French artist Fabian Mérelle creates surreal illustrations that are as nightmarish as they are beautiful. Rendering incredibly detailed scenes with a dark side, his depictions of monsters and strange creatures are reminiscent of Goya’s more sinister illustrations. Fabian Mérelle constructs fantastic and elaborate scenes of dreamlike proportion, stretching the imagination and filling our minds with mystery. Each scene is like a fairytale or fable that may not have a happy ending. The foul creatures that invade Mérelle’s intriguing work seem to have come from mythology or legend.
The drawings are showing an obsession for detail veering on mania and pointing out the precision of a line layed minutely with China ink. If he pays homage to the Little Nemo comics, he projects the spectator in a universe much more complex, mixing evil spirits, watches and childhood fears. -Fabian Mérelle
Many of Fabian Mérelle’s drawings are somewhat simple in nature, but speak volumes to the artist’s skill once we examine the attention to detail made with ink. His muted palette is balanced with a shadowy atmosphere and a hazy mood. What is so amazing about the artist’s work is that even the most bizarre subject is anatomically correct, even with gargoyles picking at the figure’s body, an elephant standing on its back, or when the figures is halfway turning into a fallen tree. Although holding an ominous tone, Mérelle’s illustrations captivate us and throw us head first into childlike imagination.
Artist Paule Gu gives us a kaleidoscope of dark and hypnotic visions in his intense series of remarkably detailed drawings. Although they may look like monochromatic collages at first glance, this skillful artist has rendered these illustrations by hand. Each piece contains a plethora of eclectic images ranging from seductive nudes to deathly skulls, which are a repeating motif in his work. Small details can be discovered when examining the intricate lines and forms rendered by Gu in his work. A mysterious beauty lures you in closer, as symbols of death and the occult can also be found.
Gu’s work is an interesting mix of objects that are all connected in a balanced composition, perfectly mirrored. He often brings shapes like triangles and circles into the background, creating harmony to the piece and unifying its diverse imagery. The seamlessly symmetrical compositions transfix us, pulling us into a trance. Although Gu’s work consists of many different objects, they are all part of one single piece, morphing and fitting into one another. Various textures, themes, and worlds collide as sea horses live side-by-side three-eyed bats, and nude women dance around tigers and bones. Gu’s work will completely mesmerize you, as you will find another unexpected, bizarre detail every time you see his work. (via Supersonic)
The incredibly detailed pen and ink illustrators of Toronto based artist Paul Jackson take on the form of animals and humans, with their insides ascending from their bodies. His rendering of skeletal structures of wolves, dinosaurs, and humans is anatomically something to be admired. His illustrations have a dark aura, as he portrays different animals with layers of organs erupting from their skin. We can see Jackson’s well-refined skill in the very believable texture of the fur, skin, and bone in his work. Each illustration remains very realistic, despite their mystical nature. His creatures are like spirit-animals that are attempting to rise out of their earthly shell, erupting out of their exteriors.
There is a strong element of life and death his Jackson’s work, as many of his drawings contain half living creature and half skeleton. Pushing this boundary of the living world even further, many of Jackson’s works contain a visible “glitch.” There is a disruption in the composition. A face slowly turns into waves of “white noise,” like a sound wave encountering interference. This interference literally blurs the line between a creature, like Jackson’s bear, that is alive, with one that is dead. The artist has created his work on a large and small scale, and even has many of them available as prints, t-shirts, and patches. Make sure to check out his website for more astonishing illustrations and a great time-lapse video of the artist in action.
When two great artists come together with completely different styles, amazing things can happen. Artists Grady Gordon and Derek Albeck have come together to create a collaborative series in which Gordon starts one of their artworks, and Albeck will finish it. Both artists working in graphite, their work fits together naturally. However, there solo work provides a stark contrast to each other’s styles. Gordon often works in monotype, creating his pigment from ground up cow bones. His organic, abstract techniques could not be more different than his collaborator. Albeck’s work is exceptionally detailed, rendering photorealistic drawings with graphite. When you mix these two opposite methods of creating art together, the results are incredibly unique.
