2009/05/10

Fourfold Formline Folly

Again, I offer no apologies for the title of this blog post.

I've just posted four drawings to my deviantART gallery, my four best pieces from a class I took about a year ago, taught by artist Marvin Oliver. No, I didn't get his autograph, but I should have. :p

They are done in the formline style, developed by many native groups along the Northwest Coast of North America, such as the Tlingit and the Haida. A formline is a line that changes in width whenever it changes direction, and when you put a bunch of formlines together in certain ways, you get art that looks kind of like this:

Leaping Velociraptor, a naturalistic design. The silhouette more or less matches that of the actual animal. Not traditional at all, perhaps to the point of being offensive to some.

Baby Turtle, a configurative design. The silhouette is recognizable as that of the animal, but the parts are distorted stylistically. Fairly traditional.

Future of Frog, an expansive design. The parts of the animal are distorted to fill a geometric shape, but remain recognizable. Inspired by the current amphibian extinction crisis.

Salmon Box, a distributed design. The parts of the animal are rearranged to fill a geometric shape, ignoring anatomical relationships. This is a common approach in traditional art.

If you like this artwork, and you want to learn more about the cultural context in which the style was developed, please see the excellent book A Story as Sharp as a Knife: The Classical Haida Mythtellers and Their World by Robert Bringhurst. I guarantee that it will get you excited about Haida culture and myth, especially if you're into games or art. Be sure to check out the review I wrote for it if you need further convincing! ;)

7 comments:

nil said...

hey i really love these drawings
good job

axcho said...

Thank you! :)

adam said...

really nice job mate:] im looking for haida tattoo designs

axcho said...

Hey thanks. I don't know much about tattoo designs, but try talking to Xaadaas - he's a genuine Haida artist and it looks like he's taking commissions, so send him an email. :)

Krites said...

I own a MINI Cooper that I've named Raptor (it's British Racing Green and wonderfully quick). Would you be open to allowing me to use your raptor as a design on my (only my) car, in the "A" panel area?

jim at iswonk dawt org

axcho said...

Thanks for asking permission. Let's talk more about this. I've sent you an email.

sandcamp said...

These are great...don't stop!