The Ruffled Crow

Animation, Art, and Other Shiny Things

Category Archives: Art

Vikram Madan – Seattle Artist

just be yourself lil reaper vikram madan

Lil’ Grim Reaper. Who knew Death Itself could be so cute?

I don’t recall where on the internets I came across the Lil’ Grim Reaper, but I recognized it immediately when I read an article on local Seattle artist Vikram Madan. I also recognized one of his Mini-Murals I’d seen on the back of a street sign here in Seattle.

To describe his work as whimsical is correct, however would be off by a magnitude or three. Mr Madan’s work makes you want to invite the monster under the bed and the skeletons in your closet out for a spot of tea and a heart to heart chat.

invasion of the happy dancing robots

Happy Dancing Robots. Probably my favorite of Mr Madan’s work.

Granted, some of the character models do remind me a bit of the “Love is…” comics of the 1970s, but the situations and stylish rendering absolves all. And Mr Madan really pushes the limits of his style, including in materials and venues.

One of those venues is Public Art. Park murals, utility boxes, poles and pianos. Even the edge of the stairs to a dance studio. Mr Madan has brightened up a lot of things and places around the greater-Seattle area.

Attack of the Space Needles. Fell in love with it and picked up this print. I will never look at the Needle the same way again, and I see it almost every day.

I have a love for street art. In planning for my upcoming trip to the UK this summer, I’ve got a full day in Bristol (home of Banksy) and a half-day scouting London’s street art. Mr Madan’s public art is a great addition to Seattle’s flourishing art culture.

Mr Madan’s public stuff is close enough to me that I can just stop by when I’m in the area and cover them all pretty easily after a fashion. I’m looking forward to it.

To learn more about Seattle artist Vikram Madan, check out the great article by Lisa Edge over at RealChange, or stop off at Mr Madan’s website. If you do that, I warn you, expect to spend some time. Trust me, it’s worth it.

The Gas Clock – Mattias Gordon


Tonight’s Friday Night music video adds some class to the place.

The Gas Clock is a fragment of Goethe’s tragedy where Faust and Mephisto travel in time and space, between the living and the dead, in a maze that they may never find their way out of.

Animated by Mattias Gordon of whom we are a fan! More of his well done animation here.

Philippe Druillet

druillet lone sloan cover

Cover art for The 6 Voyages of Lone Sloan

Philippe Druillet [english link] spent his childhood in Catalonia on the Iberian peninsula of Spain, moving back to France when he was eight. Beginning his artistic career as a photographer, he didn’t start selling his drawings until he was 22 and soon took his most famous character Lone Sloan to the French comic magazine Pilote.

Pilote also introduced us to Uderzo and Goscinny‘s Asterix and several artists that I came to know from the pages of Heavy Metal magazine including Moebius and Bilal.

Like Moebius, Druillet is another of the founders of Les Humanoïdes Associés that subsequently published Métal Hurlant and it’s American sister mag, Heavy Metal. Also like Moebius, Druillet’s work showed up a lot in the early issues.

Druillet Ouro3 173 May 1978 HM Cover

Cover Art for Heavy Metal’s May 1978 Issue

His stories can be somewhat inscrutable; many of his panels might have no text or dialogue and then one will have a large text box full of tightly-packed words.

Story aside, what I’ve always loved about his stuff has been the mingling of eastern, art deco, and art noveau complexities all with a savage, martial demeanor. Rather than small-scene windows into the story, Mr Druillet’s art is wide-angle and complex often given to huge vistas and grand architecture. It’s also not uncommon for his characters to be biomechanoid in some fashion, and his architecture to be rather organic – something akin to HR Giger’s work.

Here are just a few of my more favorite illustrations of his:


From Druillet’s illustration of Michael Moorcock’s Saga of Elric the Necromancer

druillet fire




2001: A Picasso Odyssey

‘2001’ rendered in the style of Picasso using Deep Neural Networks based style transfer. – Bhautik Joshi.

A fun little film, especially for those that have seen the film. I think Mr Joshi probably used software based on the academic paper A Neural Algorithm of Artistic Style by Leon A. Gatys, Alexander S. Ecker, and Matthias Bethge.

Vivid Sydney 2016

Sydney Opera House’s presentation of Lighting the Sails: Songlines is an impressive display of projection mapping. Visual content and animation was done by Artists in Motion with music composed and designed by Rhoda Roberts and Damien Robinson.

Celebrating First Nations’ spirituality and culture through the songlines of our land and sky, this year’s Lighting the Sails is about painting and celebrating country through a pattern of sharing systems, interconnected history lines and trade routes. Lighting the Sails Director and Head of Indigenous Programming at Sydney Opera House Rhoda Roberts has selected six artists of different clans, national estates and territories for an immersive projected artwork that weaves through time and distance. [about the artists]

Lighting the Sails is currently being looped daily until June 13th and is part of the larger Vivid Sydney festival which is going on until June 18th. If I could handle the 18 hours flying from Seattle to Australia I would love to see this live and at a festival that sounds like a great mix of art, tech, and the combination of the two. (And I’d get to finally watch a Footy game live too. I’m an Adelaide (and Geelong) fan, for the record)

Here’s a link to a fantastic bit of projection mapping from the 2012 Vivid Sydney festival I posted a few years ago.

Birth of a Book

h/t Laughing Squid

I work in a library and have had a love affair with books since I was very young. While it’s nice to be able to carry an entire bookshelf full of books on a slim little tablet computer or your phone, there is still nothing that compares to holding an actual book in my opinion.

