Geof Darrow Part 1: "The Art of Attention"
Geof Darrow's art has made great contributions to both ‘sequential art’ and cinematic conceptual design. The success of his work is often misunderstood as being achieved by its abundance of what many refer to as ‘detail’. The term ‘detail’ is far too inclusive or inaccurate to be used to describe the quality of Darrow’s work that makes it great. Praising his work for the amount of ‘detail’ it possesses would be shallow praise, and it would overlook what is truly exceptional about Darrow’s work. Geof Darrow’s supreme qualities as an artist are his power of observation, the depth of his investigation, and his ability to translate his insights into art. What makes his work truly exceptional is Darrow’s practice of “the art of attention”.
Geof Darrow的作品在漫画和电影概念设计方面做出了巨大的贡献。他作品的成功往往被许多人误解成是因为丰富的“细节”。 “细节”一词并不能概况或准确地说明Geof Darrow作品优秀的原因。称赞他作品中拥有的大量“细节”，只是浅薄的夸奖，它会忽略了Geof Darrow作品中真正的非凡之处。Geof Darrow作为一个艺术家的至高素质是他的观察力，深度的调查，和他将所见转化为艺术作品的能力。使得他作品卓越的真正原因是Geof Darrow对于“专注的艺术”的实践。
Below are some examples of Darrow’s conceptual art from the Wachowskis' film series “The Matrix”. The art is a product of fantasy, and while it possesses ‘detail’, the art is not driven by a need to create quality by means of its quantity of marks. Instead, Darrow utilizes his years of observation, exploration, and investigation to inform the visual metaphors he is charged with communicating.
What differentiates Geof Darrow, as an artist, is the quality of the individual elements his designs possess. They do not weaken or distract from the meaning he is intending to convey as a whole, because of the intelligence he brings to the visual choices he makes.
The “used future” that was a hallmark of the film “Star Wars” in 1977, is one of the most misunderstood aesthetic concepts of modern visual design. ‘Detail’, in the work of the novice artist (and the mind of the incurious) depicts worn or broken objects that cannot be imagined as new or whole, and visual elements that assault the viewer without informing them. Geof Darrow's work has a truly unique capacity to enrich any viewer or student willing to investigate and acknowledge the level of ‘attention’ that informs it.
“二手未来”，这是1977年的电影“星球大战”的一个标志，是现代视觉设计中最容易被误解的美学概念之一。 “细节”，在新手艺术家（有着漠不关心的心态）的作品中被描绘成破旧的穿着或各种损坏到不行的物件。，视觉元素的对象没有让观众事先了解，导致看起来很不舒服。 Geof Darrow的作品有着真正独特的能力，它能让任何观众或学生愿意去仔细地查看并得到认可的“专注”水平。
If we all practiced “the art of attention” that Geof Darrow brings to his work, our own work would be better for it.
Geof Darrow Part 2: Heir to "Ligne Claire"
Darrow’s art displays a profound sensitivity to our modern surroundings, and how overwhelmingly complicated they have become. The visual quality of his artwork acknowledges the relentless nature of modern life and its constant bombardment of sensory stimuli. It is intellectually lazy to classify the complexity and density, present in some of Darrow’s storytelling imagery, as a shortcoming because it fails to abide by the modern belief in the sanctity of simplicity. Darrow’s ability to share his observations and idiosyncrasies, as well as his ability to conjure modern visual metaphors, allow his “ligne claire” work to transcend the twentieth century ideal of paternalism and formula at the expense of nuance and investigation.
While “ligne claire” master Hergé’s art and its ongoing significance, are both a source of celebration and lamentation, what is often overlooked is that his art’s value, as an essential touchstone for us today, is based largely on it being a portrait of the time and place in which it was created. Unfortunately, the popularity and influence of Hergé’s work has inadvertently codified “ligne claire”, as a method, and tethered it to Hergé’s voice as an artist. It is the work of Geof Darrow that has begun to liberate “ligne claire” through the international influences that inform his work, and his ability to examine the cultural landscape as it transitions into the twenty-first century.
It is fascinating to view Hergé’s work and his vision of the twentieth century, today. One can see how its simplicity can be a soothing respite from the twenty-first century and its many complexities(both visual and literal), and it is almost certain that this simplicity was equally soothing to an audience experiencing the horrors of the twentieth. It is similarly soothing for aspiring 'sequential artists' to adopt Hergé's established style and avoid the decades of struggle it took for Hergé to arrive at it.
What Darrow offers us now, is a much-needed affirmation of how our surroundings have changed in the age of industrialism. Darrow’s work allows us to examine a visual landscape teeming with mass-produced, complicated, and instantly disposable packaging and products, that(were they handmade) would surely provoke us to examine them. As Darrow creates visual facsimiles of them by hand, he enriches these objects and calls our attention to them.
The sum of these qualities make Geof Darrow the heir to “ligne claire”. His most compelling work yet is his ongoing series, “The Shaolin Cowboy”. Its trans-genre stream of consciousness narrative, creates mythic imagery inspired by everything from Shintaro Katsu’s “Zatoichi” to Sergio Leone’s Westerns.
If one is interested in exploring the relationship between Hergé's and Geof Darrow's work further, it might be helpful to begin by comparing "Les Adventures de Tintin" and "The Shaolin Cowboy". In particular, noting that both artists include a similar white animal sidekick that seems to always be a step ahead of the protagonist, and the different manner in which the two artists have used sharks as a metaphor in their stories.