Cat Anett, or more commonly known as Anna Cattish, is an illustrator and animator from Russia. Cattish was part of the Honkfu art collective that produced the motion comic JAM. She has also contributed to the upcoming book, Masters of Anatomy. Her art style is simultaneously cute and edgy with many of her characters exuding attitude. Cattish illustrates in a variety of mediums, predominately colouring digitally, recently however has been producing some really beautiful gauche pieces.
Alongside the Pre-Raphaelites, Art Nouveau is tied as my favourite art movement. I take every opportunity to see Art Nouveau exhibits, but to be honest, until recently I had never taken much note of Eugène Grasset. This is quite a large oversight, considering he has been called “The Father of Art Nouveau”.
So who is this pioneering artist? Born 1845 (or possibly 1841) in Lausanne, Switzerland, Eugène Samuel Grasset was surrounded by creativity from a young age. His father was a cabinetmaker and sculptor, and little Eugène learnt to draw under the guise of Francois-Louis David Bocion. In 1861 he went to Zurich to study architecture at the polytechnical school. After which, in 1865, he took what would become an influential visit to Egypt. Throughout his twenties he devoted himself to painting and sculpture.
At the age of 26 he arrived in Paris, influenced by his travels and a new found love for Japanese Art, Mr Grasset tried his hand at creating ceramics, tapestry, and jewellery. His decorative pieces were crafted from precious materials including ivory and gold. Much of this unique work is considered a cornerstone of Art Nouveau motifs.
Mr Grasset would later gain recognition as an illustrator due to his contribution to the stories Le Petit Nab (1877) and Histoire de quatre fils Aymon (1883). Quickly moving on to applied arts he designed the facade of the Hôtel de Dumas in Paris, mosaics in Saint Etienne in Braire, and stained glass windows in the Orléans Cathedral. With a multitude of artistic ability to call upon Mr Grasset had a natural affinity to poster design. Fortunate, as French posters design was becoming very popular Stateside, so it was not long before he was contacted by various American companies. His successful commissions led to him illustrating the 1892 Christmas issue of Harper’s Magazine.
Interesting footnote one of his images, The Wooly Horse, was so popular that Louis Comfort Tiffany was inspired to recreate it in stained glass.
Mr Grasset spent much of his latter years teaching in various schools across Paris. Many of his students went on to become eminent artist themselves, unsurprisingly, a lot of them within the Art Nouveau movement. His versatility, instincts and ability not only influenced those whom he had taught, but also prominent artist like Alphonse Mucha, and left a stirring mark on the Arts and Artists that followed.
David Remfry was born 1942 in Worthing, England and is currently living and working in New York City. Mr Remfry graduated from Hull College of Art in 1964, and almost 10 years later, in 1973, he held his first solo show in London. Since then, he has had over 50 solo exhibitions across Europe and America.
Through his career Mr Remfry has gained a highly regarded reputation as a draftsman and watercolourist. Best known for his practically life-size paintings, and his urban subjects. In 1987 Mr Remfry was elected a member of the Royal Watercolour Society. The honours did not stop there, in 2001 he was awarded the M.B.E. for services to British Art, and in 2006 he was elected a Member of the Royal Academy of Arts.
Though David Remfry is distinctly a fine artist, having never worked in a commercial capacity, in 2002 Stella McCartney approached him to produce a series of drawings for her exclusive collection of women’s clothing for ABSOLUT vodka. A rather rare move as her contemporaries were exclusively using photography of glamour models. Yet, here was Stella McCartney using Mr Remfry’s drawings for billboard advertising. Mr Remfry embarked on the project not as a fashion illustrator, but as an artist. In doing so the focus was not solely on the garments, but on the person wearing them. His drawings had more expression and incorporated a more human element that can sometimes be missed in both fashion illustration and photography. The response was decidedly positive. So much so that in 2003 the Victoria and Albert Museum exhibited the work in a show titled, David Remfry Drawings for Stella McCartney.
