god fucking damnit
god fucking damnit
Sci-Fi-O-Rama proudly present a very special feature on Chris Foss, as profiled by Jeff Love, owner and admin of the sublime Sci-Fi art blog Ski-ffy.
Born in 1946 in Guernsey, Channel Islands, Chris Foss is a British illustrator and a powerhouse of science fiction design and invention. His work is a celebration of future machinery, impossibly sized constructions exist on a planetary scale; a showcase of hardware so large that the human figure is dwarfed by comparison.
Arriving in the SF illustration field in the early 1970s, he is a cult figure, influential and universally admired. For British SF and SF art, his work can be seen as a catalyst; his prolific output was used abundantly in the UK paperback market, particularly by publishing houses like Panther, Coronet (Hodder & Stoughton) and Granada. Foss’ iconic paintings adorned the covers of American classics; E. E. Smith’s Lensman and Family d’Alembert series, reprints of the works of Asimov, James Blish and Philip K. Dick. These colourful scenes of gargantuan spacecraft, space-scenes and enormous robots not only influenced an entire school of imitators, but instilled a love of future-tech amongst several generations of science fiction fans.
His early life encouraged an interest in art, his endeavours with pencil won him a scholarship to a public school in Dorset. Exploration of the surrounding area yielded numerous influences; elements of post-war, semi-derelict, bombed-out buildings and shipyards can be seen in numerous examples of later work.
As a young man during the 1960s – by way of compromise – he found himself studying architecture at Cambridge University. His parents (both teachers) disapproved of his wishes to become a commercial artist. Finding architecture too drab a subject, Foss was reportedly something of an absentee student and by his second year he found himself providing strips of erotic artwork to Bob Guccione’s (later to publish OMNI) Penthouse magazine. The former being so impressed with the young artist that he put him on retainer to illustrate a Barbarella style strip.
Though he found steady work working for an architectural sculptor, the following years were not easy. After a few false starts whilst working various jobs to support himself, Foss career finally began to grow following an introduction to a design agency. Though he produced cover art for miscellaneous non-SF titles at first, this also included interior illustrations; careful line drawings for Alex Comfort’s The Joy Of Sex (1972) that showcased his talent as a varied and capable draughtsman. Meanwhile his reputation for skilfully depicting starships and future themes become so, that authors such as Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke would specifically ask for his work to be used on the covers of their novels.
As Foss’ name and portfolio grew, Hollywood called. Conceptual work followed for the planet Krypton (Richard Donner’s Superman – 1978) and early designs of the Leviathan and Nostromo spacecraft (Ridley Scott’s Alien – 1978) but perhaps most famous are his contributions to Alejandro Jodorowsky’s unrealised 1975 film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Science Fiction classic Dune.
It is as a cover artist, however, that Foss is best-known. His arrival and rise in popularity initiated something of a renaissance amongst publishing houses and art editors. Previously (particularly in the UK), paperback covers – more often than not – were one of two ways: utilizing (or re-using) artwork previously found on the covers of American novels, nebulous, bland patterns or photography that suggested space as a theme, but depicted very little. There were exceptions of course, but Foss’ creations surely motivated on two fronts: in the eyes of the book buying public, as well as that of the publishers and art editors who had on their hands a skilful demonstration of the importance of jacket design, proof – if any were needed – that books can sell solely on the merit of the cover.
A new wave of artists soon followed in his footsteps as publishers sought artwork similar in tone and execution, similarly talented, wielding airbrushes. Not to diminish their talents: Tim White, Chris Moore, Peter Jones and Angus McKie’s early works often bear more than a passing resemblance, each frequently mistaken for the other, though each developed into their own, individual and recognizable artists in their own right. However, unlike the majority of his contemporaries, Foss is not a fan of SF, and as such did not read the books his was commissioned to illustrate jackets for. Scenes are rendered entirely from the imagination and as such do not illustrate scenes found inside novels. In this sense they can be seen as vague, or meaningless abstraction – but serve the purpose of creating interest in the books they appear on very well. The attraction is the technology; art for art’s sake.
Foss’ legacy is a body of work that informs us that in regards to fantastical spacecraft, elegance in appearance is not strictly necessary. Spacefaring vehicles could be as floating cathedrals, organic, asymmetrical leviathans as large as the imagination might allow. His visualisations of space hardware show incredible attention to detail: behemoths with scale reinforced by scatterings of pinpricks of light. Rejecting the needle-pointed, aerodynamic and militaristic rocket shapes established by pulp heroes, he opted instead for enormous and colourful industrial vessels, floating relics rendered with a weight of authenticity; free from the restrictions of mass in a vacuum.
