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.