Friday, September 14, 2012

John Berkey

Most widely know for creating the original poster for the first Star Wars film, John Berkey is responsible for some of what I see as the most captivating science fiction imagery around.  While most sci-fi artists tend to look to Syd Mead as a source of inspiration when it comes to futuristic imagery, I always opt for the work of Berkey to get the gears in my own mind spinning. 

Besides being evocotive imagery, there are a couple specific things about the work of John Berkey that I really appreciate.  The first being his ability to visualize incredibly complex and unforeseen possibilities with regard to science fiction landscapes.  Keep in mind a lot of his work was done in the late 60's early 70's.  No computers, no Star Wars, Alien, or any other commonly referenced sci-fi film to look to.  Instead he was creating the imagery that would later become the basis for what a lot of those films looked like.  

The second thing that I really appreciate about his work is the mastery of scale and composition.  The shear immensity of the landscapes that he created make each of his paintings difficult to look away from.  What is really great about them, is that upon close inspection into the backgrounds that provide this grand scale, the brushstrokes dissolve into seemingly insignificant blips on the page, inconsequential in their solidarity.  However, in aggregate, these blips combine to create incredibly rich fields of color, texture, and depth.  

To put it simply, John Berkey is awesome.

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