Paul Buckley, the VP Executive Creative Director for Penguin USA, has continued to art director and design some of the most eye-catching book covers I’ve ever seen. Instead of relying on a simplified photograph with super-clean typography, or reaching back for a retro look, Buckley hires the best-of-the-best in illustration and independent comics (Burns, Hanuka, Millionaire, to name a few) to create wonderfully fresh graphic images that leave little to be desired. And since these books are all classics, you don’t have to worry about being deceived by these alluring covers, because the interiors are guaranteed to be just as perfect as the exteriors. It is encouraging that the daunting sterility of the Kindle and Nook are being combated by men like Buckley, Kidd, Gall, and so many more, and if such devotion remains to be ceaselessly put into future book production, there should be little fear of physical books disappearing anytime soon. For a complete look at all of the book layouts (fronts, backs, interiors) see Sir Buckley’s Flickr.
Based in the Netherlands, artist Stefan Bleekrode creates astonishingly intricate drawings and paintings of landscapes, architecture, and urban environments. For his Cityscapes series, the artist has rendered unbelievably detailed drawings depicting metropolises both existing and imagined.
Using ink, Bleekrode composes dense and realistic images of buildings, streets, lights, and bridges. With stark tonal contrasts, precise perspective, and a stunning amount of detail, the scenes portrayed in each drawing look almost photographic, as if each one were taken from a bird’s-eye view.
While some of his pieces are set in very distinctive and familiar locations, like London Bridge& the Shard or Broadway and 5th, most possess ambiguous—albeit conceivable—titles, such as Italian City, City in Holland, or City at the Foot of the Mountains. This is because Bleekrode works entirely from memory, describing his completed works “as snapshots of things I’ve seen when traveling or just going through my everyday routine, small bits of beauty in familiar settings.”
Whether representing actual settings or conveying scenes rooted purely in fantasy, the cities depicted in Bleckrode’s elaborate drawings are surprisingly realistic and undeniably impressive.
Single-perspective installations have been extremely popular for the past several years, with the best examples making their rounds instantly on the usual social media platforms. The real shame of this mass exposure is that viewers rarely experience the tactile joy of these illusions, viewing the photographs but never seeing them first-hand. This is especially true with the work of Georges Rousse, a French artist who has been creating his painted perspective installations in abandoned and soon-to-be demolished buildings since the 1980’s.
Finding influence from Land Art as well as specific works like Suprametist painter Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square, Rousse pre-dates the modern trends of illusionistic installation, having perfected his trademark geometric style and his fondness for desolate locations decades ago. According to his site’s bio, Rousse considers himself a painter, sculptor, architect, and ultimately a photographer, but considers his raw material to be his great inspiration: Space. Upon selecting a site, Rousse goes about creating a unique angular perspective, that when photographed, compels the viewer to re-analyze their own surroundings, possibilities, transformations, and ultimately, Space.
Rousse explains, “The convergence of these spaces goes beyond a visual game: Like a hall of mirrors, enigmatic and dizzying, it questions the role of photography as a faithful reproduction of reality; it probes the distances between perception and reality, between imaginary and concrete.” (via My Modern Met)
The art of Skinner is full of mullets, monsters and metal heads, not to mention the lurkers, samurai and lil’ devils. The self-proclaimed nerd for life takes inspiration from the world of fantasy, giving life to the dreams (or sometimes nightmares) of Slayer fans and Dungeon masters everywhere. The beautifully detailed works combine the aesthetics of street art, comic book illustrations, and something akin to black velvet paintings on acid. Each work has such an immense sense of epicness, it’s hard to not get caught up in the world created. And while many of the paintings and drawings convey infinitely complex scenes that you could look at for hours, Skinner also makes lighter works that are hard not to love, especially when they’re called things like Eternal Jamnation, and have a dark, glowing monster jamming on a guitar, surrounded by bats. It’s the kind of work that just oozes passion, because no one could make images so far from reality without being totally immersed in the process. It’s like a Metalocolypse Halloween episode 365 days a year. But, despite the awesome appearance of his work, Skinner is extremely introspective and self-critical, constantly challenging himself as an artist and working to create something completely innovative. His determination to return to a more childlike inspiration, a time when “it was just raw freedom, there were no expectations, there were no ideas of good or bad it was just being in the moment and trying [his] best to do something that looks good.”
Julio Le Parc is the precursor of op art. Originally from Argentina, he moves to Paris, France after his art studies to discover what the city has to offer. Today, he is displayed next to Vasarely’s immersive art pieces. The artist uses fourteen pure colors to create combinations on its paintings. This starting point allows him to work around real movement, multiplication of images, transparency, coloring, space and light. Experimentation is how Julio Le Parc likes to work, that includes making mistakes and taking risks. In another black and white series where he uses spray paint he is looking to experiment with multi surfaces, dynamic visuals and different levels of shades.
Behind the numerous studies of light and movement there is a need for Julio Le Parc to search for a shortcut between the creation of a piece and the experience of the viewers. By rejecting psychology, his aim is to reach the mass with no third party involved. He is taking his political message, his “general analysis of the situation” directly to the eyes of the viewers. He condemns the government method to impose its vision and to leave aside the ideas and opinions of the people. Ideally, he wants a new method to acknowledge ideas wether it’s by a State or an art gallery. For Julio Le Parc, people don’t appreciate art in its time and that’s the fault of galleries and museums imposing their opinions and deciding who will be the next “famous and hot” artist instead of letting the people decide.
Julio Le Parc’s art pieces will be displayed this week at Art Basel and sixty of his work will be printed on silk scarves in collaboration with Hermes.
Judith G. Klausner combines two of my favorite things, food and art in her Oreo Cameo series. Carving delicate portraits into the centers of Oreo cookies, Klausner’s gorgeous relief sculptures measure at only 2 inches in diameter and reference hand made crafts such as ancient placards or rare roman coins. (via 1 design per day)