When Gordan and Albeck join forces, their work becomes a hybrid series of morphing, deformed faces that are not of this world. These highly expressive faces are missing many parts such as eyes, a nose, or a mouth at some times. Even the hand that is included in this series appears to have contorting fingers and twisted bones. The winding line work confuses our perception until we cannot tell which end is which, or even, which part is the inside or the outside of the head. You can see this captivating series at the exhibition Sometimes I See You Look At Me Like That at The Smoking Nun Gallery in San Francisco, Califonrnia. You don’t want to miss it, as it ends next month on July 17th.
The dark, mysterious painting and drawings of artist Constantine Lianos are full of psychological paradoxes and allegories. This Greece-based artist creates windows into a strange world where troubled beings and mythological creatures exist. Devoid of color, Lianos sets an unnerving mood appropriately complimenting his equally disturbing individuals that appear to be in a never-ending struggle. Each figurative narrative he illustrates portrays fable-like characters that are in a personal crossroad or inner struggle, contemplating their own fate. The artist himself draws inspiration from his own personal reflections. The internal struggle that is represented in Lianos’s work is something relatable to everyone. What makes this so captivating is the bizarre and surreal situations that we find depicting this turmoil. You can see conflicting emotions in the faces of each character. Doubt, fear, indecision, and even anger can be found in his peculiar circumstances.
A talented figure painter, Lianos is not interested in rendering reality, but instead a more abstract idea with less restraints. The artist’s work pulls influence from a large range of sources such as street art, comics, and imagery from classic art movements. Interested in paradoxes, he believes art is a place where illusion and reality meet, where a new construction of the world can begin to form. The artist explains this in relations to his process. (via Hi-Fructose)
“The painting process is for me the ultimate introspection process, where the rational and the emotional are inseparable, where the method meets the random.”
Michigan-based artist Pat Perry creates surreal drawings and paintings that play on the relationship between identity and memory. Often, they feature a single person who has imagery swirling around in their head or the rest of their body. Perry is an avid sketchbook keeper, and he draws these complex, alluring compositions on yellowed paper. It’s clear that he is a skilled draftsman and is able to balance of small details with blank space.
Landscapes are a prominent part of Perry’s work, and you can’t help but think that these subjects are recalling that specific place. But why? His work begs us to take the narrative further and imagine the stories behind these people. (Via Design Crush)
Artist Fabien Mérelle’s delicate drawings revolve around insecurities and nightmares. His surreal images often feature himself as the main subject, and Mérelle doesn’t exactly paint himself in the greatest light. He’s seen naked, being attacked by giant bugs, and struggling to hold the weight of an entire elephant on his shoulders. It doesn’t look pleasant and the misery seems unavoidable.
While Mérelle’s drawings are self portraits, they speak to a larger audience. Anyone who has felt crippling anxiety, stress, or even just an unpleasant feeling will be able to relate to these heavily symbolic images. They are what nightmares are made out of – not the gruesome ones, of course, but the kind where you feel emotionally spent and groggy when you wake up. (Via Cross Connect Magazine and Hi Fructose)
Artist Alessandra Maria uses tools like graphite, gold leaf, and black ink to produce her intriguing portraits. In addition to these traditional materials, she has an unconventional surface that she works on – coffee stained paper. The dark brown ground offers an entry point for these characters, and the gray pencil adds a soft touch to her realistic-looking figures.
Gold leaf is seen here as an accent for the butterflies, flowers, and intricate details. Their drawing style and symbolism conjure fairy tales and other fantastical stories. While there’s a lot of luscious, life-like drawing, the characters often have a blank stare. It’s hard to determine what they’re thinking, which makes Maria’s compositions all the more alluring. Here, beauty is a facade for a deeper, potentially darker below.