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5 Paintings Inspired By Famous Literature

1- The Dreams in the Witch House, Kim Prisu (2016)

“The Dreams in the Witch House” as shown at Kim Prisu Gallery

Art enthusiasts have come to expect dark colours and large creatures when viewing depictions of Lovecraftian horrors. But Kim Prisu's painting of H.P. Lovecraft's lesser-known Dreams in the Witch House is full of vibrant colour and dynamic shapes. This suits the dream-like story whose main villains are the souls of Salem witch Keziah and her pet rat, Brown Jenkin. With iconography depicting the notorious Cthulhu and death itself, the contemporary artist perfectly portrays the fear and anxiety surrounding witchcraft and cannibalism seen in Lovecraft's work. You can see more of Prisu’s art on his website.

2- Dubling, Elida Tessler (2010)

IN TRANSITION exhibition of “Dubling”

Presented at the IN TRANSITION exhibition with the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO), Dubling is an art display based on James Joyce's novel Ulysses. A pivotal work for the modernist movements, Joyce's novel explores themes of Irish nationalism, human thought, and the search for paternity (among many others), through structural comparisons with the classical work The Odyssey. The contemporary artist Elida Tessler used 4311 glass bottles, postcards, and corks to create a piece representing the primary setting of the novel, the River Liffey. Written on the postcards and corks are gerunds found in Ulysses. While the art piece is no longer on display, art enthusiasts can still enjoy this piece through pictures on CIFO's website.

3- After "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue, Jeff Wall (1999-2000)

“After ‘Invisible Man’ by Ralph Ellison the Prologue” by Jeff Wall | displayed at the MOMA

As the photo’s title suggests, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man inspired the Canadian artist Jeff Wall. Published in 1953, Invisible Man is a pivotal piece of African-American literature, depicting the life of an unnamed black man. Wall’s photo references the book's prologue, capturing the narrator sitting under 1369 light bulbs as he reflects on his place in American society: “I am invisible, understand,” the narrator explains, “simply because people refuse to see me.” While it's set in Harlem, both the novel and photo serve as vital social commentary on racial tensions in North America. The image, along with others from Wall's collections, is on display at the Museum of Modern Art's virtual gallery, a place of honour for all Canadian artists.

4- Mad Tea Party, Salvador Dalí (1969)

“Mad Tea Party” by Salvador Dalí

Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland is a 19th-century children's classic. The imaginative setting and meandering plot have inspired countless artistic adaptations. Given Salvador Dalí's intensely surrealist style, it's not surprising that he was one of the many inspired by Carroll's text. Of the 12 paintings he created, the one with most of the hallmarks of Dalí’s style is the Mad Tea Party. Featuring the iconic melting clock, a delicate white tea set, and a vibrant red tree in the centre, Dalí expertly merges his artistic style with the absurd logic of Wonderland. In 2015, Princeton University Press published a special 150th-anniversary edition of Alice in Wonderland featuring all 12 of Dalí's Wonderland pieces. A paperback edition is still available for purchase if you’re a fan of both Alice in Wonderland and Dalí.

5- The Domain of Arnheim, Rene Margitte (1962)

“The Domain of Arnheim” by Rene Margitte

This tranquil painting is based on a short story of the same name by Edgar Allen Poe. While it's one of Poe's lesser-known works, The Domain of Arnheim uses nature as a metaphor for perfecting the human mind. Just as the short story acts as a tour guide through the fictional landscape of Arnheim, Rene Magritte's artwork brings to life the scenic mountainscape that "reflects the supreme majesty and dignity of the poetic sentiment". While the limited colour palette creates a calming and majestic landscape, the surrealist elements add a touch of whimsy to the piece; the top of the mountain shows the head of a bird, a nod to the German definition of the word Arnheim, which means "home of the eagle."

Created on: Sept. 27, 2023, 2:03 a.m.

