September 3, 2013

The Art of Frankenstein : Dave McKean

People ask me who my favourite artist is, to work with. I've worked with world-class artists, after all, heaps of them. World class people. And when they ask me about my favourite, I say Dave McKean. And then people ask why. I say, because he surprises me.” — Neil Gaiman.
Indeed, Dave McKean, an artist’s artist, has been surprising his peers and legions of fans for a quarter of a century. Fiercely original, McKean brings something new, something unexpected to every undertaking. Case in point, McKean’s portrait of the Bride of Frankenstein.

Universal’s Frankenstein Monster and The Bride are extraordinary characters who have inspired countless artists and yielded excellent illustrations, often adroit and technically proficient but often so close to their photograph models as to be essentially painted versions of a movie still. Here, McKean has used photo references, but he breaks away on execution, bringing something wholly personal and profoundly revealing, capturing The Bride’s wildness and the astonishment that characterized her short and apocalyptic cinematic life. It is a stunning illustration, one of the best ever of The Bride.

Dave McKean is well known for his outstanding work as graphic novel writer and artist, and his illustration work, notably his celebrated covers for Gaiman’s Sandman series (1989-1996). In his Renaissance-man career, McKean has designed and illustrated posters, CD packaging, book covers and book illustrations. He is also a photographer, a musician and a filmmaker. McKean’s early computer work combining illustration, graphics, photography and sculpture was massively influential and still echoes today. Meanwhile, Mr. McKean has moved on, and beyond, still surprising us.

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