Madrid based contemporary art gallery Sabrina Amrani exhibited at the last Artissima art fair in Turin Waqas Khan, a talented Pakistani artist. After studying at the National College of Arts and graduating as a Bachelor of Fine Arts, his work has been exhibited in renowned international galleries. He trained in the traditional practice of miniature painting, inspired by Muslim, Hindu and Sufi traditions, but instead uses his skills to create drawings on a large scale. The process is almost architectural, like building something slowly, brick by brick. The bricks are dots, marks and lines, assembled with precision and delicacy into simple compositions. An idea of instability is told with abstract drawings, small circles spread with precision and freedom in geometric but unpredictable patterns. I like that. Some of these works have been recently acquired by prestigious institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and the Devi Foudation, New Delhi. Photography courtesy of Sabrina Amrani.
London based illustrator and designer, Thomas Danthony recently collaborated with Black Dragon press to create a beautifully minimalist series focused on Brutalism architecture in London. Inspired by their concrete beauty, Danthony has illustrated three of London’s most iconic buildings in all their Brutalist glory for a series of limited edition prints. The release consists of three six-colour A2 hand-pulled screenprints depicting the Royal College of Physicians, the National Theatre, and Trellick Tower, as well as an A4 concertina booklet featuring commentary from architect, critic and “Fuck Yeah Brutalism” curator, Michael Abrahamson. The series is available for purchase together or individually. Danthony successfully captures the essence of each of these Brutalist builds, beautifully highlighting their use of concrete.
French born designer and illustrator Thomas Danthony who is currently based in London, has designed N — a 42 page black & white book featuring a collection of graphite and ink drawings. Self-published, N is available in two versions, one of which is a luxury book with a hand made cover. The project was an experimentation by Danthony, differing from his commercial work, which allowed him the freedom to create a simple aesthetic. He explains: My goal was to take a bit of time off the computer to create something by hand, I was looking for a way to keep my commercial style, which is digital and to translate it on paper. To make it possible, it had to be simple, so I only worked with a pencil, a brush and some black ink. I then decided to design a small book to collect the series. I really enjoy the strong and simple compositions throughout. From the concept of the book, to the illustrations themselves, this is a superbly executed self-initiated project. There’s also a short video about N, which is directed by Tom van Schelven.
Edition One is a series of minimalist pastel toned linework on rich metallic paper. The pastel colors, printed with matte ink, give a nice contrast with the background and throughout the day the appearance will change by the light. Like the name says Edition One is the first edition of metallic prints by Yield. The series is produced in a limited edition of 100 pieces. Yield was founded in 2012 by Rachel Gant and Andrew Deming. The co-founders met at California College of the Arts, where Gant studied Industrial Design and Deming studied Design Strategy.
Some things are so ubiquitous around the internet that they just get taken for granted, even – or especially – in the design world, which is a small one indeed. So let’s set that aside for a moment and talk about Garance Doré‘s fashion illustrations. I’m not a fashionista particularly, but I do enjoy fashion design, and to me Ms. Doré’s work has always brought an extra dose of fun to that world. The line work is simple and direct, and the use of color is always limited, usually with a pop of bright tones, just enough to give it life and movement. The story of her persuit of illustration as a career is also an interesting read – her writing style is humorous, open and lighthearted, even when looking back at difficult patches, and that is always inspiring.
Based in Darwen, UK, illustrator and designer Chris Thornley, also often referred to as Raid71, has drawn these beautiful and minimal illustrations as an exercise of warming up before a day of drawing. The collection, titled Minimal is Good, is based on two basic rules: 1. One line (occasionally there are two or three). 2. One minute to draw. Thornley explains: After a few days I started to focus more and more on simplicity/minimalism; What was the least I could draw and still convey a person/emotion? Often depicting a female form, Thornley’s illustrations, which could also be defined as line art, are simple and brilliant. Lovely work.
