My pal, Mal Jones, surprised me today with this incredible comic-book approach to the cover of The Stars Were Right. It’s phenomenal. I had to share it here (well… everywhere, really) as I knew y’all would be as impressed as me. I love Mal’s style. The half-tone shading he’s using here works really well. His take on Wal, Zilla, and Peter Black is fantastic. Honored to have such an amazing depiction. Makes me want to do a comic book.
I usually can lead into one of Kari-Lise’s show announcements by inviting locals to come out to an opening wherever it happens to be. But since America is still reeling from the pandemic and in-person events are still a long way off, I get to invite all y’all to the fancy virtual opening celebrating Kari-Lise’s latest series Night Garden coming this Thursday, July 9th at Roq La Rue Gallery here in Seattle.
This new series displays a substantial shift toward the new-contemporary movement while still retaining elements of Kari-Lise’s roots in lowbrow and pop-surrealism. Night Garden is fraught with wisps of gothic romance intertwining with introspective observations on the artistic journey with a nod towards growth, hardship, and one’s learned experiences. Realism remains a major aspect, but there’s a seeing a shift towards something else. It’s exciting to see. Her lavish colors, deep shadows, and the way she plays with shifting depth still amazes me. Yeah, I might be biased, but I find this new series enthralling, and I think you will too.
While there isn’t going to be a traditional opening, the show can be viewed in person at Roq La Rue between 12-4 PM on Saturdays (masks are required, and no more than four people will be allowed in the gallery at a time.) If you live here in Seattle and are bored at home and looking for something safe to do, you really gotta see these pieces in person. Be sure to contact the gallery with inquiries about any particular piece.
Finally, follow Kari-Lise over on Instagram she shares a lot of amazing things and often documents her process. You can see her past work over on her website. If you’re interested in getting the insider scoop on what she’s doing before anyone else, I recommend you sign up for her newsletter. It’s an excellent way to stay up to date on what she’s doing.
🎬 Watch Overlooked Details
If you haven’t taken the time, make sure to watch the short documentary about Kari-Lise’s work: Overlooked Details, An Artist’s Journey, directed, edited, and filmed by Scott R. Wilson. (It partially documents her work on Inflorescence in 2013/14.) It’s fifteen minutes long and very much worth your time. It’s a raw, heartfelt, open, and vulnerable glimpse into her journey. I’ve embedded it below, and I recommend watching it full screen. You can view the full credits here.
🖼 Kari-Lise’s Previous Series
Interested in seeing Kari-Lise’s previous shows? I’ve written about them before, and I’d encourage you to check them out. Her work has always been incredible, but it’s also amazing to see her shift as an artist documented through the years:
On Monday, the legendary Syd Mead—easily one of the greatest illustrators/futurists of our time—passed away. He was 86. Normally, I use this series to highlight artists who I think need more attention. But I thought to take a moment to recognize someone who’s work influenced not only me but a generation of designers, artists, filmmakers, and architects to look forward and envision a better future.
“We don’t go into the future from zero, we drag the whole past in with us.”
Mead left an incredible impact and his legacy is enormous. So many speculative fiction properties were shaped by his neo-futuristic style: Blade Runner, Tron, Short Circuit, Star Trek, Star Wars, even Gundam and think how many of those have gone on to influence a new generation of creators. There’s a wonderful vibrancy to his work and it continues to resonate.
The city of Lovat in my Bell Forging Cycle, was heavily influenced by my experience with Mead’s paintings as a student—especially his work on Blade Runner. Something about his cramped and claustrophobic street scenes inspired me and they stayed with me years later when I set down to write. I’ve shared some of my favorites pieces below, perhaps they’ll inspire you as well. As always, you can click to view them larger.
If you like Syd Mead’s work, be sure to check out some of the other artists who I’ve found inspiring in the past. While there’s certainly a theme to the art that inspires me, you’ll find lots of different styles, tones, and moods.
