Opinion - The Art of Greg Spalenka

The Art of Greg Spalenka

Susan Omand discovers an Art book that is really about the Art thanks to our friends at Titan Books...

I love it every time Titan sends me a new “Art of...” book to review. I love the social history of movie posters and book covers and enjoy seeing how concept art evolves into the film sets and costumes we see on our screens. This book is different. This book blew my artistic little mind.

Greg Spalenka has done work for Neil Gaiman in The Absolute Sandman and The Absolute Death. He also has been very influential in the design of films like The Golden Compass and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. His work has adorned magazine covers like Time and Rolling Stone as “art with a purpose” – successfully distilling the essence of an article into a single image. These are all in the book and they are beautiful and cleverly done.

BUT....

The Art of Greg Spalenka

Where this book differs from any other artist showcase book is that they are not the main bit of the book. This is given over to his fine art pieces, portraits and surrealist masterpieces.

These. Are. Stunning.

Luckily for me they are the majority of the book and page after glossy page of golden, Pre-Raphaelite images greets you, uninterrupted for the most part by any words. Many of the works remind me of 19th Century Russian religious iconography such is their power. The portraits in the book are not typical head-and-shoulders photo-realistic paintings and, as such, they capture much more of the character of the person than just an accurate likeness. There is a real emotional connection with each face as you look at the pictures.

I could go on and on about this book, examining each picture in turn and commenting on the depth of tone, the sweep of each beautiful line... but I won’t. I fully understand that you all are not as much of an art nerd as me. It’s not really a book to get if you want to find out about the concept art of the films and the behind the scenes bits on design and production of book covers or magazine images. As I said at the top, they are covered and they are beautiful pictures. This though is very much a book for artists and those who really appreciate art. If you’re the type, like me, who can sit for hours in a gallery staring at just one picture and letting it soak into your soul, get this book.

Image - Titan.