Friday, 25 May 2012

Guglielmo Castelli

"I don’t know if I’ll be an illustrator or an artist, if I’m gonna work in a team or by myself; the only thing I know for sure is that I have to create, to animate worlds or for me it will be the end.
We artists are incredibly egocentric."
Excerpt from interview with Jou Jou Villeroy.

This quote recalls a recent discussion I had with someone over the differences between defining an artist or an illustrator. What are the different definitions and how are they interchangeable? The main fundamental difference is that an artist creates work for themselves, and an illustrator creates work for clients. However this casts a grey area over how you would define an illustrator producing 'personal work', but urgh, I feel that discussion needs a post on it's own! Eithey way, it's fair to say that regardless of the purpose, the finished piece should speak for itself.

(Looks from Prada Fall Winter 2010.)

A personal favourite, and great insight into Castelli's process and perception.

Guglielmo's work certainly evokes a more fine art approach, and despite being a 
regular contributor for Vogue Italia's website, he produces a large amont of solo material. At just 24 it's intimidating how much he has produced and in such quality, already planning his third solo exhibition. 

The tortured twisted figures of his solo work and the play on perspective are of course reminiscient of Francis Bacon's work, but the first time I saw his work I was reminded of Yoshitomo Nara, the hugely successful Japanese pop artist. Flat areas of bold colour and a general sense of isolation and melancholy are all similar running themes, and the characters that hover between a state of child and adulthood create a vision both surreal and engaging. I actually spotted a photo on Guglielmo's tumblr showing one of Nara's works in the background, so it's safe assume there is some influence or inspiration going on there.
While some of the figures in his solo work appear tortured, their faces obscured, hidden and facing away, the characters in his fashion directed works are lighter in mood, less contorted and even occasionally pleased and smiling. Prada and Comme Des Garcons seem to be his favourite collections to interpret, but as you can see beneath, his work for Vogue Italia's site has seen him illustrate a varied range of designers.
I'm a big fan of his play on proportions and soft colour palette, and at 24 he has already created a strong identity which will no doubt continue to develop. Make sure you follow his site here.

All images from Guglielmo's site and Vogue Italia's.

Prada Mens


Proenza Schouler

Maison Martin Margiela



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Saturday, 12 May 2012

Eduard Erlikh

A worldwide Vogue favourite and supreme master of fluid lines and dynamic figurative posture, it truly surprises me that I don't see Erlikh's work across more of the other fashion illustration blogs online.

Eduard studied painting, sculpture and theater design in Moscow, Russia, and illustration in New York where he now lives. For anyone who hasn't seen his work at all before, it could almost be forgiven than some of his simpler silhouettes could be mistaken for the style of Mats Gustafson. However, there are many differences in these alone, and to compare an illustrators style so much without pointing out the differences would be unforgivable.

First and foremost, the posture of all his models. Constantly dynamic, his men and women stretch out, pose, bend, strut and recline with great strength and character. On his website (which nearly all of these images are taken from, make sure you look at the rest) Erlikh showcases his life drawing studio work just as much as his client work.
Maybe it's because I'm an illustrator myself that I actually prefer looking at his simple line works, the power in just a few simple strokes is an effect that most illustrators dream of achieving.
His women are powerful with their presence and their stature, demure attitude and long limbs but his studio men are powerful sexual beings, often erect, with strong brows, muscles and contorted in sexually alluring stances. Tattoos, cigarettes and hoop earrings are regular accessories. And I love them.

Again, with my love of illustrators such as Rene Gruau, David Downton and Bernadette Pascua, there's that use of basic line. It's something that is taught to anyone who has ever even been to a life-drawing class, or any higher education art class at all, that the power of the line and it's ability to describe with such little information is not to be forgotten. I feel like it's a point I drum out in nearly every blog post to the point of lunacy / tiresomeness, and regular readers are probably bored of me pointing out the obvious. But for anyone looking at his studio series, it will immediately bring back memories of being taught this.

Vivid deep colours play a particurlarly strong role, you'd be hard pushed to find any pastille tones here. It works in total sync with the confident individuals he is portraying. Bold, enigmatic and bursting out of the page. A great aspect of his work is the use of basic background elements to conjure up a scene. With adding just one or two elements, perhaps a cocktail glass, a boat silhouette, a curtain outline or the silhouette of a certain style of elegant sofa, he is able to create these illusions of glamour that describe a scene without ever actually really showing it, letting the clothes take dominance of the composition.

more information:

Mr Erlikh is internationally renowned for creating editorials for publications including:
Vogue USA, Vogue Germany, Vogue Japan, Vogue Sposa Italy, Bazaar Japan,Marie Clair France, Elle Germany, Madame Figaro Paris, W, Wallpaper, FrauJapan, Town&Country, NK Stil, Domino, and Tush.
Commercial clients include: Tiffany&Co, The Limited, Ann Taylor,Bloomingdales, Talbots, Holt Renfrew, 9 West, Coach, Van Cleef and Arpel, Royalton, Clinique, Cinzano.

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