal clip. All images courtesy of James Freeman Gallery

Books have beguiled us since they first emerged in the form of ancient scrolls and codices around the world. The way we access, utilize, and enjoy reading material has seen technological transformation over the centuries, from Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in the 15th century, to the first dictionary produced in 1532, to the advent of affordable pocket paperbacks in the early 20th century. Paper tomes have had an immeasurable impact on society and our ability to relay knowledge, and even in an age of digital e-readers, the physical volume still embodies an appeal as timeless as literature itself. In a new exhibition in London, the world of reading provides a starting point for the seven artists to explore a wide range of themes and materials, highlighting our perennial fascination with the printed and bound medium.

Cheri Smith, Russell Webb, Guy Laramée (previously), Aron Wiesenfeld, Guillermo Martin Bermejo, El Gato Chimney, and Claire Partington (previously) work across a wide range of styles including sculpture, illustration, painting, and printmaking. In Bookworks, Laramée’s deconstructed reference volumes are transformed into miniature topographical landscapes that challenge our sense of scale. Cheri Smith’s paintings, sometimes painted onto book covers, reference the eccentricity of animals and how they are categorized in natural history catalogues. El Gato Chimney constructs elaborate narrative illustrations in accordion-style publications that follow an eccentric band of characters as they confront giant creatures.

Bookworks is on view at James Freeman Gallery through June 4.

 

Guy Laramée, “Encyclopedie Larousse,” carved books, pigments, inks, and metal clip

Guy Laramée, “Encyclopedie Larousse,” carved books, pigments, inks, and metal clip

El Gato Chimney, “The Frog’s Apparition” (2021), watercolor and gouache on Moleskine notebook

El Gato Chimney, “The Frog’s Apparition” (2021), watercolor and gouache on Moleskine notebook

El Gato Chimney, “Crazy Wind” (2022), watercolor and gouache on Moleskine notebook

El Gato Chimney, “Kyu! Kyu!” (2022), watercolor and gouache on Moleskine notebook

Guy Laramée, “Petit Larousse Illustré” (2019), carved dictionary, pigments, inks, brass clip

Guy Laramée, “Petit Larousse Illustré” (2019), carved dictionary, pigments, inks, brass clip

Aron Wiesenfeld, “Readers” (2021), gouache on paper

Russell Webb, “Portrait of the Artist as an Author” (2022), oil paint and varnish on ply

Cheri Smith, “Sausage” (2020), oil on board 

 

 



Art Illustration

Flora and Fauna Assume Eccentric Guises in Bill Mayer's Wryly Playful Portraits

May 11, 2022

Kate Mothes

“The Wakening”. All images © Bill Mayer, shared with permission

Royal frogs, masquerading lemurs, and florals with human faces are just some of the eccentric characters in acclaimed illustrator Bill Mayer’s (previously) gouache paintings. The traditional aesthetic of European still-life, aristocratic portraiture, and romantic landscape paintings set the scene for uncanny, chimerical subjects who engage in dreamlike encounters or gaze haughtily at the viewer. Gouache, which is water-soluble and more vividly opaque than watercolor, allows the artist to mimic the incredible detail of oil paint.

Mayer continues to work on commissioned projects for recognizable publications such as The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, Mother Jones, and Scientific American. He often shares his varied assignments on his blog, including a collaboration earlier this year with the producers of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver to submit a painting to the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. “Duck Judges”—although disqualified from winning the stamp design for technical reasons—raised $25,000 in funds to support the conservation efforts of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Mayer is currently working toward some group shows, and you can keep up with updates on his website, where you can also find prints available for sale in his shop. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

“Le Dauphin de Rana”

“Mr. Moostache”

“The Offering”

“Duck Judges”

“Le Magistrat”

“Le Visiteur”

“Mother Opossum”

“Kinky Ducks No. 02”

 

 

 



Illustration

Elaborate Narratives Emerge From the Surreal, Mysterious Worlds of Victo Ngai's Illustrations

May 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Hummingbird” (2019). All images © Victo Ngai, shared with permission

Starting with a single word or short prompt from an editor or brand, Victo Ngai (previously) imagines fantastical dreamscapes brimming with surreal details. The Los Angeles-based, Hong Kong-born illustrator collaborates on commissioned projects that, although intended to be paired with an article or advertisement, become visual narratives in their own right. She shapes a tiger from coiled red ribbons, places an enormous hound among a nighttime cityscape veiled in shades of blue, and reinterprets the sun and its rays as a colorful, segmented circle hovering above the horizon. Each piece envisions an elaborately constructed world laced with metaphor and mystery.

Utilizing both analog and digital techniques, Ngai begins with an initial stylized composition. “Sometimes a bright spark can lead to nothing, and sometimes a great idea is not translatable visually. A concept can die anywhere through this ideation process, and I can only breathe easy once a solid preliminary sketch arrives,” she tells Colossal. After drawing a black-and-white outline, she combines various mediums and scanned textures into her final, layered works.

At the moment, Ngai is working on a few illustrated children’s books, which you can follow on Behance and Instagram. She also sells prints and other goods in her shop.

 

“Leap” (2013)

“Tiger” (2022)

“Late Night Dining” (2012)

“The Day” (2012)

“Breast Labyrinth” (2012)

“Empress” (2020)

 

 



Craft Illustration

Curious Squirrels and Rambunctious Hares Form a Miniature Menagerie of Felted Wildlife

May 4, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Simon Brown, shared with permission

From a shy baby fox to toads donning crowns, the felted miniatures crafted by Simon Brown and Katie Corrigan are adorable, whimsical renditions of forest creatures. The Northumbria, U.K.-based creative duo transforms thick rovings of wool into wildlife that can be found perching on a snowy branch or creeping up on a mouse through the grass-like bristles of a wooden brush. Brown tells Colossal that he plans to incorporate more found objects into the newer sculptures, which are increasingly illustrative in style, and is also working on developing automata to add a liveliness to the realistic characters. See more of the pair’s process on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Illustration

Elegant Tattoos by Expanded Eye Combine Fragmented Figures and Geometric Details into Surreal Compositions

April 28, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Jade Tomlinson and Kev James, shared with permission

Splashes of primary colors enhance the dotted lines and angular forms that compose Expanded Eye’s tattoos. Artists Jade Tomlinson and Kev James (previously) are behind the distinctly geometric designs that pair foliage and natural matter with architectural constructions and figures: single hands extend with delicate gestures, fragmented faces open to unveil inner dimensions, and stripes, chevrons, and other patterns fill structural elements. The ink-based works are poetic and surreal, with each composition rooted in narratives of consciousness, relationships, and universal human emotions like grief and joy.

Expanded Eye currently tattoos at Lisbon’s Eritage Art Projects, which also has some of the duo’s prints and sculptural assemblages available in its shop. They just completed a window installation for Hermès in Barcelona, in addition to a print series titled Eyesolation, which constructed characters from the cobalt tiles typical in Lisbon. See those works alongside more of their tattoos on Instagram.