Ivan Bilibin – Master Illustrator of Russian Folklore and Mythology

Kickstarting Sci-Fi-O-Rama has me busy researching once more, sites are bookmarked and images saved. Occasionally though, something pops up that’s just too special not feature straightway, such as the art of Ivan Bilibin.

Ivan Bilibin (1876 – 1942) was a Russian graphic artist and stage/costume designer most famous today for his stylised take on Russian Folklore and Medieval art. His work bears strong Art Nouveau characteristics, similar in vein to that of Aubrey Beardsley. Though in truth the influence stems more from their shared passion for 19th-Century Japanese block prints.

Ivan Bilibin - Tsaritsa Militritsa

Above: ‘Tsaritsa Militritsa’

Born in Tarkhovka (near St Petersburg) Bilibin showed much artistic promise as a youngster and went on to study in both Munich and St Petersburg under the tutorage of Anton Ažbe and Ilya Repin respectively. While studying under Repin, he was commissioned by the (then tsarist) Department for the Production of State Documents to illustrate a series of Russian Folk Stories. These would be published in six large format paperback volumes, bringing him praise and recognition from the newly formed ‘World of Art’ group (Mir Istkusstva). Commissions for that circle were to follow, allowing Bilbin to cement his path to a career as an Illustrator.

Dan McPharlin – Selected Works

Dan McPharlin – Selected Works

Veteran readers of Sci-Fi-O-Rama will obviously be familiar with the work of Austrailian artist and model-maker Dan McPharlin. He contributed to several posts and of course, designed the Sci-Fi-O-Rama logo. I’ve featured his gorgeous paintings many times and also interviewed him back in 2010.

Sadly as you probably are aware, in 2015 Dan’s internet presence stopped, and thus, nothing new has since appeared. This is not necessarily ominous, I believe Dan may simply be living ‘off-the-grid’. Over the past few years, I’ve received several emails regarding contacting him for potential commisions, I’m afraid I know nothing more than mentioned, I’ve lost touch with him myself. Anyway, let us not be gloomy, I’m sure he’s fine and busy beavering away on some spellbinding-vista as you read this…

A recap then and study of his overflowing talent.

Dan McPharlin - Storie Incredibili / Contatto col nemico

Dan McPharlin - Storie Incredibili / Contatto col nemico

Above and Title Image: ‘Storie Incredibili / Contatto col Nemico’  Wired Magazine (Italy), July-August 2014 issue.

These serene post-apocalyptic Illustrations form the perfect introduction to the art of Dan McPharlin and demonstrate how he excels at his craft. A delicate blend of Science Fiction and Surrealism, perfectly composed with a precisely balanced colour palette washed over with soft mists of texture.

Aliens and the Alcon Blue Butterfly

Aliens and the Alcon Blue Butterfly

First off a heavy disclaimer here: This post is based upon segments from a chapter of Jim Al-Khalili’s recent book ‘Science Asks: Is There Anybody Out There?’ (2016).

The publication is a spellbinding compendium that summarises the bleeding edge of science’s rapidly evolving hunt for extraterrestrial life and includes contributions from 20 expert minds, each at the vanguard of there respective fields.

If you’re even slightly interested in the scientific approach to ET this simply is a must-read, and offers both tantalising and tangible solutions to one of humanity’s greatest questions – Are we alone in the universe?

Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas & Interview

A glimpse of the ethereal here as we focus on Los Angeles based artist Roberto Benavidez and his glorious Hieronymus Bosch inspired Piñatas.

A wondrous weave of both Mexican and Medieval European influences, It’s not often one stumbles across work as fabulously genre-bending.

Intrigued, I contacted Roberto to find out more…

Roberto Benavidez - Bosch Bird no3

You have a wonderfully enchanting style, can you give an insight into your background and route to becoming an artist/sculptor?

I grew up a closeted gay boy in rural South Texas. There wasn’t much available in terms of art education apart from the performing arts so that is the route I pursued initially. I had always been drawn to crafts like sewing, embroidery and collage but it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I began to entertain the idea of pursuing a career as a sculptor. It really coincided with my coming out fully as a gay man and embracing what my true passions were. Over time I’ve moved from clay to metal casting, to paper, mainly sticking to figurative forms.

Roberto Benavidez – Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas

I’d rank your Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas as some of freshest work I’ve seen for a long time, where did the initial idea spring from?

Thanks, that’s very kind of you to say. I’ve had this idea for some time now. I’ve always been a fan of Bosch. The idea of blending this traditional Mexican craft with Bosch’s imagery was quite exciting to me, something a bit outside the typical piñata imagery. There is also the context behind each being rooted in sin so I thought it to be the perfect pairing. I also felt like this bleeding of cultural artistic forms was in a way representative of me as mixed-race.

Adam Makarenko – Exoplanets & Interview

Sci-Fi-O-Rama resurrects with a very special feature on Canadian miniature Photographer and Film Maker Adam Makarenko.

An award-winning multi-talented Artist Adam’s obviously involved with a plethora of supremely interesting visual projects, but it’s his outrageously ambitious ‘exoplanets’ mission we focus in on.

Adam Makarenko Exoplanet

Exoplanets, of course, are rarely out of the news these and the science to hunt them has come along way since the first definitive detection back in 1995 (Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of the University of Geneva). Fast forward 22 years and as of the start of April 2017 confirmed exoplanets number over 3,500 and range from huge gas giants right down to worlds a similar size to our own precious Earth.

Just how earth like are these worlds, and are they suitable for life ? These are the tantalising questions cosmologists and biologists face today. To answer is a mammoth technical challenge, not unlike Adam’s endeavour to experiment and construct his vision of these far flung worlds in miniature.

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