HR Giger

Hans Rudolf Giger died yesterday from complications arising from a fall. He was 74 years old.

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery album art.

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer – Brain Salad Surgery album art.

The first time I saw the art of HR Giger, I didn’t know it. It was the cover of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s Brain Salad Surgery album. Even though it was about their best album, I liked the cover better.

The next time was on the cover and in the pages of Heavy Metal Magazine. The June 1980 issue, to be precise. HM had been running ads for Giger’s Necronomicon for a while, but that issue had a full spread of his art.

I don’t think I need to say much about his work in Alien (and other movies) and his subsequent success except to mention the Oscar he won for the movie and his induction into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2013.

Thankfully there is a HR Giger Museum in Gruyères, Switzerland and, even better, the website has an online virtual tour. Worth the ‘walk’.

June 80 issue with the HR Giger gallery. Made me a lifelong HM fan.

June 80 issue with the HR Giger gallery. Made me a lifelong HM fan.

His ‘Biomechanoids’ were both unsettling and sensuous, mixing death and eroticism. Giger’s art reached into our little Freudian souls and dragged out hidden fantasies, bloody and wriggling.

His most distinctive stylistic innovation was that of a representation of human bodies and machines in a cold, interconnected relationship, he described as “biomechanical”. His main influences were painters Ernst Fuchs and Salvador Dalí. He met Salvador Dalí, to whom he was introduced by painter Robert Venosa. He was also a personal friend of Timothy Learyvia

The art world lost a genuine surrealistic master in H R Giger.

Here are some of my favorites of his.

Necronom IV - The inspiration for the Alien

Necronom IV – The inspiration for the Alien

Alien Pilot

Alien Pilot

Dune IV - artwork from an unproduced Dune movie (Frank Herbert)

Dune IV – artwork from an unproduced Dune movie (Frank Herbert)

The Spell IV from Giger's Necronomicon

The Spell IV from Giger’s Necronomicon

Landscape XIX

Landscape XIX

Alien artwork, 1977

Alien artwork, 1977

Flawed Symmetry of Prediction – Jeff Frost

Combining still and time-lapse photography with motion, music, and art, Frost reveals a world rarely seen. Rooted in science and the exploration of space, Frost’s work explodes with light, fire, and sound, utilizing 2D and 3D perspective, leading the viewer on a unique visual journey through worlds both real and imagined. via

B is for Bradbury

Ray Bradbury died the other day, on the sixth of June. I suppose, if one had to be blamed for the existence of this blog, it would be him. For two and a quarter dial-up BBSs and a couple of EZ-Boards too.

I’ve read Mr Bradbury’s books since I was very young and along with Asimov and Clarke, he helped define my daydreams. Mr Bradbury on his own, however, defined how I wanted to tell them.

I’m not sure I had much of a choice about writing; there has always been too many things flying about in my head and many things around me just add more flutterings. If I didn’t write, get things out of my head, I imagine I would drown in the noise. I’m better at quieting and diverting the cacophony these days, but it’s always there.

Anyways, when I started writing, the standard pre-teen and teen angst my peers poured onto their paper seemed like beating long dead horses and no one noticed they were all whipping the same one. Not to say that I wasn’t suffering from many of the same upheavals in biochemistry, but I felt that if you were going to examine the shreds of your pathos in writing then it should be more than a stenographic scream.

So I tried to describe the sinuous beauty of the monsters in my closet and explore the worlds behind their eyes like I thought Mr Bradbury would. Perhaps I hoped for some dawning self-awareness like Douglas Spaulding.

Increasingly I also wrote humor and satire and science fiction and tried to re-arrange words so they had the same sense of wonder Mr Bradbury’s had, the same wide-eyed curiosity and recognition of the macabre, the same ability to smell the approaching rain.

I think I have always understood the power of words, and too often it seems that rather than being the synergistic effect between well-wrought prose and considered introspection it is the bludgeon of the dogmatic or clueless. A verbal savagery that has no respect for the idea or the wielded words. My parents taught me to respect ideas and thought, Mr Bradbury taught me to respect the words that express them.

While written as an admonition to the Grim Reaper, the notation on The Scythe applies to the written word as well: Who Wields Me — Wields the World!

Yes, I’ve published a few things. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people have read my stuff, but you won’t know my name. And that’s fine. I’ve never pursued a writing career and it’s probably for the best – I’m not that good and would’ve starved decades ago. Even worse, writing is an agonizing process for me; there’s always a more appropriate word, a better construction to a sentence, a finer nuance that I struggle to find. Even if I could complete a novel, the editing process would be horrific.

But I still write and I still try to rake the ideas and thoughts and diversions into piles only to watch an autumn wind rustle them away, with me wanting to follow every one to see where it goes.

And occasionally there is a sentence, or perhaps a paragraph that touches that place where Mr Bradbury’s writing resides and shouts at me the reason I keep shaping and reshaping clumps of words. For near forty years and millions of words Ray Bradbury was my measure and I suppose my muse.

As he will continue to be.

Star Wars Watercolors – Terry Cook

Unlike the re-imaginings of Star Wars characters in old world Japan that I’ve posted, Terry Cook went the fine art route and painted them in watercolor. And I do mean ‘fine art’ as the artist has rendered these portraits skillfully enough to rate display on the best wall of any home or gallery.

Darth Vader

Grand Moff Tarkin – an often overlooked character

Boba Fett

Master Yoda

Imperial Storm Trooper

C3PO and R2D2

You can find all 11 prints at Terry Cook’s website.

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