Madmoiselle Favre is a french illustrator based in London, having grown up in Paris and moved to the UK to pursue illustration after graduation. Her work spans editorial, music, fashion, and basically a wide variety of many other mediums. My approach to illustration is about paring things down as much as possible. I try and get to the essence of my subject by using as few lines and colours as it needs to convey the core of the idea. Her combination of sinuous curves, clean and fluid lines, and bright, pop color palettes enables the creation of playful and alluring artwork that always leaves something to the imagination. Malika Favre has an upcoming exhibition at the Kemistry gallery in London. Check out the beautifully geometric and minimalistic teaser video here.
January 1st Tilman Zitzmann, a Germany based interaction and graphic designer, decided to channel his enthusiasm for minimalist graphics in an on-going personal project. Each and every day he publishes a new minimalist art piece, based on geometric shapes, on his tumble log named Geometry Daily. I get a serious flow when I draw simple shapes, combine them and experiment until they start to “sing”. Zitzmann explains that he wants to concentrate on relevant things, as our daily lives are full of noise and complex dependencies. He wants to concentrate on the idea and execute it straight-forward, without fuss. Since the start of the project he has build up an impressive collection of graphs of which I made a tiny selection attached to this post.
Agnes Martin was a Canadian born, Vancouver raised artist who came to the United States at the age of 20, where she lived for most of her life. Influenced by the vast landscape she grew up surrounded by and by artists such as Mark Rothko, Donald Judd and Barnett Newman, her spare, paired down artistic style is often considered a minimalist art. An emphasis in her work was placed upon line, grids, and subtle color but her visual language consisting of these basic geometric shapes retains small flaws, purposefully left by the artist. Closeness is potentially created between the viewer and the artist herself as her imperfect hand becomes a connection of a human touch. Martin’s work then becomes an individual spiritual experience as one can interpret her repetitive, reductive elements on different levels, adding dimensionality based on their own perception. I love Martin’s delicate, nonhierarchical ease she brings into each piece. When you Google her name under images, you are instantly transformed into her fluent world of harmonized scales and rhythms.
Diary fragments is an on-going illustration experiment by Serbia-born and Croatia-based visual artist Mario Kolaric. Two simple elements combined – lines and color – are the basis for most of these drawings, so beautifully simple and yet each one is potent with personality, brought on by the bold pop of colors and the delicacy of each precise line. Coming from a background in Fine Arts and now dwelling in illustration, Kolaric’s minimalistic and pop sketches become even more intriguing when you see the rest of his body of work, filled with strongly narrative drawings with a deep folkloric and melancholy essence. His other interests are in merging his illustrations with spatial installations. I’d definitely love to see a spatial representation of these Diary fragments series. I’d also love a wall full of his drawings!
Karen O’Leary is a North Carolina, USA-based architect and artist that simplifies the classic map, rendering a clean design as a result of intricate hand-cuts or repetitive black hand-drawn lines. With maps ranging from New York City to Paris and London, O’Leary erases every information judged unnecessary, be it by cutting out land and water into negative space, or by electing only the barest elements to draw. What remains is the dense and intricately woven web of a very real geography, turned delicate by a meticulous work of reductionism. I love the possibilities of dramatically changing one’s perception of a map by electing what kind of information is shown… O’Leary’s minimalist editing of these complex graphics produces very simple yet strikingly beautiful results!
Maine based artist Kate Beck creates paintings and drawings coalesced of intensity, intimacy and silence that result from a systematic starting point of materials and geometric shape. A particular illustration of Beck’s work I would like to share with you today is the quite wonderful and minimal Form Surface collection. This quiet, yet deliberate collection of line drawings and paintings displaying subtle gradients of soft and subdued tones, include the application of poured oil, graphite on aluminium, linen and paper. Form Surface in my opinion, strongly reflects Beck’s manifesto: I believe white to be the most inherently beautiful colour as it carries with it the potential to simultaneously expose and negate space. I believe black to be the most innately powerful colour as it is defined by the presence of light as well as by the absence of light. There’s not a single piece in this collection that fails to impress me, but what do you think?