The work of Alex Ross simultaneously appears to occupy both fantasy and reality.
Ross achieves this very real liveliness and vigour in part, through his use of reference models sometimes in full hero costume but often not; the connection to a human before him grounding him in reality, the 3D nature of that very interaction somehow works itself into the essence of his art. His characters exist outside of our expectations, outside of their costumes, outside of the canvas, even. Ross describes the introduction to the use of live models as a breakthrough moment in his career; “Before that I had no idea how much I could grow as a draftsman. It was a huge turning point, because all through school I hadn’t so much as drawn from photographs – I’d always thought that you had to make it all up out of your head, and that’s how you did ‘fantasy’ illustration.” Masterfully blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, Ross takes a medium traditionally equipped with two dimensions and gives it the illusion of a third; bringing a new perspective and style to comic book illustration that had never been realised in the genre previously. His talent is unique, his style inimitable, his use of light and shadow expert. The dramatic composition of his art commands your attention whilst his virtuosity in figural motion maintains it. There are few that can be likened to Ross for the sheer vivacity of his creations and few that can be attributed with changing the landscape of the genre in manner so befitting of the characters within it. Through his pages, covers and fine art, work by Alex Ross continues to be respected, admired and sought after. With his creations he certainly cements himself in history as one of the foremost image makers in comic book culture and indeed artistry itself.
On the one hand, he compels us to believe in the superhero ideology, his characters simply explode off the page, exquisitely capturing the essential thrill of a graphic novel, masterfully conveying the exhilaration of flight for Superman or deftly portraying the dark nobility of Batman. And yet, on the other hand, Ross’ heroes are given a very real human edge. No longer are these characters simply flight of fancy, they are men and women who could well walk amongst us. Ross is careful to pay particular attention to the human qualities that make up his characters, Superman’s integrity, Batman’s determination, informed by his own mantra that these men are not considered superheroes because they are strong or because they have special powers, but because they perform acts that look beyond themselves. Looking beyond the immediate is precisely what makes Ross’ work so accomplished and widely adored. It is confirmation of his incredible talent that he has been able to bring a fresh approach and perspective to well-known and well- established superheroes such as Batman and Superman. The chief distinction of Ross’ Dark Knight is being able to look Batman right in the eye. Avid fans of the classic comics will know previous illustrations merely hinted at the eye with glowing white slits, but so typical of Ross, this did not seem real enough. It did not bring Batman off the page, and so, he applied what has become his trademark style; suddenly Batman is transformed and invigorated.
Look! Up in the Sky! Giclée on Paper | 14” x 24” | Edition 295 Boxed Canvas | 23” x 40” | Edition 195
Superman: Man of Tomorrow Giclée on Paper | 28” x 15¾” | Edition 295 Boxed Canvas | 44” x 24½” | Edition 195
Superman Forever Giclée on Paper | 23½” x 17” | Edition 295 Boxed Canvas | 27½” x 40” | Edition 195
Grim Gargoyles Giclée on Paper | 23½” x 17” | Edition 295 Boxed Canvas | 40” x 27½” | Edition 195
Batman: Dark Knight Detective Giclée on Paper | 28” x 15¾” | Edition 295 Boxed Canvas | 44” x 24½” | Edition 195
Descent on Gotham Giclée on Paper | 16½” x 24” | Edition 295 Boxed Canvas | 27½” x 40” | Edition 195
Portfolio of Four Giclée on Paper Superman Forever, Look! Up in the Sky! , Grim Gargoyles, Descent on Gotham
Suite of Two Giclée on Paper Superman: Man of Tomorrow, Batman:Dark Knight Detective
Alex Ross is widely considered to be one of the most pre-eminent and well- respected comic book artists in the history of the field. Even as a three year old boy, he was regularly illustrating, replicating life as he saw it. Encouraged by his artist mother and admiring his ministerial father’s moral framework, Ross pursued his passion for drawing and quickly fell in love with the notion of superheroes. Colourful dynamic characters performing fantastic and heroic deeds for the greater good ignited a passion within him, and into his teens and early-adulthood he began to take his draftmanship more seriously; researching and admiring the work of comic book illustrators George Perez and Berni Wrightson before his education took him to the American Academy of Art, where he discovered and was influenced by the work of Salvador Dali, Norman Rockwell, Andrew Loomis and J. C. Leyendecker. It was these formative years and exposure to range of comic book illustrators, styles and contemporary artists that have nurtured, developed and shaped Ross’ natural talent such that he is now one of the most respected and admired comic book artists in the world, with more than 1,000 pages and covers for DC Comics and Marvel to his name. Masterfully blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, Ross takes a medium traditionally equipped with two dimensions and gives it the illusion of a third; bringing a new perspective and style to comic book illustration that had never been fully realised in the genre previously. His time at the American Academy of Art revealed to Ross his unique ability to draw photo-realistically, by eye – something his comic book art is now synonymous with. Working almost exclusively in watercolour gouache, Ross strives to make his work “fully believable”. Praised for his life-like human depictions, his rendering style, his attention to detail and composition, Ross is often referred to as the “Norman Rockwell of comics” – bringing the characters he draws to life, and imbuing them with a new energy and spirit, one might have seen Superman or Batman a hundred times, but one does not really know these characters until seeing them illustrated by Alex Ross. Ross’ inimitable style, his expert use of light and shadow, the dramatic composition and command of figural motion all make art by Alex Ross some of the most sought after across the comic book and fine art fields.
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The images contained within this literature are an artistic representation of the collection. To best experience our art, we recommend you contact your local gallery to arrange a viewing. © Washington Green 2014. The content of this brochure is subject to copyright and no part can be reproduced without prior permission.
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