Foss’ vessels may be enormous, but space is always bigger.
Many, many Thanks to Jeff Love for this bloody brilliant article! be sure to check out his blog http://ski-ffy.blogspot.co.uk
To read up more about Foss please check the following articles:
And finally If your interested in the very latest from Chris Foss himself check his site: chrisfossart.com
A24 has released the second official trailer for their upcoming sci-fi thriller film Ex Machina (previously) directed by Alex Garland, the writer of 28 Days Later and Sunshine. The trailer features young coder Caleb Smith blindly falling for the beautiful artificially intelligent robot named Ava. Smith quickly goes from being the tester to being tested. It’s currently scheduled to arrive in theaters on April 10, 2015.
Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson), a programmer at an internet-search giant, wins a competition to spend a week at the private mountain estate of the company’s brilliant and reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac). Upon his arrival, Caleb learns that Nathan has chosen him to be the human component in a Turing Test—charging him with evaluating the capabilities, and ultimately the consciousness, of Nathan’s latest experiment in artificial intelligence. That experiment is Ava (Alicia Vikander), a breathtaking A.I. whose emotional intelligence proves more sophisticated––and more deceptive––than the two men could have imagined.
— Ex Machina (@ExMachinaMovie) March 20, 2015
image via Ex Machina
Want to see one day.
I spent 4 nights outside of Fairbanks in February – two of those nights were entirely overcast and not a light could be seen. The other two nights were electrifying. I stood outside for hours – shooting and gazing in awe at the orchestral dance above and around me. I felt more awake than ever during those moments. I hope my interpretation in images portrays that feeling.
photos by Alexis Coram
The women are the strong ones, truly.
In the remarkable time-lapse video “Dubai Flow Motion” by photographer Rob Whitworth, Dubai is explored in a series of frenetic, seamlessly linked time-lapses. The video covers the length and breadth of Dubai, including the baggage sorting system of the Dubai International Airport, the interior of the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building), and the tanks of the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.
submitted via Laughing Squid Tips
A mother who goes by the handle Unicornreality on Imgur recently used a makeup app to give her newborn son a virtual makeover with some hilarious results. The photos show the young boy with varying levels of digitally inserted makeup, fake eyelashes, and wigs to give him looks that range from to cute to downright unsettling.
images via Unicornreality
via Bored Panda
"QUANTUM SHOT" #892 |
Link - article by Avi Abrams
Long time ago (in the 1970s), in a Galaxy far far away (well, actually, in France),
two space pilots (Valérian and Laureline) were battling the forces of Evil
One of the most interesting developments in European cultural life of the 1970s was the rise of baroque, intricate, sophisticated comic art tradition, and a veritable Golden Age of science fiction comic art in particular, led by such French magazines as "Metal Hurlant", "Pilote" and "Pif" ("Metal Hurlant" was later replicated in America as "Heavy Metal" magazine). This explosion of highly-detailed, almost Art Nouveau-ish, comic masterpieces has been gracing European news stands for most of the 1970s and 1980s - including ground-breaking work by legendary Moebius, Spanish artist Esteban Maroto (specializing in sensual heroic fantasy) and later by Argentine artist Juan Gimenez, of the "Metabarons" fame - who routinely came up with some of the most beautiful space adventure images ever put on paper by anyone.
(art by Jean-Claude Mézières)
Today, however, we will concentrate on French science fiction comics series Valérian and Laureline (info), created by writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières - whose work influenced not only famous French movie directors (Luc Besson and his "Fifth Element"), but also - oh boy... George Lucas himself and production design for his "Star Wars" original trilogy.
Check out the shape of Valerian and Laureline spaceship - this was an admitted prototype for the "Millennium Falcon", first drawn out back in the 1960s:
There are more parallels with "Star Wars" that we care to mention here (even famous American scifi artist Frank Kelly Freas admitted that the French series was full of "so many stealable ideas..."), but the original tradition of Space Opera in the grand old manner of Edmond Hamilton and Leigh Brackett (and don't forget Jack Vance!) gave birth to many 1970s-styled space adventures, "Star Wars" being only a part of a much bigger genre. French space comics of this period belong to a more elegant, sexy, sophisticated kind of grand space epics - somewhat exemplified by the "Barbarella" movie, Italian Druuna graphic novels, and by the Japanese "Space Adventure Cobra" manga series. There was plenty of good story-telling and style/fashion galore, wrapped into a galaxy-spanning romp with a slightly decadent twist.
We already covered some of the 1950s-1970s British, Japanese and Russian science fiction artists, and when we speak about French SF art, work of Jean-Claude Mézières deserves a closer look, even though it was not of the same calibre as surreal art by Moebius, it was detailed and inspired enough to influence many creative visionaries of the 1970s, including George Lucas.
