Iain Macarthur: Animal Illustrations

ImageMainly focussing within Pen, Ink and Pencil when creating these unique graphic illustrations, Iain Macarthur blends tribal patterns and animals to produce “stimulating” art. Influenced by Gustav Klimt, it is clear to understand where his love for patterned work arises from. Other artistic influences include Jenny Saville (but who isn’t influenced by her?), Ashley Wood and James Jean. “Surreal in it’s own way” I find the originality of Macarhur’s work greatly inspiring. The graphic contrast within black and white tones being used perfectly highlights the animal and pattern within. Embellishing a pattern within a realistic object or in this case living mammal, Macarthur aims to transform the ordinary into something bizzare, a concept I believe he perfects. Researching animals for my project I came across Macarthurs animal based designs. Working within realistic portraits and cartoon style designs his work contain colossal amounts of decorative imagery, as if he is taking something plain and giving it a beautiful purpose. I like how Macarthur opts to work differently from other animal illustrators, he doesn’t simply draw an animal or create a character from observation, he uses pen to intricately create a whole new perception of the animal he is illustrating. Working comfortably with pen and capturing perfected shading with this material, this designer uses his detailed patterns to produce the illusion that they are trying to escape from the figure they are being trapped within. Personally, when viewing a lot of his work, I find the patterns act as a personality of the animal within the Imagedrawing. The continuous swirls and reluctance of straight edges produces a very soft, feminine mood, communicating a welcoming approach to his audience. Often using a great amount of symmetry within his drawing, Macarthur captures an intense equality within both design and concept. Nature, Street Art, Cartoons and Patterns clearly inspire this artists to keep producing his unique collaborations. As an audience to this artists, I find his work highly appealing. I believe the simplistic amount of colour and tone within the patterns of the drawing allow the features of the animals to capture the attention of the audience. Macarthur cleverly refrains from allowing the patterns to overpower the animals portrait. He allows the pattern and animal to become one. Macarthur strives to make his drawings more and mroe photorealistic, personally I admire this style of Art and Design and I admire his enthusiasm to blend more traditional styles with the evolving Graphic Design industry. Described as being “dreamlike yet realistic”, I prefer Macarthurs black and white pieces of work to his colours experimentations. Communicating with his audience through the unique blend of realism and fantasy within his style of work, Iain Macarthur uses surrealism within a lot of his pieces. I find the eyes of the animals within Macarthurs drawings extremely captivating, using an intense amount of emotion through a feature that his audience will use in many areas of life including when hey are viewing his work, the eyes are a very personal aspect of human life. They witness key events and memories that are part of a person. The way they are used within Iain Macarthurs work attracts my attentions and appeal. Especially within his wolf collection the eyes are constantly in the same position however the appearance of the wolf changes from drawing to drawing. I find this intriguing. Interpreting his work in your own way, the audience are able to produce their own concept and message of Macarthurs work as he allows the drawings and patterns speak for themselves, refraining from the use of text and colour in many of his collections. I interpret his wolves collection as a way of expressing that a person, or animal can look different on the outside (expressed through changes in colour and pattern) however contain the same features, and outline (shown through the duplications of the base animal, the wolf, and the placement of the eyes). I believe that Macarthurs work can communicate in an array of ways with the audience and the facial expressions and postures that the realistic portraits and animals consume assist these conceptual views. Emotions and moods are easily created through the facial expressions and postures of people and animals, Macathur ensures that he produces a mood or style of emotion in a lot of his work, I find this element of his drawings cleverly situated. I do however prefer Macarhurs portrait work to his animal illustrations as I find they contain a greater sense of reality and the contrast of realism and pattern work to a greater extent. I find his animal illustrations beautifully crafter, its just they do often come across more cartoon styled than realistic. A small criticism within Macarthurs work that I find is that I haven’t seen them as much as I would like. I believe that Macarthur has the capability to exhibit his work in a range of areas however his style may not be an easy one to use in a lot of areas within advertising and graphic design. 

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