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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    St. Louis, MO

    REVIEW: White Cloud Worlds

    New Zealand's amazing visual artists get the attention they deserve...

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    Fans the world over have gained a love of the artwork and artists from New Zealand thanks to Weta Workshop and the company's amazing designs, special effects, costumes, and production. Thanks to films like The Lord of the Rings and live-action TV spots for the video game Halo, pop culture fans have seen what these artists can do...or have they?

    Thanks to Ignite Inc. and HarperCollins Publishers, art fans can now get their first taste of a completely unique art book filled with 100% New Zealand artwork. Entitled White Cloud Worlds: An Anthology of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artwork from Aotearoa New Zealand, the 128-page book features various pieces of two-dimensional and three-dimensional artwork sculpted, painted, and created by many "established and emerging" artists from the "land of the long white cloud."

    Flipping through the 128 pages, readers will immediately find a variety of styles and artistic personalities, including those they have come to love through other mediums as well as those they've never heard of before.

    With a forward by writer/director Guillermo Del Toro and an introduction by Richard Taylor, this masterwork of artwork - edited by Paul Tobin - will no doubt be an awesome coffee table book for those fans and collectors who want to find a variety of artwork in one place.

    For those who like landscapes, there's Jeremy Bennett, whose work helped create the look, colors and feel of Mordor and other habitats in Middle-earth when he worked as a member of Weta's crew on the production of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

    Still others will find Gus Hunter's work their favorite. Detailed Photoshop work shines as this artist bases his topics on regional myths and characters like "Kupe Faces Te Wheke" (below).

    For those looking for an almost child-like sense of imagination and love, Guido Anton's work will surely impress. My personal favorite, "Story Time Pumpkin," is fascinating in its simpleness, tender in its concept, and mind blowing in it's detailed nature.

    Others will find artists like Sacha Lees a favorite. Fantastical, flowing and feminine in nature, Lees' work includes such splendid pieces as "Unit 5" (below) and others.

    For those who like mecha and robotic designs, look no further than Aaron Beck and Christian Pearce. Both artists have a variety of designs features, including various robots and mecha-style characters. While their styles are different (Pearce's tight, structured designs opposing Beck's sweeping, Japanese-flavored work), both give those with a shine for the mechanical something to cheer about. Of note, Beck's "Peace Dragon" (below) and Pearce's "Ol' Blue Thighs" - both amazing works of art.

    Fans of fantasy won't want to miss Thomas Simpson's work, including "Marshwalkers" (below) and "The Green Room." Quoting art as being associated with "escapism," Simpson's work truly inspires such as it's near impossible to look at his amazing fictional settings without wanting or wondering what it'd be like to wander about within.

    Some names collectors will instantly recognize. Greg Broadmore, famous in the collectibles community for his work on the Weta RayGuns line and his concepts for the fan-favorite film District 9, is featured in White Cloud Worlds and for good reason. He's not only a talented concept artist, but painter as well. His piece, "Lonelybot" (below) proves this true.

    Some artists, such as Nicholas Keller, Jamie Beswarick and Gino Acevedo, will prove popular with fans of the dark, angry, and horrifying. Maybe best known for his line of Weta statues, sculptor Jamie Beswarick brings to life a number of pieces featured in the book, including "Terrakula" and "Infrit," while Gino Acevedo's "Vampire" and "Zombie" will frighten even the hardest of horror fans. Keller, whose artwork is influenced by Polish fantasy artist Zdzislaw Beksinski, brings to life a nightmare-ish cast of dark warlords reminiscent of evil characters seen in The Lord of the Rings, Hellboy, and other fantastical films (below).

    While I don't have the space here to post the work of all 27 artists, know that each and every one brings forth a unique and beautiful profile that will appeal to a variety of fans. In all, the book features more than 100 pieces of artwork by the 27 featured artists. And, as each artist has complimented their profile with a brief description of their work, their influences, their personality, and joys, each section in the book makes for both an interesting read as well as a beautful selection of art to look at and admire.

    As a fan, it's plain to see why each and every piece of artwork in White Cloud Worlds was chosen. Though their styles may vary and their tastes may differ, it's also plain to see their locale has influenced each and every artist included in the book. No doubt New Zealand has an exuberant amount of talent and it's great to see a number of the country's artists featured here in publication for all the world to appreciate and adore.

    For more information on White Cloud Worlds or to order your copy, click HERE.

    - Jess C. Horsley

    - sample courtesy of HarperCollins Publishing; images used with permission.

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    "Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"

    Jess C. Horsley

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