This week, I’m talking about artist Gregory Manchess (www.manchess.com), one of those artists who seems to be able to fit into any genre. Whether it’s work for movies or television, books or magazines, or even just fine art, Manchess has a great ability to capture different ideas in interesting and exciting ways.
If you happen to see the latest National Geographic Magazine in the store (February 2008), you’re getting a look at Manchess’ work. Along with the cover, Manchess created artwork for the lead story, on the black pharaohs of Egypt.
Which leads me to my first point about Manchess’ art, his ability to capture historical accuracy within an otherwise loose palette. Manchess’ art has a certain “impressionistic” sense to it, with looser brush strokes and the idea that the viewer can fill in some of the details themselves. But within that, he is able to add enough fine detail (or the hint of it) that you get the feeling of the art being complete, as if this were just a painted version of reality by an artist right on the spot.
Manchess also is able to give nearly any scene the idea of action, of the scene being just a split second of whatever is happening. Part of that is in the brush style, but much of it is in the way that Manchess uses composition, color and lighting to give the sense that this scene is a moment from life, that life is in progress here and we’re getting a glimpse at it. Even in his still life work, it feels that there is action, and thus emotion, at play.
For me, Manchess reminds me every day that there are different ways to approach art. The image at the bottom here (from the Spectrum poster, “Something Wicked This Way Comes”) sits above my desk at work, and tells me that not only should I always explore different styles, but that with just a flick of the brush here or there any image can become fascinating. Manchess is a true artist, and one of my personal favorites.