You may or may not have heard about John Harris.
If so, I'm just joining the club. If not, I feel obligated to spread the word.
I used to think that a lot of the cover art for contemporary science fiction novels published within the past two decades were made by a bunch of people who subscribed to the same aesthetic, with a distinct feel to it that was kind of hard to describe (curse my lack of literary expressive vocabulary). If you read science fiction novels, or even browsed through the sci-fi/fantasy books section of your local (English-lanugage) bookstore, you should have seen the artwork.
But it turns out, it was by the same one guy
, John Harris.
Check out his official gallery here: www.alisoneldred.com/divisionJ…
I always kind of liked science fiction artwork that evoked a sense of wonder, with a feel of surreal awe. The ending artwork for the anime Outlaw Star
by Hikaru Tanaka, for example (He seems to have dropped off the interwebs btw and I can't really follow what he's doing now). But my self-recognition of my preferences never went beyond a nebulous and fuzzy "that kind of art" as I wasn't really able to express it in a single word or phrase or flailing around with adjectives in futile attempts to nail "it" down. I never really bothered to look up who the cover artists were on the books I bought either, and even if I did, it didn't stick long enough in my memory for me to write it down somewhere.
But then I was looking through the making of Destiny by Bungie -- which I really want -- and the name John Harris popped up. They showed some of his works on screen and mentioned it was one of their inspirations, and I thought, "huh, that's kind of cool, that's the stuff I like", but it still didn't really stand out. That was maybe spring of this year, winter last year.
Then I was looking for some inspiration for some more recent artwork projects, suddenly remembered that there was a guy who was the inspiration for the aesthetic for Destiny -- which I really really want -- and googled it.
I found the name, googled that
, and the rest is what I mentioned above, with a big "holy shit it's all this ONE guy!" moment. It all kind of crystallized in me, as now I could browse through a comprehensive collection of the stuff I realized I liked much more easily, and I could start to build a more concrete definition of what I liked and what I want to be able to do.
So yeah, I now can blurt "John Harris!" when someone asks me what my favorite artist is, instead of giving a waffling answers like "well there isn't really one guy but...".
Before, the one name I could
give to that question from early on was Yoji Shinkawa from the Metal Gear Solid fare. But looking back, it's now a bit of a love-hate thing, on how I may have been exposed to his stuff too early and how his influence might have screwed me over. I saw his stuff for MGS, thought in my teenage years, yes that is awesome! I want to draw like that! and tried to ape his abstract style without actually knowing how to draw normally. I feel that kind of derailed my growth and my goals to a certain extent, and I haven't been able to emulate the style with much success neither.
But now I can start to worship someone else now.
I might be saying the same thing about myself 10 years down the line, but who knows.
So everyone go buy his art book. I did and it is awesome.The Art of John Harris: Beyond the Horizon