fu­ture fan­tas­tic The world-renowned artist’s en­vi­able talent is beau­ti­fully dis­played within the pages of this book

ImagineFX - - Contents -

Die-hard sci-fi fans will no doubt be fa­mil­iar with the name John Har­ris. He’s been cre­at­ing stun­ning im­agery in this genre since the mid-70s, and this lav­ish hard­back fea­tures a care­fully cu­rated se­lec­tion of that art­work.

In­side you’ll find ev­ery­thing from vast land­scapes and tow­er­ing cities to float­ing worlds and satel­lite-in­spired im­agery, with the fo­cus mainly on John’s fu­tur­is­tic wa­ter­colour and acrylic paint­ings, as well as a num­ber of im­pres­sive pen­cil sketches.

The book leads with a pas­sion­ate in­tro­duc­tion by Amer­i­can sci-fi au­thor John Scalzi, fol­lowed by a word from the artist him­self, who ex­plains how he was in­tro­duced to the genre in the 60s, grow­ing up with books by Arthur C Clarke, Al­fred Bester and Isaac Asi­mov. Hugely in­spired by these au­thors, “their pre­oc­cu­pa­tions be­came mine,” John says, with “ex­pan­sive per­spec­tives, big spa­ces and big­ger ques­tions.” These el­e­ments are ev­i­dent in his own work, cap­tur­ing the uni­verse on a breath­tak­ing and mag­nif­i­cent scale.

John’s work has a sur­real, some­times ab­stract, qual­ity to it, which is for the most part vi­brant and rich in colour. Eye-catch­ing and truly in­spir­ing, it’s not hard to see how his unique il­lus­tra­tive style has graced the book cov­ers of es­teemed au­thors in­clud­ing Ben Bova, Jack McDe­vitt, Or­son Scott Card and many more. In­ter­est­ingly, John also found a fan in NASA, which in­vited the artist to at­tend the launch of a Space Shut­tle and pro­vide a paint­ing to the evoke the event back in 1984. This led to the cre­ation of a num­ber of pieces, some of which the artist also shares within these pages.

It’s im­pos­si­ble to sep­a­rate the book’s chap­ters in terms of qual­ity, each be­ing equally as bril­liant as the next. How­ever, we found the open­ing Float­ing Mass and Dust to Dust chap­ters par­tic­u­larly note­wor­thy, the lat­ter high­light­ing just how di­verse John’s artis­tic skills are. Mainly leav­ing the art­work to do the talk­ing, the ac­com­pa­ny­ing copy pro­vides a nice touch, giv­ing a small but in­ter­est­ing in­sight into the mind of this su­per-tal­ented artist.

This is not your aver­age, generic sci­ence fic­tion fan art book, filled with im­ages of space­ships and ro­bots (that said, if you’re par­tial to a space­ship or two, this cer­tainly won’t dis­ap­point). What’s fea­tured in these pages is some­thing al­to­gether en­tirely dif­fer­ent: gor­geous, dream-like im­agery that’s rich in de­tail and per­fectly ex­e­cuted.

As well as his colourful spacescapes there are plenty of the artist’s sketches and paint­ings.

The beau­ti­ful painterly style of John Har­ris can make the fan­tas­ti­cal seem al­most com­mon­place.

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