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Struc­tura 3: the art of Sparth; Be­hind the Pix­els; The Art of Ho­tel Tran­syl­va­nia 2.

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Reviews -

Art gi­ants such as Sparth re­mind us there’s still room to ex­per­i­ment, to change and grow as artists, in an industry overtly con­cerned with the zeit­geist. As Nicolas Bou­vier’s (his real name) colos­sal ca­reer rum­bles to the outer edges of its sec­ond decade, Struc­tura 3 gives us a snap­shot of three years of his work.

Three years! In that times­pan there’s more craft de­vel­op­ment, will­ing­ness to ex­per­i­ment and pur­suit of ideas here than can be found by read­ing 300 blogs con­cerned with con­cept art. Work in­cludes his con­cepts for 343 In­dus­tries’ Halo fran­chise to­gether with hy­per-ef­fi­cient, 30-minute per­sonal paint­ings that trans­port the viewer to ‘the idea’ at warp speed. We also see the artist in a state of tran­si­tion, with a chap­ter ded­i­cated to re­cent ex­per­i­men­tal and graphic pieces.

Here, Sparth pulls his geo­met­ric sen­si­bil­i­ties to the fore, aban­dons tex­tures and achieves value through the lay­er­ing of flat, grad­u­ated shapes. The re­sults are vec­tored land­scapes of new and ex­otic vir­tual re­al­ity worlds. How­ever, if you want to see those sig­na­ture paint­ings of be­he­moth space-freighters depart­ing land­scapes dom­i­nated by mono­lithic struc­tures, this book won’t dis­ap­point.

An­other con­stant in all this change is su­perb sto­ry­telling. Each scene is be­ing spec­tated by sil­hou­et­ted fig­ures. Of­ten the char­ac­ters in th­ese paint­ings act as scale de­vices, but they also hu­man­ise the paint­ings mak­ing the ex­tra­or­di­nary feel al­most or­di­nary. Even when we be­come the sole viewer, Sparth still con­veys a glimpsed mo­ment. It’s as if we’ve been dis­tracted from our rou­tine to look to the sky…

Struc­tura 3 fol­lows the large for­mat of Struc­tura 2, with over 160 pages of full-page art­work .This in­cludes a back sec­tion of short prac­ti­cal tu­to­ri­als (see left), with notes on pro­cesses and tech­nique: it’s 22 pages of in­dis­pens­able insight. In fact, this sec­tion is such a gem that it feels a shame to rel­e­gate it to the rear of the book. Shorter tips would have been bet­ter served as mini box­outs punc­tu­at­ing each chap­ter, and the more in-depth tu­to­ri­als could have book­ended each chap­ter.

That quib­ble aside, Struc­tura 3 cer­tainly de­liv­ers on in­spi­ra­tion, and has us look­ing to the hori­zon for Struc­tura 4… and be­yond.

For pieces such as this Sparth talks the reader through his process in eight re­veal­ing stages.

In terms of Sparth’s sig­na­ture sci-fi struc­tures and space-age art, his new book doesn’t dis­ap­point.

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