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The Art Of Fantasy Novels: Book Cover Artists To Discover

The old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is an odd saying; how else will a book draw your attention when walking through a store? Well-constructed book covers give potential readers an idea about what the book might be about, or even its genre. There’s no mistaking a book that has a person wielding fire with their hands on the cover for being a nonfiction book. Sure, the book might have elements of other genres present, but it’s probably safer to assume that it’s a fantasy novel. Here are five contemporary artists and the amazing fantasy book covers they have created:

Ivan Belikov

Source: (From left to right) “The Priory of the Orange Tree” book cover; “Gorynych” from the artist’s website; “A Day of Fallen Night” book cover

Ivan Belikov is a Russian-born contemporary artist based in London, England whose works are heavily inspired by myth and folklore. Belikov produced original art for clients like Nike and Riot Games (League of Legends), as well as publishing companies like Bloomsbury and HarperCollins. He created the covers for Samantha Shannon’s Roots of Chaos series (The Priory of the Orange Tree, A Day of Fallen Night, and an announced to-be-named third book). While the covers for these books are fantastic in and of themselves, the design does not stop at the front cover, it wraps around the side and back of the books as well to deliver stunning visual artistry.

You can find Ivan on his website, on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Charlie Bowater

Source: (From left to right) “Skyward” book cover; “Needle and Thread” from the artist’s website; “Bone Crier’s Moon” book cover

Charlie Bowater is an artist based in the United Kingdom who creates an incredible amount of book covers for a wide range of authors and publishing companies. Her resumé includes publishing houses like Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Bloomsbury. Alongside creating book covers, Bowater creates concept and marketing art for video games, illustrations for magazines, and editorial work for writers. She has created covers for multiple New York Times best-selling authors, including, Brandon Sanderson (Skyward series), Sarah J Maas (original covers for A Court of Thorns and Roses series), Margaret Rogerson (Sorcery of Thorns, Vespertine, An Enchantment of Ravens), and co-authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Aurora Rising series), among others. Bowater’s unique style is immediately recognizable and proof that book cover designs are a great way to discover art and the artists behind them.

You can find Charlie on her website, Twitter, and Instagram.

Corey Brickley

Source: (From left to right) “Immortal Longings” book cover; “Interior 2” from the artist’s website; “The Taking of Jake Livingston” book cover

Corey Brickley is an American artist, working as an illustrator and illustration teacher at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Their resumé includes Netflix (for the documentary series Wild Wild Country), publishers like Penguin, Macmillan, HarperCollins, and magazines like the New York Times, among others. Brickley is a contemporary artist working in a digital format and exploring surrealism and visual juxtaposition in their professional and original art. Brickley has created mesmerizing covers for several fantasy horror novels, including Rose Szabo’s What Big Teeth You Have, and Ryan Douglass’ The Taking of Jake Livingston. Brickley also created the cover for Chloe Gong’s upcoming title Immortal Longings, the first book in a new series that retells the story of William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.

You can find Corey on Instagram, Twitter, and their Debut Art profile.

Tran Nguyen

Source: (From left to right) “Six Crimson Cranes” book cover; “Chartreuse Strolling” from the artist’s website; “The Dragon’s Promise” book cover

Tran Nguyen is a Vietnamese-born visual artist based in the United States with an incredibly impressive resumé. Her clients range from publishing companies (Tor Books, Penguin Random House, Knopf, and HarperCollins), to multimedia giants like Netflix and Wizards of the Coast (Dungeons & Dragons), among many others. She has created covers both for young-adult and adult fantasy series, such as, Elizabeth Lim’s Six Crimson Cranes series and Spin the Dawn series, as well as Wesley Chu’s The Art of the Prophecy and Katrina Leno’s Horrid and You Must Not Miss. Nguyen’s works also include her 2021 solo exhibit titled Remedy displayed at the Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles, California, as well as the 2020 group exhibit House of the Rising Light from the Dorothy Circus Gallery in London and Rome which showcased 42 artists, all with cultural roots in Asia.

