A lethal looking lady with a cigar perched in her elegant hand may be intimidating enough, but it’s the automatic tucked beneath her arm that you need to worry about. Some stylish neo-noir from Colorado artist Shawn Shea, whose work and posters can be found at Pixels, Fine Art America and Daily Paint Works.
A bullet, a blade, or one final Micky Finn, this dangerous dame’s not to be trifled with. By Ontario, Canada photographer Steve Locke, from 2011.
I assumed Dynamite Entertainment’s 2013 The Art Of Sean Phillips — by the artist himself (along with Eddie Robson) — would be a handsome book, but wasn’t prepared for just how well designed and lavishly illustrated this 300+ page over-size hardcover would be. I ordered it online and was surprised to see it arrive in a package from England, but maybe that’s best for a book on a UK artist.
Sean Phillips’ gorgeous work has appeared at this site before with images from Criminal, The Fade Out, the artist’s own site and more, so it should be clear that I’m a fan. Phillips has a rare talent for designing, composing and rendering consistently engaging and even visually provocative panels, pages and covers of what might seem like very prosaic scenes and mundane subjects (compared to the flashy distortion of the SF/Fantasy/Horror and superhero comics segments). Mind you, he’s done his share of work in dark fantasy and for the capes-n-tights titles. But it’s his more human scaled and distinctly noir-ish work (much of this done with team-mate scribe Ed Brubaker) that elevate Phillips above so many other Photoshop EFX-obsessed and manga-inspired peers.
I’d love to offer some page scans from the book for you to browse, but there’s no way I’m going to bust that spine just to cram it into a scanner (my scanner’s bed too small anyway). So, sorry – you’ll have to get your own. If you do, you get to enjoy lushly illustrated pages of Phillips’ childhood drawings and comics, incredibly mature work for the UK ‘Girl Comics’ done when still only in his mid-teens and read all about his early years. Since I’m unwilling to mangle my precious book, the visuals shown here are just culled from found art that’s been lurking in my Sean Phillips archive folder for who knows how long. You’ll be familiar with some, I’m sure. Phillips’ Criterion Collection illustrations are particular favorites of mine — that warm-toned NYC penthouse balcony painting of Susan Harrison from The Sweet Smell of Success right below is so darkly beautiful, it almost makes me teary-eyed. (Art can get me a little choked up sometimes.)
If you have The Art Of Sean Phillips already, you know what a terrific book it is. If not, consider getting it – you won’t be disappointed in the countless visuals or the accompanying text, with interviews and commentary from Ed Brubaker, Warren Ellis and others. Or, hold and see if an updated edition is ever done. This was produced 6-7 years ago, after all. There’s been a lot of stunning Phillips work out there since. Almost another book’s worth, dontcha think?
Maybe in Russia the name Olga Orlova is as common as Jane Doe in the U.S (which, I guess, really isn’t common at all). Go digging and you’ll find a pop singer, an actress, an impressionist painter and even a historical princess, among others, sharing that name. But these images are from the prolific St. Petersburg illustrator and concept artist Olga Orlova, lurking among her many – and gorgeous — dark fantasy and dystopian SF renderings. Linger a moment on the intriguing picture above, because the victim, the gun that did him in and the subtle gesture of the woman’s white gloved hand perched above the phone aren’t all that apparent with just a cursory glance. The real question, I suppose, is: What does the dog think about all of this?
Photographer Jorg Lehmann knows his way around a shadowy set, artfully spot-lit and layered in fog. We all see contemporary images sprinkled with cliché ‘noir’ propping, but recreating the look of classic film noir shots is surely all about lighting. If I wasn’t all thumbs with my phone or a real camera (and I really am) I’d be tempted to check out Jorg Lehmann’s Film Noir Femme Fatale Photography Workshop to see what I can learn.
So much to ogle, so much stylish modeling, photography and digital imaging to digest.
Sure, I’m always partial to traditional illustration when it comes to genre visuals, but lets face it, there aren’t that many artists left who are able to step up to the easel (or drafting table) and reliably turn out retro-flavored art that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Maguire, Lesser, McGinnis, Dodd, Avati and a long list of revered mid-twentieth century illustration stars.
These Film Noir Foundation Noir City posters are my own favorites, capturing the deliciously seamy side of noir so perfectly.
Check out the three preceding posts for more examples of the Film Noir Foundation’s Noir City film festival posters, but even more importantly, follow the links below to the Film Noir Foundation and its Noir City sub-site to learn more about the organization, its Noir City e-mag and…well, just get over there, willya?
Fifteen years (give or take) of the Film Noir Foundation’s Noir City film festival posters: Go to the foundation’s site yourself to better ogle them, sign up to be a donor and get your mitts on the excellent Noir City e-magazine, or to order cool stuff from the foundation.
The posters include shots from expert lensmen like David Allen and Jason Mitchell, shooting models including Annabelle Zakulak, Lucy Laird, Victoria Mature, Greer Sinclair and even noir-maestro himself, Eddie Muller, with truly artful digital photo-composition and imaging work by Bill Selby. And how wonderful to see software deployed not just for showing off with digital voodoo, but to fabricate cost-prohibitive or nearly impossible-to-shoot artistic visions. Bravo!
More follow in the next two posts, and my personal faves in the post after that…
I first spotted one Ingrid Boot painting at Noirsville (www.noirsville.blogspot.com), which promptly sent me hunting for more info about this artist.
Background info is sparse, but the intriguing artwork speaks for itself.
Making her home in New Zealand since 2000, Ingrid Boot studied art at Westminster University in London and completed a degree in Illustration at De Monfort. The artist’s work ranges from glamorous retro nostalgia lifted right from a vintage Vogue magazine editorial (go to the artist’s own site at http://www.ingrid.co.nz to view more of those), to ominous yet alluring film noir-inspired pieces, those comprising a 2018 solo show, aptly titled “Film Noir”, at the Bread & Butter Gallery. More from this incredible painter follows in the next post…
John Watkiss’ website (johnwatkissfineart.com) calls him a “Master Painter” and I can’t imagine a more appropriate label. Now many know Watkiss from his cinematic collaborations with cult filmmaker Derek Jarman. Others, from his design and animation work in Hollywood for Nickelodeon, Fox Animation Studios and most importantly, on multiple Disney productions, or as a key frame concept artist for the visually stunning Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow back in 2003 and for the 2009 Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes, or even more currently on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Yet still others will point to Watkiss’ work in the comics field for both DC and marvel, including Sandman – Mystery Theatre, Legends Of The Dark Knight and Conan The Barbarian.
All notable credits, but I’ll just ogle his dark and stunning artwork. John Watkiss earned his BA in Fine Art & Illustration at Brighton Polytechnic and started out as a storyboard artist at Saatchi & Saatchi advertising, where a regular paycheck financed his personal painting and a studio space in an eclectic Regents Park arts complex. It was while working there in the mid-1980’s that his career took off. Now I can’t date the works shown here, or even pinpoint which might be easel paintings and which could be film concept art (though some are clearly Sherlock Holmes pieces). But I can say it’s been a while since a contemporary artist’s work caught my eye like Watkiss’ has. More of John Watkiss’ work follows in a post tomorrow.