Sadly I haven’t found a single website that has a large body of David Remfry’s work. But you can find his pieces on places like Pinterest. You can also check out his book, David Remfry: Dancers, it has over 80 paintings and drawings spanning over 30 years of his artistic career.
Alex Noriega is an illustrator and artist from Barcelona, currently living in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Best known for his wonderful webcomic Stuff No One Told Me. It ran from 2010 – 2012, and was a way of Mr Noriega expressing is frustrations, and as an emotional outlet. He always kept it light, no matter how serious the subject matter. His art style was simplified and in places abstract but with a child-like quality to it. The blog quickly became popular, and was packed with useful and thought-provoking advice.
Near to the end of 2012, new SNOTM comics just stopped appearing. In true internet fashion rumours started to circulate as to the why. In 2013 Mr Noriega put an end to those rumours, announcing that he was still alive, but unsure whether he was going to produce any more comics, and that he had taken a liking to painting. Skip forward another year and Mr Noriega declared he was having a show featuring his painting work. His artwork is a mix of odd shapes, strong solid colours, with very little reference to anything physical. These abstract pieces are worlds apart from his webcomic, with the exception of them being another form to channel his emotions.
Prior to Alex Noriega’s change in artistic direction there was mention of a SNOTM graphic novel titled, Anosmic. It was very nearly complete when he stopped working on the comic, and I do wonder if he still has plans for its release.
Last month saw Titan’s release of The Art of John Harris – Beyond the Horizon. A carefully curated collection of artist John Harris’ recent work and older pieces. It’s large format beautifully showcases a variety of Mr. Harris’ futuristic paintings, sketches, acrylics and watercolours.
To celebrate, Titan Books very kindly gave us the opportunity to interview John Harris about the book and his carer.
Q. You have dedicated over 30 years to Sci-Fi. What attracted you into the genre, and what is it about Sci-Fi that has sustained your interest?
A. The sense of a larger perspective, wider horizons, the unknown, something about the evolutionary possibilities of Man. All of that.
Q. You often seem to combine of the fantastical with the plausible, incorporating building and mechanical structures that are familiar. Is this a conscious effort to make your worlds more believable?
A. Yes, this is a crucial point, mixing the possible with the apparently impossible. We may pretend to know the difference but actually, we just don’t know what is possible. Embedding fantasy within the known and credible, makes it easier to relate to, and also raises the question ‘how?’. There is excitement there, in that question.
Q. Born in London, you now live and work in Devon. How much do you think your environment influences your work?
A. Yes, living in a rural setting has definitely shaped a lot of the imagery. The weather and the light that springs from it makes its presence felt in much of the work. And the cycle of growth and decay which is always in your face here, is constantly finding its way in.
Q. Do you stick to a routine when producing your artwork?
A. No, I try to break routines when I become aware of them. When I get into habits of production, I start repeating myself in the work.
Q. How important is it for you that the final image matches the vision you have in your head?
A. This is a delicate point. I do usually have a clear image in my head to begin with, but inevitably accidents occur (and I encourage these), which may suggest alternative directions. I try to keep open to them. But some images are imperative and demand to be produce, willy nilly.
Q. At the Lounge our primary goal is to widen artists’ pool of inspiration. So who are the artist/illustrators that inspire you?
A. Just about every artist I have ever seen, has something I would like to have. I think all artists are basically magpies and too many to mention have contributed to what I am.
That said, when I was a student, I identified very closely with the work of the English Romantics like Turner and John Martin. They influenced my direction, as did the Surrealists. From a technical point of view, Whistler was a great teacher for me and more recently Graham Sutherland. All very Old School, I know.
Q. Reading about your career, you have achieved a great deal. So what’s on the horizon for you? Do you have any artistic goals that you are still chasing?
A. I feel (like most artist, I suspect) that I’ve hardly started. And yet, looking at the collection in this book, I see that I’m travelling in a definite direction. But what the goal is, who knows? That’s beyond the horizon.