I recently stumbled on the wonderful work of Toerning through one of her few, but very useful, tutorials. Her tutorials are filled with tips about lighting, perspective, composition and colour, and well worth a gander.
Often working with traditional mediums such as ink, acrylics or gouache. Toerning’s knowledge of lighting and colour really stands out. Though, her marrying of both traditional and digital processes create some stunning results, as seen in her Selkie pieces.
Tokyo-based artist whom prefers to remain nameless, ageless and faceless simply goes by the pseudonym hi, often found with the accompanying symbol 非 (non-). As stunning as his paintings are, they were made that bit more spectacular to me when I found out they are produced wholly digitally. hi could be the first illustrator I have come across where I appreciate their work more for not being traditional.
hi’s subjects matter is often quite bleak and haunting. Choosing to depict gaunt figures, often nude, creates an explicit vulnerability. The pallet choice, however, could be the real draw to hi’s work. Though most pieces have a mute overtone, they are filled with a wealth of colour. The beauty of the vivid colour clash congers up thoughts of fantasy and mysticism. This combination of bleak and beautiful contributes to the off-kilter nature of the pieces.
David Wright was one of the leading pin-up artists of the 20th Century. Unlike his American contemporaries Alberto Vargas and Gil Elvgren, the British-born Wright brought a sense of realism to his willowy beauties, who appeared in publications on both sides of the Atlantic, especially during WW2. Now, finally, access has been granted to his archive, and this is the first ever collection of his work.
The Book Review:
Sirens opens up with a enjoyable forward from David’s son, Patrick. Speaking of the many hours his father spent in his studio, Patrick confesses to never really knowing what he did all day. From the introduction onwards, the author give a short history of David Wright, his career and the impact his work had at the time. Starting from page 18, the majority of the book is beautiful large full-page pin-ups.
Looking through such a large body of work you start to see what sets David Wright’s work from some of his contemporaries. Many of his pieces do not have that “gloss” that a lot of the American pin-ups had. They feel a little sketchier, a little moodier. His women have all the glamour of the 1950s, but are presented with more depth. Most of his women seem withdrawn in their thoughts, many without a hint of a smile. A far cry from the happy-go-lucky pin-ups we are used to seeing. Past simply relying on scantily clad models to create eroticism, David Wright’s women are not just sat in their bedrooms smiling for the camera, their pensive demeanour is inviting you in. To this regard, Wright’s work remind me more of the sophisticated women of Robert McGinnis, than the idealized women of Gil Elvgren.
If I were to have a gripe about the book, it would be that the image quality of the pictures vary. The majority of them are perfect, however, when you stumble on a few slightly lower quality ones it somewhat interrupts your experience. The other thing, which I know is just my personal taste, it would have been nice to see some more roughs or sketches.
With that said, David Wright’s women truly are beautiful and Sirens is a decidedly bonny body of his work, with enough variety to keep you engaged, and in my case, wanting more. Sirens: The Pin-Up Art of David Wright is available to buy right now, and if you are a fan of Carol Day, pulp or pin-up this is definitely one for you.
Israeli born Ariel Belinco is a great illustrator, Animator, concept artist and character Designer. His graduation film “Beton” won 16 international awards at major festival including Annecy, Stuttgart, Hiroshima & Zagreb. He currently teaches art and animation at the Bezalel Academy and at the Sapir College cinema department. Besides teaching he works as a freelance animator & director.