My readers know that I am an enthusiast of rich well-imagined worldbuilding. So when I stumbled across the work of artist and writer Sam Hogg, it’ll come as no surprise that I found myself enthralled. Her concept work is excellent, but I’ve become a bit obsessed with her high-fantasy project, The Whaler Girl.
This is visual worldbuilding at its best. Hogg captures and constructs a rich tapestry of a setting and inhabits it with fully imagined places, creatures, and characters. It’s something I strive for in my work, and here it feels so effortless which only makes it more enthralling and inspiring. These locations and characters don’t come across as templates, they feel like real people, and we can see hints of their story playing throughout the work. The sense of place is palpable and the shifts in style only cement that further, we’re exploring a world after all and worlds are not limited to a single style. As I moved through the project I found myself eager to learn more. I want to know all about Eidy’s story, and Saul’s troubles, and how a young whaler girl from Varlsbeyn ended up as a pirate courtesan. You will too.
With Sam Hogg’s permission, I’ve shared a few of my favorite pieces below. (Honestly, it was really difficult choosing, for each of these there were at least four more.) You can click on any image to view it larger.
Sam Hogg – The Whaler Girl – “Whaler Girls”
Sam Hogg – The Whaler Girl – “Lanyra”
Sam Hogg – The Whaler Girl – “Varlsbeyn Summer”
Sam Hogg – The Whaler Girl – “Saul”
Sam Hogg – The Whaler Girl – “Tidal”
Sam Hogg – The Whaler Girl – “Kalam Masad”
Sam Hogg – The Whaler Girl – “Eidy, Dark Marchant Design”
Sam Hogg – The Whaler Girl – “Beware the dark jellyfish”
Sam Hogg – The Whaler Girl – “Varlsbeyn”
Sam Hogg – The Whaler Girl – “Old Twohorn”
Sam Hogg – The Whaler Girl – “Courtesans Quarters”
Sam Hogg – The Whaler Girl – “First Visit”
This is just a small fraction of The Whaler Girl. You can see much more of the world and Hogg’s work on her website. Be sure to join me in following her on Twitter. Don’t forget to follow her excellent Instagram account, not only does she share work frequently, but it’s also often accompanied by evocative vignettes that only adds to the depth and richness of the story. Finally, you can buy prints of all this work from her store and hang the world of The Whaler Girl on your walls.
If you like Sam Hogg’s work, be sure to check out some of the other artists who I’ve found inspiring in the past. While there’s certainly a theme to the art that inspires me, you’ll find lots of different styles, tones, and moods.
The urban landscape has long been a fascination of mine. Lovat—the central city in my Bell Forging Cycle—is my own love letter to the city form with its allure and optimism and the gritty shadows cast by those glowing ideals. Those contrasting juxtapositions are what makes the urban environment so appealing. I love the spaces between spaces, the often ignored corners where lives are lived, and the drama of humanity is played out. Whenever I find an artist who can capture that essence, I find that it enlivens me creatively.
“I strive to create a visual universe where fantasies, dreams and travels come together. Landscapes at night exacerbates a specific contemplative feeling which has encouraged me to create a new, obscure and sparkling world full of secrets and mystery.”
So, it’ll come as no surprise that I’m an enormous fan of Marilyn Mugot’s photography, in particular, her Night Project series and much of the work she shares on her Instagram account. She excels at finding those small places and capturing them from angles that make me dwell on the city and its impact on our lives. There’s a beauty inherent within the urban environment, and in each of her pieces, Margot encapsulates those spaces with a cinematic quality, a touch of the surreal, and a subtle tenderness.
I’ve shared a few of my favorite pieces below. You can click on any image to view it larger.
If you like Marilyn Mugot’s work, be sure to check out some of the other artists who I’ve found inspiring in the past. While there’s certainly a theme to the art that inspires me, you’ll find lots of different styles, tones, and moods.