Wednesday, November 12, 2008

the artist who made me want to become an artist:

presenting, harry clarke! i distinctly remember that in seventh (or maybe eighth?) grade i was looking through a book of andersen and perrault's fairy tales that had belonged to my paternal grandfather. it was illustrated by harry clarke, and his wonderful, relentlessly intricate and graceful drawings amazed me. i decided to sit down and make a drawing in the style of harry clarke- i drew a woman in a dress, and the skirt of the dress was filled with lots of intricate "doodles". it'd be cool to find that drawing again- it's probably somewhere in the dozens of sketch books i have from my youth back in new york.

so this blogpost (don't forget the russian accent!) may actually be somewhat informative because i know one or two things about clarke. he lived in the late 1800-early 1900s, was born and raised somewhere in ireland or the uk (i want to say ireland, but i'm not sure and i want to be stubborn and not lean on wikipedia for information on my favorite artist! :) ). he won several awards in school for his art, and trained as a stained-glass maker. i'm not sure how he got into illustrating, but he did the illustrations for several books of fairy tales and some edgar allen poe collections (for which his style is quite well suited). he also illustrated a translation of faust and some other things. he may, perhaps, be most closely compared to aubrey beardsley, who lived and worked at the same time, but you'll definitely see parallels between clarke's work and, say, nielsen (as well as a few others that i may blog about later).

quick note about beardsley- i may post about him, because his work is also really, really beautiful...but some of it isn't, so much. in fact, a lot of it is somewhat perverted and disturbing, so i must warn you that if you decide to go in search of beardsley works yourself, you may be unpleasantly surprised. i know some of you are thinking, "pshhh- how can someone who lived during that repressive victorian era in britain have created 'perverted' drawings?" to which i will reply that there is nothing new under the sun and i'm just warning you. but anyway, there's something about his "normal" illustrations that remind me of yellow cake and white frosting or candy- they are, for lack of a better word, "yummy" :)

back to clarke! here are a lot of images (like i could just pick two or three). these are from numerous sources (i photographed or scanned many of them myself from the actual books), so unfortunately i can't provide my resources, which i would like to do because it's bad form not to but i can't so oh well. i think the two color images are interesting- the one on the left is one of his stained-glass pieces (i think it may be king arthur and guinevere) and the one on the right is an illustration from andersen's fairy tales (i got it from the internet and don't know which fairy tale it's supposed to be). the image on the left is really striking in its coloring, but the one on the right is rather bland...this is how i find most of clarke's color illustrations to be, and it's kind of confusing because, as a stained-glass maker, you'd think he'd excel at using color. and he does, when he makes stained-glass windows...ah well.

toodle-oo. have a good wednesday.


Molly said...

Of course, the Irish rebel in me would like to point out that Ireland is NOT a part of the U.K....

kristin said...

sorry. i'll change that.