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)
Playing on the enticement of the black mirror, or, the darker recesses of our own perceived realities, fascinations revolving around the occult has infiltrated and renegotiated the perceivable world as we know it to be. Contemporary examinations of the occult and mysticism has surged in creating a more modern vernacular of symbology rooted in spiritualism, skewing the tangible under the scope of what is sensed and experienced as opposed to what is seen. Confronting the enigma of the unknown, investigations of the preternatural have transformed the material world through its semi-erotic explorations of the unconscious and the supposed spirit world. Evoking a sense of histories long since passed, fascinations with the paranormal are found not only within its connotations with Surrealism and Dada, but has since found itself increasingly commercialized through a dilution into popular culture.
The following artists present an elusive understanding and reflection on mysticism and the occult. Straying from any form of irony, kitsch or inapt nostalgia, their employment of the occult acts instead as a new means of dialogue and spiritual resolve.
“I began my current body of work to make a broader statement about the basic relationship we have with each other and our world. I have been interested in how closely each creature and object is tied to the next. It occurred to me that this interconnectivity is so unrestrained and natural that most of us are not even aware of how one thing can affect the other.
The way I chose to communicate this idea was to illustrate various situations with the veil lifted. I begin each piece with what is usually an average, everyday scene, familiar to each of our daily lives. Playing the “what if” game, I make adjustments, both small and large, until the final work has developed into something far different from where it started. The process of “connecting the dots” is exceptionally free-flowing and something I enjoy exploring. From afar, my candy-colored pieces may appear strictly lightsome and playful, but upon closer investigation, they reveal that things are not always as they seem.
Working in this manner has provided me an endless number of ideas and stories to cultivate, producing finished works that are both telling and captivating.”