If you find these flying taxicabs vaguely familiar, that's because they were later included in the "Fifth Element" movie by Luc Besson:
France in the 1970s had a very special love affair with space adventure style, not in the least aided by epic electronic music by Jean-Michel Jarre and Didier Marouani of "Space" pop group. Valérian and Laureline comics series fit quite well with this soundtrack:
Valérian and Laureline experienced many adventures in and out of space and time together, most of which fall into a familiar "quest and rescue" pattern, but others going on wild tangents in alternate worlds with elements of heroic fantasy and steampunk thrown in for good measure. Some of the episodes feel kinda like Alan Burt Akers' (pseud. of Kenneth Bulmer) installments of Dray Prescott "sword & planet" series, still very popular in Europe (the latest installments in this series are published only in German translation, and were never published in English) - while others remind me of "Dr. Who" British franchise.
In any case, visually these stories are a treat - and today, with the proliferation of often-generic and cheap-looking computer art, this warm hand-drawn "analog" approach gives a reader much better appreciation for "Wonder of the Spaceways", in my humble opinion:
Baroque spaceships (complete with ghost-ridden halls and gargoyles sticking out into the void of space) feature in many "Valérian and Laureline" episodes, being a major influence on "Metabarons" by Juan Gimenez later in the 1990s:
In future articles we will have a look at other French space comic art from "Pilote" and "Pif" magazine, a beautiful, stylish vision of the future which cares for how it looks, feels and fashions itself - not losing the sensibilities of Art Nouveau and turn-of-the-century Paris, but relishing and preserving them:
Article by Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend.
READ THE REST OF OUR "FUTURISM & SCIFI ART" SERIES! ->
Fashion designers, models, and other luminaries at New York Fashion Week are shown posing with bouncing fuzzy creatures in the thoroughly odd animated GIF portraits of motion designer John McLaughlin. McLaughlin has been recruiting people to pose with the “Fuzzy Dude” at various Fashion Week events. The project started as an experiment with hair rendering in Cinema 4D, but now McLaughlin is using it to raise awareness for the nonprofit organization Champions Against Bullying.
Fuzzy Dude with models at the JOYRICH presentation
Fuzzy Dude with actress Zosia Mamet
Fuzzy Dude with a model at the Sandy Liang presentation
Fuzzy Dude with model Julia Restoin Roitfeld
GIFs by John McLaughlin
Prayer nuts are small spherical wooden objects that can be opened to reveal remarkably ornate relief carvings of biblical events. Prayer nuts served as a kind of luxury Rosary bead for pious (and wealthy) Northern Europeans during the 16th century. The objects are now rare and reside in a few museums around the world, including the British Museum in London, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and one particularly handsome fellow at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. For those in the market for a prayer nut, Sotheby’s recently auctioned one for £133,250–which comes out to $205,000.
photos via British Museum
The Sant Antoni de la Pobla bonfire festival is an annual three-day celebration that takes place in the Gràcia neighborhood of Barcelona each winter. The festival began in 1992, but is based on a much older festival from the island of Majorca. The Barcelona version features traditional music, performances, and food from both Majorca and Catalonia. The festival culminates in a night of bonfires and a spectacular procession of costumed revelers. The 2015 festival took place in the end of January.
False spring here is still beautiful
Genko-an Temple (Kyoto,JAPAN)
I swear.... this guy.
REAL LIFE DISNEY PRINCE TOM HIDDLESTON EXHIBIT
I adore him.
My biggest role model
I never got why SO MANY females swoon over him, many of my friends list him as their #1 celebrity crush but glimpsing this bit of his intelligent, compassionate, romantic personality (Even if it may be glorified PR persona or REALLY good game with the ladies) I finally get it a little.
Wow, respect for the cosplay diversity while still observing her traditions.
so happy these ladies and these pictures exist
Ah I love this!
Noctiluca scintillans, a species of bioluminescent plankton, illuminated a stretch of coastline near Hong Kong yesterday in a stunning display that was captured in long exposure photos by photographer Kin Cheung. Unfortunately, as The Atlantic reports, the glowing bloom is caused by farm pollution. The plankton is also known as “Sea Sparkle.”
Mario Wienerroither (previously) of the DIGITALOFEN audiobakery recently stripped all the music out of the music video for Sia‘s song “Elastic Heart” featuring Shia LaBeouf and Maddie Ziegler. Wienerroither then dubbed over the music video with all sorts of crazy sounds and voices.
Sia’s original music video for comparison: