First up, I’d just like to welcome onboard Ben Feldman to Sci-Fi-O-Rama. Ben will be reviewing Sci-Fi literature as the year unfolds, from the essentials to the esoteric, and he’ll also be posting regular artist samplers, this taste of Russian prodigy Yuri Shwedoff is the first.
Since graduating from Moscow’s Academic Art University in 2014, Yuri Shwedoff has rapidly gained international interest for his melancholy and otherworldly works. His Artstation portfolio has been viewed nearly 1.5 million times, and he has been featured in media ranging from Beautiful/Decay to WIRED.
To celebrate ten years of Sci-Fi-O-Rama I thought it would be poignant to reacquaint you with some of the most popular artists we’ve featured through the decade.
Here then is the first part of a new series featuring a selection of genre pioneers synonymous with the pre-digital ‘Golden Age’ of Sci-Fi Illustration. These are artists that were most prolific – though not exclusively – during the 1970s and 1980s, together they’ve captured and inspired the imagination of millions.
In no specific lets then begin with Welsh maestro Jim Burns…
Jim Burns (born in Cardiff, April 1948) has enjoyed an extremely prolific career dating back to the early 1970s. During these forty years and more he’s produced cover and interior art for literally hundreds of Science Fiction and Fantasy titles including work for authors such as George R. R. Martin, Frank, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett to name but a few.
First up, Sci-Fi-O-Rama was 10 years old last month (28th of March) and though posts may have dwindled somewhat through recent years we are very much back, so a big thanks to long-term and new readers alike. On with the post…
I’m currently contracting with an Icelandic games studio and am fortunate enough to spend a fair bit of time over there. Recently I visited Reykjavík Art Museum (highly recommended) and came across the spellbinding video work of contemporary Danish artist Tinne Zenner.
Zinner features in a 4 part collective show entitled ‘Tak i lige måde: Contemporary Art from Denmark’ commisioned to mark a hundred years of Icelandic sovereignty and the road to independence from Denmark (Iceland became fully independent in 1944). Zinner’s contribution ‘Nutsigassat’ (Greenlandic: ‘Transitions’) was by far the standout and really blew me away, hence the taster here.
Nutsigassat is an extremely powerful 20-minute combination of text, spoken word and haunting 16mm film imagery, scored with a superb low-range soundscape by Wieland Rambke. The film’s theme concentrates on the power of language as a tool of the coloniser, in this case, the Danish influence over Greenland.
Of particular note is a cleverly designed computer animation (seen below) that appears in such a rudimentary fashion it’s difficult to know how exactly it was crafted, the 16mm post-treatment gives a very 1980s VHS feel. Combine this with Rambke’s brooding soundtrack and a native Greenlandic voiceover with word-for-word translation (broken syntax) and you have some extreme otherworldliness. I was mesmerised upon viewing, and poignantly it’s a piece that quietly blossoms in the mind, majestic if slightly unnerving.
Here’s an excerpt from the film.
Nutsigassat Excerpt#1 from Tinne Zenner on Vimeo.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
Above: (1) Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith – evil figurehead of the Imperial Forces. (2) A member of Darth Vader’s Guard Corps. Notice the Vader style helmet. (3) This Imperial pilot wears armour in the style of the Stormtroopers.
Just in case you’ve been living under an icy rock in a galaxy far, far away you may not have noticed one of two things. Firstly Sci-Fi-O-Rama hasn’t published any new material for aeons, and secondly, there’s a brand new Starwars Film out. So then, in an effort to bound the two together here’s a rare gem I’ve managed to unearth featuring the original trilogy’s Oscar-winning Costume designer John Mollo.