Paris-based illustrator Nicolas Delort creates mysterious black and white scratchboard illustrations. Using nothing but black ink and sharp tools, Delort etches his elaborate drawings into the surface of a clayboard. Despite the monochromatic palette, his works carry out a sense of colorfulness through their dynamic and wondrous scenarios.
Because of his scratchboard technique, Delort‘s works are focusing more on the negative space and its function in the art world. His high-contrast illustrations are full of apocalyptic dynamism, accentuated by the eccentric compositions, intrinsic etching and attention to every minuscule detail. Despite that, artist says his workflow is pretty chaotic.
“Up until the final inking stage, my work is mostly improvisation, because I’m basically never happy with my stuff until it’s finished <…> I start out with a bunch of thumbnails and when I find one that I like open it up in Photoshop and move stuff around until I’m satisfied. I make a final sketch, transfer it on to the scratchboard and scratch away till my wrist hurts.“
While some of Delort‘s narratives might be utterly unknown, others illustrate scenes from literary works such as Harry Potter, American Gods, or are designated movie posters. Although modern in content, Delort‘s works remind us of such artists as Gustav Doré and even Albrecht Dürer who‘ve been advocating the noteworthy art of etching years past. (via Lost At E Minor; Hypocrite Design)
In a rather intense bit of wordplay, artist Vik Muniz (whose fantastic illusory work has previously featured several times here) has teamed up with Marcelo Coelho to create intricate and near-impossibly detailed sandcastles. Taking a single grain of scan, the duo has spent four years perfecting a process of microscopically etching fortress-like castles into single grains of sand. Each piece of sand measures less than one half of a single millimeter are created using an incredibly focused ion beam (FIB – typically used to create microchips) and documented with a scanning electron microscope, later enlarged to show the incredibly fine detail of the the project.
Muniz explains why the duo uses sand, as opposed to post-photographic editing (such as photoshop), “When someone tells you it’s a grain of sand, there’s a moment where your reality falls apart and you have to reconstruct it. You have to step back and ask what the image is and what it means.’” Adds Coelho, “I think photography is just re-starting. There’s a whole new kind of photography emerging now. A lot of it is happening because of this combination between computers and cameras, and story telling and narratives can emerge as a result.”
British artist Chris Agnew Predominantly works with drawing and a self-developed technique of etching into panels with oil painted details. Agnew’s practice is focused upon the cultivation of belief systems through legends, mythologies and actual events. The works take the form of intricate and highly-detailed examinations of specific locations where the origin or destiny of particular events are/will be played out.
Kyle Kogut is a recent graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. His mixed media work often blends technical printmaking techniques with expressionistic, supple applications of paint. Set within a refreshing, distinctive palette, his compositions are full of energy and variation, yet never come off as cluttered or overly busy. This ability to conduct myriad elements within a functioning, harmonious whole works well with his current subject matter- Nature, and organic life. From the artist’s website:
“While impossible to surpass Her, my study of Nature and the phenomenon that is life has been a continuous investigation of organic patterns and forms, stemming both from visual observation and also subconscious mark-making.”
Kogut just closed an exhibition at Philly’s F&N Gallery. Make sure to check out his tumblr.