Wednesday 8 January 2014

The Precise Genius of Ian Miller

Ian Miller is awesome.

How would you describe his work? Think H.R. Giger merged with Edward Gorey, with a sprinkle of Dali.

Born in 1947 in England, he's illustrated everything from H.P. Lovecraft to Lord of the Rings; he's worked on films such as Wizards, Shrek, and MirrorMask.
Evokes De Chirico, Dali, and Ralph Steadman
His work, frequently flat and two dimensional (he calls it his 'Tight Pen Style'), is atmospheric, distinct, and wonderfully imaginative. He indulges in an absolutely insane level of detail that makes me think of obsessive compulsion. Dense texture is achieved with patterns that become almost abstract.

It never fails to draw me in.

Multilevel city
From The Tolkien Bestiary
His work is pen and ink, for the most part, but they look like etchings. The battle above reminds me of medieval battle scenes, where perspective is played with fast and loose, and helmets become a pattern, a sea of bobbing heads and spears.
No idea what this is, but it'd be a great demon
Kingdom of the Dwarves from LOTR
Miller takes the flying behemoth to the limit.
Not sure where his flying beasts come from, or what they were for, but this sort of thing is exactly what I wanted to have flitting above the ledges of Hell. I have one that's a basically a big, winged Grouper fish, but it's got nothing on this. They'd be perfect transports for demons.

I look at them and think, damn it, why didn't I think of that? Why!?

There's an otherworldly horror, a debauched elegance to his designs that I find compelling. It's the sort of thing I wanted to do with Rebel Angels, but I didn't go far enough.
Utterly unique chess set. I'd buy it.
This piece (above) reminds me of a chess set gone mad. You can see knights, pawns, and even a bearded King. Trees, insects, metal armour, men, and birds merge to create macabre warriors.

It's something out of an ornate, meticulously designed nightmare.

Check out his website. If you can get your hands on The Tolkien Bestiary, do yourself a favour and buy it.

According to Miller, his "images are the stuff of dreams and apparitions, the tremors that touch the skirt of day. Unspoken thoughts, stored memories, drawn up to be aired and then twisted by fancy."

He's illustrated sci-fi on occasion, and while I prefer his ornate fantasy work, there is one franchise I'd like to see him tackle.  He's a self-professed fan of Flash Gordon. Now that's an interpretation I'd love to see. 

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