Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Featured Artist: Keith Thompson

I have another one for you. I found Keith Thompson's work not too long ago, and I ended up going through all the pictures on his homepage. Not only does he have a distinct style that very much agrees with the images I see inside my own head, he also accompanies most of his work with short stories that tickles the imagination. I recommend that you visit his site and take the tour. It's well worth it.


While some of his artwork can be classified as steampunk, it's not the run of the mill begoggled-crazy-professor-type steampunkery you see so often. He also draws on references from both classical and contemporary art. Thompson's alternate pasts (and futures) have a distinct touch that sets them apart from the rest of them.


I have also discovered that Thompson has been working on the Leviathan series with author Scott Westerfeld. Without going into details here, I'll just say that those books have gotten on my reading-list.


So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you...


From Leviathan


Warden
The following is the vignette to this picture, and is written by the artist. Click the caption on the images below to read those vignettes. 
The Fey Folk, being barren, steal away human babies and raise them as their own, twisting them into fair forms. Often the fairies leave one of their own in the raided crib as a spiteful taunt to the oblivious parents. The Warden was a young fairy who took the place of a babe stolen from an old woodsman’s house deep in the forest. 
He would twist his face hideously as the old man and woman tried to love and care for him. Mischievously, the fairy would break valuables, set fires, and make the animals ill. Still, the parents patiently raised him.This continuing love puzzled the Warden, and he slowly became accustomed to it, growing tall and healthy as a young man would from such compassion.
He knew that he could never live as a man in the city, so he stayed with his new parents in their isolation until they eventually died, still thinking him their ugly, troubled son. In bitter grief, the warden took to the forest with the intent of returning the same sorrow the Fey doled out so generously. He now stalks through the forest, his size immense for a fairy from his humans’ diet, and the nurturing of the old couple. He captures all Fey Folk he comes across and lets them slowly waste away, savouring their pleas as they cry out in a language he hardly remembers. 
A young fairy with his wings clipped is chained to the turret in the Warden’s hat, where he is forced to use his man-catcher to snag those flitting high in the trees. An adder lives in the warden’s sleeve, darting out to capture fairies skulking in the underbrush. 
Men who find themselves lost in the forest often wake up to discover a small leather purse in which is a drawn map showing the way to town, and a bundle of small, iridescent wings tied together with the finest hair.

The Prophet

The Tower

Damned 02

Sedales Serpent from the Iron Grip game

The video below is from the on-line game Iron Grip. Here you can see some of Thompson's concept-work in action.


7 comments:

  1. I LIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Esp the Warden. Really nice... sending that off to my friends in my WOD game.

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  2. I see a promo for his work in Leviathan that Westerfield narrated at Comi-Con. It was pretty cool.

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  3. I've come across his pictures before, but when I found his home-page, I literally whooped :)

    Selecting pictures from this post was quite difficult, and I still think I should have added at least three more... Oh, well.

    But, yeah, the Leviathan series will have to be read, I believe.

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  4. some pretty epic art there

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  5. Love it, almost like a Brian Froud for grownups. Chilling stuff.

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  6. Had to look up Brian Froud, and yes, there is a similar feel to the two. Another artist I'd point to is Hieronymus Bosch. The fish-faced men are clear homages, and one of Thompson's characters could have stepped right out of a Bosch painting.

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