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If you want your art ad­ven­ture to be long one, then study the foot­steps of this fan­tasy art gi­ant…

ImagineFX - - Reviews - Au­thors Guy Coul­son & John Avon Pub­lisher John Avon Art Ltd Price £40 Web Avail­able Now

The Art of John Avon: Jour­neys to Some­where Else; Res­i­dent Evil: Rev­e­la­tions; Sketch­ing from the imag­i­na­tion: Sci-fi.

There are count­less things you can learn from study­ing an artist’s body of work, es­pe­cially one whose ca­reer spans 30 years. In that time a com­mer­cial artist needs to re­main rel­e­vant or per­ish, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously hold­ing on to some­thing that de­fines them as unique among their peers.

Do­ing this (and do­ing it well) is some­thing John Avon knows a lot about. Thanks to Jour­neys to Some­where Else he now re­veals his per­sonal pas­sage with us – warts, scream­ing leaves, float­ing cities and all.

Back in June 2014 the Kick­starter cam­paign to make this book was launched and sur­passed its goal in a short space of time, such is the ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the artist’s work. In­deed, it’s fairly easy to be­come a fan of John’s art. You can be­gin in the late 80s and early 90s with iconic book cover de­signs like those for Stephen King’s Dark Tow­ers se­ries, where his mas­tery of com­bin­ing acrylic and air­brush blend at­mo­spheric light­ing with solid, be­liev­able char­ac­ters in­hab­it­ing a fan­tas­ti­cal land­scape.

Or you can start with his con­tin­u­ing re­la­tion­ship with Magic: The Gath­er­ing which be­gan in 1996, where the themes of bal­ance that run through­out his ca­reer are still in at­ten­dance. By the time we get half­way through the book – sig­ni­fy­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of pix­els into the Avon equa­tion – this bal­anc­ing act is still at play, whether it’s light and dark, dom­i­nant com­ple­men­tary hues, or grand struc­tures that dwarf intrepid ex­plor­ers within the com­po­si­tion.

That’s not to say that the bedrock of John’s work is fo­cused en­tirely on con­trasts. His abil­ity to im­bue nar­ra­tive within a sparse scene is breath­tak­ing. Even his sim­ple land­scape paint­ings al­ways seem to have some cue that in­vites ex­plo­ration and sug­gests the be­gin­ning of a nar­ra­tive.

So there’s a lot here that any as­pir­ing artist or il­lus­tra­tor can learn from – the ma­jor­ity of which is im­parted through cap­tions that ac­com­pany each paint­ing. In a sin­gle para­graph a strong per­sonal con­nec­tion to John’s process or think­ing at the time is es­tab­lished. The re­sult is you can nav­i­gate John’s ca­reer with him as a guide. It’s an op­por­tu­nity not to be missed.

This art­work ap­pears as a gate­fold in the book. John tried hard to make all five land­scapes work as a whole.

John re­veals that he felt the pres­sure of cre­at­ing art­work for Stephen King’s The Dark Tower se­ries.

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