Tim is a consummate illustrator who is very well-known, though most people may not know his name. He does work as a court sketch artist producing drawings that often illustrate the seedier side of life; his work often appears on the news or in the local paper. He currently is exhibiting his work at Mrs Harris’ shop located in Thebarton. The exhibition is titled “Off the Page” and features his work along with Deborah Baldassi His style draws heavily on an illustrative tradition with bold outlines and watercolor fills. His strength lies in his ability to capture the moment in time; be it now or thousands of years ago. Tim also works in amateur theatre and is an art teacher (where I met him). He is a witty personality with a quirky sense of humour which comes through in much of his work.
“Conan” was completed in 2010 as an illustration for a comic book. It describes the moment in time when the muscular figure of Conan a Marvel comic book character jumps from the deck of one ship to another much to the terror and dismay of those who oppose him. With a shield held close to his chest and sword in his hand he is drawn into the fray. His intense piercing eyes reflect stalwart concentration. The faces within this work have been rendered to exhibit expression. Textural detail has been applied to provide visual interest and dark and light tones upon the smooth shapes serve help to lead the eye about the work. Contrasting elements highlight the action and dynamic movement. I really enjoy the composition of this work shapes have been used to lead the eye; examples include the down pointed sword and pointed helmet. Rounded curves soften the dynamic movement and allow the eye to rest. This work is created for a select audience who understands the barbarian nature of the Conan character. His brash, dominating strength is exhibited in this work.
“Wyvern” is an illustration for a book on mythical creatures. A large green dragon is perched on a rock while two intrepid adventurer sneak up on the incredible creature; though their dog is somewhat lacking in bravery. In the distance we can see a thick foreboding forest with a small township lying beyond.
The textural components in this work along with the colour serve to capture the imagination of the viewer and intensify the action. Water colour and pen and ink highlight the line work and textural components in this piece.
I enjoy the humorous inclusion of the little dog as it provides an interesting aspect to the piece. Black line work; as a tool in illustration, serves to bring a greater contrast to sections of the work so the viewer is better able to notice them. They were possibly at one time a necessary element to book illustrations because of the methods of reproducing images in the past. I suppose that now in the digital age this black line element is largely aesthetic.
Tom the outback mailman is a children’s book that Tim Ide has illustrated and is a storybook highlighting a real life outback character; Tom Kruse. Known as the Birdsville Mailman, he delivered mail and other supplies to a wide region of the outback from 1936 until 1957. The story of his two-week road trips was captured in a 50’s documentary Back of Beyond, putting him on the national stage. Tim Ide has brilliantly captured the colours and characters in the Australian Outback. Above is the cover artwork with the rich blue of the outback sky captured with the use of acrylics. The varied ethic groups of the outback are represented along with the truck, “The Badger”. All of the illustrations have an intimacy and typical Aussie humour about them.
Jack “the dogger” is one illustration contained within with Tom and Jack sharing a meal cooked on a shovel with dingo skins drying in the background.
The illustration style of Ide is one which embraces traditional methods, yet incorporates the reality of life in the bush. His direct line work and water-colour washes all serve to compliment the bright washed out colours of the outback.
This exhibition is open on Saturdays and Sundays throughout October 11:00am – 3:00pm
Tim Ide webpage
Ross Morgan is a multi-award winning artist whose studio is located in Adelaide Arcade. His work is surreal and illustrative. I first came upon his work during SALA.His inspiration comes from children’s book illustrators and film. He is a serendipitous painter who works in a stream of consciousness, where ach one of his works flows into the next and thus a story is perpetuated. I have chosen only a small selection of his paintings to describe here, though there are many more that go off on various tangents. His characters embark on a myriad of adventures crossing over into different genres and mediums. It is the story that fascinates me when I look at Ross Morgan’s work.
“Elephant on Skates”, 2011 is an elephant on bright red roller skates. One of the first in this series it describes an elephant performing in a circus. The centre ring is formed with red and yellow squares and the elephant performs; raising its trunk and lifting its leg. Yet in the background and on the circus floor there are faded blue prints of mechanical contraptions that speak of grand designs and distant dreams. The contrasting elements that Morgan has used in this work stabilise the form of the elephant in the space. Dark and light tones serve to give the animal weight. The cream background is softened with white creating a dusty ethereal air. The elephant is a cumbersome animal and looks awkward on roller skates. Yet with its raised trunk and happy looking smile it seems content enough.
“Storm Carnivale”, 2010 describes a time when tragedy strikes as the circus burns down and, the elephant is rescued by a young lady. She is dressed in a plain dress with a red jumper. Draped around her shoulders is a tattered shawl. Yet there is still a hint of a carnival lifestyle in her stripped socks. Her red shoes hint at Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz; wanting to be home. She carries the elephant in a bird-cage and protects herself from the oncoming storm with a large umbrella. The circus is still and silent in the distance, its vibrant colours now silenced. A vicious storm looms above the pair as they venture forth. With a bright light from the heavens on her face the woman’s gaze is held to the sky and the great beyond. The surrealistic symbolism of a woman rescuing the elephant in a small cage takes on a new meaning when we discover that the woman is in fact Ross Morgan’s wife. The hand with which she holds the elephant bares a ring. She is taking her newly rescued pet to another land. They wish to escape and though surrounded by storms there is a light in the distance. She protects her new companion; sheltered with an umbrella they journey off to new horizons.
The woman happens upon a magician who is also an inventor. One of his fantastic inventions is a magical red box that imparts objects placed within it with wings. This painting; “Baby Winged Elephant”; 2012, describes the moment when the rescued elephant emerges from the box, ready to fly off to adventures in another place. The red box is bold and vibrant. This work also utilises contrasting elements to impart interest with organic forms placed with geometric lines. Dark tones again give the object weight.
In this work the elephant is shown reborn, young and youthful after emerging from the red box, it seems to almost hatch like a butterfly from a cocoon. New wings open for the first time and it must learn the extent to which it can use them.
The magic of the box is applied to many other animals with different results. Such as this work which is titled “Volatilis Reptile Proprius”, 2012. Here we see a lizard transformed with the wings of a dragonfly. Presumably it might have also hatched from the red box. It is shown on a white surface as if it were a specimen in a museum collection of oddities. The lizard is curled up and dried with a purple and blue shadow in the background highlighting its form on the white surface.
Ross Morgan’s work is interesting and whimsical and I am sure the story will continue. I cannot wait to see the next instalment. In the tradition of illustrative artists such as Sean Tan, Ross Morgan’s work tells a story; in many ways it can be viewed as autobiographical (as most art can be) and allows you, the viewer to escape into a pleasant world of imagery. Please take the time to visit him in his studio
Ross Morgan’s website