Between 1843 and 1860, the art and society critic John Ruskin published several volumes of a series of writings entitled Modern Painters. This major bulk of writings is perhaps Ruskin’s most famous and controversial production since, in those years in London, he dared to go against the grain by cherishing and praising the works of art of a new generation of painters, such as John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and J.M.W. Turner. After more than 150 years, this spirit of breaking with the past, and even with the present sometimes, by creating dreamlike, imaginary unreal worlds, is still alive. There are many Modern Painters living and working around the world today, but sooner or later, they all appeared in London to let their pieces be known. Like a scattered Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, they brought their art to that same city which allowed the painters celebrated by Ruskin to become the great landmarks of European art.
Roaming through Camden Town, it is very easy to bump into many clothing stalls, but Tobias Illustrations’s shirts have a stunning, modern style which catch the eye immediately. Tobias Illustrations is a project founded by Toby Brunsdon, graphic artist and illustrator based in Bristol, whose main inspiration and focus is wildlife.
Now, Tobias Illustrations has started a new project: Illustrate is the new brand by Tobias Illustrations. It features the collaborations of many illustrators and artists who create beautiful graphics transferring their art into fashion and objects. But what strikes the imagination are the illustrations: mostly inspired by nature, these powerful artworks by different artists show the beauty, the colourfulness and complexity of wild animals, the merging of different elements, the mix of geometric forms and round, soft lines which create unique mind-blowing images.
Natural elements are also the inspiration for Martin Leipziger. Born and raised in Germany, he travels the world to inspire and be inspired. In London he brought his “coffee and tea ink” collection: these drawings are all coloured with tea and coffee, thus providing his works with thousands of different brown nuances. With his dream-like visions of floating cities and broken trees displaying clouds behind, this German traveller artist aims to raise awareness about our environment and the social implications it brings. Through his artworks, Martin Leipziger wants to increase people consciousness about the importance of preserving nature and its beauty and lead us to be more aware of the problems and challenges through which our society put us everyday everywhere.
Finally, we meet Dupont l’Artist du Monde. Her name is eloquent and well expresses the purpose of her art: it works as a bridge which connects different parts of the world, far-away continents and cultures meet in her artistic products creating a vast, complex but clear landscape which brings together imagination and different realities. In fact, despite being very young, she travelled to Berlin, London, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, France, but South Africa, where she spent almost two years, is the land which most inspires her.
The African continent and in particular South Africa is the landscape of her soul and this can be grasped by looking at her drawings and illustrations. As she tells us, she draws everyday because her drawings are her life and her life is her drawings.
This drive she has was in fact born when she was in South Africa: “it is the germ of everything, the place where my creativity and imagination exploded, the place where I realised who I wanted to be, an illustrator and graphic designer who travels the world. Personally, the humanity of people in South Africa, its landscape and wildlife gave me the opportunity to nurture and become the person I am now.” Creativity is the energy which drives Dupont everyday as she does not care much about money or and fame, “I don’t care about being rich or famous, all I care and need is to have a marker in my hand and a piece of paper or a stone, or any surface in front of me to be constantly inspired and never lose this energy I feel inside. I just need to be surrounded by good people and nature to feel happy, if I weren’t my creativity would die and I couldn’t draw anymore.”
Creativity and passion is what drives these modern painters and London is the perfect place to find and know them. Let’s be inspired once more in this fantastic city, a cauldron of bursting creativity.
Edited by Sarah Huntington