You can find Tran on Instagram, and her website.

Carlos Quevedo

Source: (From left to right) “Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood” book cover; “Anatema” from the artist’s website; “House of Sky and Breath” book cover

Hailing from Colombia, Carlos Quevedo is a contemporary artist with a degree in Graphic Design. With a resumé that includes publishing companies like Random House, Bloomsbury, and Scholastic Press, Quevedo has created covers for authors like Sarah J Maas (Crescent City series), Daniel A. Reyes (The Essences), John Patrick Kennedy (Not Everything Dies and Mother of Chaos), and Nafiza Azad (The Candle and the Flame). He has also had his work featured in the UK editions of magazines, like Advanced Photoshop and Photoshop Creative, among others. Though currently working as a full-time cover designer, he publishes his original art on his website.

You can find Carlos on Instagram, and his website.

Do you have any favourite book cover artists, either in the fantasy genre or other? Let us know!

Created on: Sept. 20, 2023, 8:01 a.m.

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5 Art Installations In Canada Everyone Should See

You may miss some of Canada’s most iconic art installations if you’re unsure where to look. Although there are a plethora of installations—temporary and permanent—that we could have mentioned, we have narrowed down a list of 5 specific permanent installations across Canada. This way you can be confident they’ll be there for your potential future visit. And while you may enjoy looking at the pictures of each art installation, it is nothing like seeing their wonder in person.

‘Rising’ by Zhang Huan

#5 ‘Rising’ by Zhang Huan

This wondrously imaginative sculpture is located outside the Shangri-La in Toronto, Ontario. It was created by Chinese artist Zhang Huan and consists of stainless steel doves atop large, winding branches and vines. The installation appears to be crawling up the side of the building, with doves resting and taking flight. The sculpture captures the vision of Zhang Huan by depicting the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature.

‘Wonderland’ by Jaume Plensa

#4 ‘Wonderland’ by Jaume Plensa

This massive sculpture of a human head sits outside The Bow in Calgary, Alberta. The sculpture is 12 meters tall and was constructed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa using bent wire. You can enter the wire head through two entrances on each side of the neck and stare up at the structure from inside. The artist claims that he wished to play with the idea of bodies and architecture when he created the installation. The sculpture is a striking focal point for The Bow and is a must-see art installation in Calgary.

‘Maman’ by Louise Bourgeois

#3 ‘Maman’ by Louise Bourgeois

This bronze spider sculpture sits outside the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. The spider’s spindly legs rise high into the air and loom over everyone passing by. The underbelly of the spider holds a sack of marble eggs. The sculpture is both eerie and whimsical; a truly astounding sight as you enter, or pass by, the museum. Maman, which translates to ‘mother’, is an ode to Louise Bourgeois’s mother. It is meant to represent themes of weaving, nurturing, and protecting. The artist Louise Bourgeois is known for her large-scale art installations and ‘Maman’ proves why!

'People Waiting’ by John Hooper

#2 'People Waiting’ by John Hooper

These wooden sculptures sit—or rather, stand—on a street corner in Saint John, New Brunswick. The sculptures are of a group of cartoon-like people waiting for a fictional bus. The sculptures have been there for nearly 50 years, created by Canadian artist John Hooper in 1977. These colourful, life-sized sculptures have been a fixture of Saint John’s art scene for decades. So, if you can make time to visit Saint John, make sure to get a picture with these life-like figures.

Les Passages Insolites

#1 Les Passages Insolites

This art walk in Quebec City comprises a plethora of contemporary and interactive art installations. As you traverse the path, you will be confronted with an array of wondrous, wistful, and weird art installations by many different Canadian artists and non-Canadian artists. Each piece has its own unique identity and artistic flair, so there is something for everyone. Thus, it is a must-see destination for all art lovers and art enthusiasts across Canada.


Created on: Sept. 13, 2023, 11:33 p.m.

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