Igor Oleynikov is a Russian children’s books illustrator born 1953. Like Sven Nordqvist he didn’t studied at art school but graduated instead the Institute of Chemical Engineering in Moscow. However, his destiny put him on the path of the animation, when in 1979 he started working for the Russian animation studio “Союзмультфильм” as an assistant-illustrator. A few years later he tried his talent in the book publishing, which gradually turned to his solely job and until nowadays he has illustrated an impressive number of children’s books published all over the world.
When I saw for the first time the works of the Georgian artist David Martiashvili, I wondered from what children’s story they were. It turned our that they are paintings and not book illustrations. Though they depict a reality which sends us back to the pleasant times of the near past, they are also powerful storytellers that unfold the imagination for amazing tales to be written.
Todd McLellan’s idea of presenting dismantled products from our daily life deserves serious attention. First of all, because of the way the different parts of each item are photographed – in motion as air-explosion and in stillness, meticulously arranged as a gorgeous picture itself. The images of stillness reveals his great sense of design. They are really amazing. I couldn’t wonder how he organized all the particles not omitting even the smallest ones like nuts and bolts, showing the beauty of the product from another perspective. However, all these ordinarily products like typewriter, wall clock, telephone, camera, iPod, printer, and so many others, are not only portraits of our technology time, but also show us that there is a whole hidden world of functioning most of us have no idea about it. We have learned how to use and serve with the tools and usually not interested in delving in the deeper layers of how exactly they were made, and thus this project is as well a nice reminder not to take for granted even the world we have created
I could not help smiling seeing the works of Des Brophy, but reading also their joky titles, I could not longer refrain from laughing. They complement each other perfectly to reveal a palette of cheerful characters inspired from the local society – drunks, sports’ fans, gossips, female competitors for “the guy” or just ordinary men simply enjoying their time in the pubs far from the women presence. The artist imprints in his paintings trivial scenes he is used to see daily, but presents them from the funny side with his humorous vision.
Gaëlle Boissonnard’s beautiful postcards enchant immediately when you look at them. The creations of the French illustrator are so delicate and ethereal that invite the viewer to transfer him into a world of magic and faery tales. Just follow silently the light of the lanterns … and the story will begin.
Sonja Hinrichsen is another artist who is interested in engaging the audience. As she explains in the statement in her website, she feels “the responsibility to address subject matters our society tends to neglect or deny, including adverse impacts to the natural environment, social inequality and injustice, and human exploitation. I am not interested in creating lasting artworks, as I believe that our world is over-saturated with man-made products. I like to unfold my work into large immersive experiences, however I prefer that it live on in its documentation only, and – hopefully – in the memories of my audiences.”
The series “Snow Drawings” started in 2009 during her 3-month residence in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. It was at first just a few snowshoes walks but gradually evolved into art projects. The last one, in 2014, with the title “We are water”, was composed with the assistance of a team of 50-60 volunteers from the local residents. She only gave basic instructions to the participants in view of the idea which was going to be drawn and then the creation was all up to them. Each of the performers presented a drop of water and how he/she imagined the movement of this drop – slow, fast, swirling, lingering, straight, curving. On the following day, Sonja Hinrichsen, photographed them from an airplane.
The last thing one could say about the following images is that they are sweet. But the works of the Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski are so powerful portraits of the social, political and cultural reality we are living in, that I couldn’t just skip them when accidentally stumbled upon. And sadly, this is the reality we have been living in for centuries. Nothing has changed in the human relationships – wars, money, poverty, hunger, greed, political power and so on. We haven’t learned from our mistakes at all. And these works are created exactly to show us the “Matrix” we are part of nowadays and provoke us to question it.
Clarence Coles Phillips – and the creation of the “fade-away” style
Clarence Coles Phillips (1880-1928) was an American artist and illustrator who first featured the “fade-away girl” design – a figure whose clothing disappeared into the background. He was asked to create something unusual and grabbing the attention for the first colour cover of Life magazine. It was published in February 1908 with the Phillips’s illustration of a young girl in a polka-dot dress, feeding corn to a flock of chickens and immediately impressed. Only the face, the arms and the feet of the lady are painted, whereas the rest of her figure and clothing merging seamlessly with the background suggested their outlines only by the arrangement of the polka-dots. Regarding the chickens, again only their heads, necks and feet are visible, leaving to the viewer’s imagination the drawing of the ‘invisible’ feathers. It was such a success that Phillips developed this style in 54 subsequent covers for Life over the next four years. Due to its popularity of his idea of blending the main figure’s dress with the background color, other magazines started to ‘copy’ it by asking their artists to mimic the Phillips style for their issues. Phillips was one of the first illustrators who succeeded to get his name to appear with all his images.
Josie Portillo is a young American illustrator who seems that adores to travel, and fortunately has the talent to share this love with the rest of the world. Seeing her maps of London, Venice and Paris, most of the people will start packing their luggage but there are also other places on the line like Tokyo, Switzerland or Russia. However, traveling doesn’t mean it should always be abroad. Even a walk along her ‘simple’ streets has a playful stroke inviting the viewer to join the life in the neighbourhood.
ALPHABETABUM? What does it mean? As the authors and illustrators of this newly published book, Chris Raschka & Vladimir Radunsky explained, this is an ALPHABET book with an ALBUM of old photos.
And actually it is what they state – a book of letters accompanied with vintage photos of children. Quite original way to help the kids in learning the alphabet. First, because the funny text below the letters describes the child associated with it in view of the pose, expression of the face or what wears or holds in the hands. Such an approach not only gives an individuality to each letter, but on the second place, makes the readers to fantasize stories about the depicted children. After all, with so many letters, we have a whole “neighborhood” full of children and finishing the book opens the door to an imaginary world where the kids could play with all those characters. And thirdly, unfortunately, this is probably their solely experience with such photos. With the new technologies only the professional photographers continue to care about the old-fashioned film, so they are already on their way of vanishing from our daily lives. Therefore, the book is not addressed only to the little ones, but it is a beautiful nostalgic look for their parents too.