Wednesday, 26 January 2011


I suspect every creative has a bookmarks folder containing links to artists who inspire awe. I have just such a folder and thought it would be good to start the year by highlighting some of my favourites. It would be easy to get lost in the genius of past masters, but in this post I specifically want to focus on the effect those masters have had on 21st century artists and illustrators. There are so many amazing people out there this is inevitably a tiny selection listed in no particular order. Except the first one which was very deliberately placed.

If you do not find Yerko's work astonishing then you are probably dead from the forehead down, in which case a visit to your doctor is highly recommended.
Vladyslav Yerko (also spelled 'Erko' by some) is a Ukranian illustrator who perfectly captures the crucial ingredients of folk tales which have amazed, enthralled and downright frightened us through the ages. His art speaks for itself, which is perhaps why he does not appear to have an official online presence, but here are a few links to his work.

I am a friend of the National Galleries of Scotland because I happen to believe it is important to support creativity in society and also because I get to see every exhibition as many times as I like for no extra cost! One of the perks of being a friend is the receipt of invites to opening nights, and it was just such an occasion which first introduced me to Ron Mueck's work. Photographs really don't do his sculptures justice but they at least give you an idea of the impact his work has in real life, particularly the ones where people give a reference for scale.
Ron Mueck on Wikipedia

From the first time I saw Michael's work I thought there was only one way his career could go and I hope he does not suffer from vertigo, because there is no height restriction for such talent. Michael recently did some concept work for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and the results are dazzling. He manages to make an image look both painterly and 3d rendered at the same time, which is down to pure artistic ability and a complete mastery of theory.
Michael Kutsche Deviant Art Gallery

It takes a lot to make us smile in such times but Nick Harris' work can guarantee joy at every viewing. He really should think about canning and selling that gift because it is like gold dust!
What I initially loved about Nick's work was that it reminded me of the luscious illustrations in those classic ladybird books like The Elves and the Shoemaker, Jack and the Beanstalk and yes, even The Enourmous Turnip!

Nick is also a dab hand at making very moving imagery, demonstrated by this one shown above depicting the aftermath of some carnage at daybreak.
Nick Harris' Website

Brilliant and imaginative are two good words to describe Simon's art. Awe and jealousy are two good words to describe my feelings for his talent! His website is called painterly which is spot on, you can almost smell the virtual oil paint. The image Big Blue (left) is a particular favourite of mine, as are Kelpie, bottom left and Dreams of Pan, bottom right. I guess the bleak moor theme hums a tune I like to hear.

Like Nick Harris, myself and many others, Simon is a big fan of natural media software,  ArtRage Pro. 
Simon's Website

Mark is a Scottish artist who took up digital painting through his discovery of ZBrush, an amazing piece of software which allows us to virtually sculpt polygons as though they were clay. I really like the quirkiness of Mark's work. There is a rawness to it which prods us at a primeval level. His paintings fly in the face of the highly technical beast which is 3d imagery and the light, mood and texture he achieves are second to none. If anyone asked me to describe how dream sequences should feel I would send them to Mark's website.
Mark Bannerman's Website

More to come soon! Click on all images to enlarge.