You know I like to point out artists that I think are doing interesting work. Well today, I have two of them for you.
I can’t post their work here, of course, because it’s their work. But I hope you’ll follow these links, although readers are often reluctant to follow links. I promise they will lead you to magical places.
The first is for an artist who identifies himself as Ryan A., although I think his name is Ryan Andrews. Under “About,” Ryan just writes, “I’ve got a foot in California and Japan.” His work really does seem to be a fusion of two artistic traditions, and it’s quite beautiful. Here’s what I want you to look at: “Nothing is Forgotten.” This is part 1, but there are links to parts 2 through 7 at the bottom. You’ll want to follow them; once you start looking, you won’t want to stop. And it won’t take you long.
“Nothing is Forgotten” is basically a short story in illustrations. It’s about a boy who finds a magical creature in the forest close to his house. I won’t tell you anything about it – you need to discover the story for yourself – but it reminds me just the tiniest bit of My Neighbor Totoro if it were drawn by Edward Gorey. I hope Ryan doesn’t find that description insulting: his own drawing is so pure, so elegant (in the sense of the blog post I wrote on elegance a while back), that it pulls me right into the story, makes me feel the magic of it. And I love stories like that. I promise that you’ll love it too.
The second artist is Lori Nix. Go to her website and click on the button “The City.” What you’ll see are dioramas of rooms in various states of decay. They’re like wonderfully intricate dollhouses, but post-apocalypse. As though the dolls had blown up their world, and only these rooms are left, falling into ruin. I think this one, “The Library,” is my favorite.
I think Walter Pater was fundamentally right, in his conclusion to The Renaissance, when he talked about the value that art adds to our lives, the way in which it allows us to live more deeply and broadly. For him, art added the highest value, and I’m not sure about that, although I do know that when I’m unhappy I go to the museum. It’s as though in the museum, I can lose myself. I become an observer of wonderful things, and I get to set my self, which I spend the rest of my time carrying around with me, aside for a while. It offers an opportunity for self-forgetting or self-transcendence, I’m not sure which.
And then I get to go to the new American Wing:
And eat a banana split:
The fanciest banana split in the world. As I did yesterday.
But seriously, do please click on the links and go see Ryan A. and Lori Nix. If you’re here looking at my blog, I know they’re exactly the sorts of artists you will like.