This exhibition, curated by John Cockshaw, features a 12 minute short film, which takes inspiration from elements of the graphic novel and the tradition of the ‘Photo-roman’. While these influences shape The Sign of the Shining Beast up to a point, the biggest element of its development was in collaboration with Author Robert S. Malan who fleshed out a poetic and novelistic first-person narration for the video.
The collection of exhibited prints by a diverse range of international artists and illustrators delve deeply into the source writing of Tolkien to create unique responses to visualising Middle-earth and fascinating interpretations of the exhibition brief. The Art of Soni Alcorn-Hender, Tomas Hijo, Tsvetelina Krumova – Elmenel, Ted Nasmith, Katarzyn Chmiel-Gugulska and John Cockshaw will be accompanied by exhibition notes from guest contributors Marcel Aubron-Bülles (TheTolkienist.com) and Archaeologist Shaun Richardson. Scholarly analysis will be made between the Art on show and JRR Tolkien’s source writing, and there will also be surprising connections made to the cinematic adaptations of Tolkien’s sagas in a collection of prints that take influence from Author and Musicologist Doug Adams’ film music analysis of The Lord of the Rings Films.
John is a North Yorkshire-based artist and alumni of Sheffield Hallam University (BA Hons Fine Art and Mres in Art and Design 2002, 2003). His Tolkien-inspired art has been exhibited at events in Oxford organised by The Tolkien Society, Sarehole Mill in Birmingham, with the Sociedad Tolkien Española in Seville, HobbitCon in Germany and more recently at NazgulCon in Sao Paolo, Brazil. In December 2014 John curated an exhibition of international Tolkien-inspired artists at Curzon Ripon Arts/Cinema venue in North Yorkshire. He is currently involved in collaborative publishing projects with Oloris Publishing and Luna Press Publishing, the first of which will be released in the summer of 2015.
Soni (pronounced ‘Sunny’) goes by the alias of Bohemian Weasel and is a British artist living and working in Portugal. A graduate of illustration from the Art School in Glasgow, Soni has made her name through a whole host of illustration work, commissions, shared and solo exhibitions. The works of JRR Tolkien are particularly close to her heart and her drawings based on The Lord of the Rings paved the way to working for companies such as Topps and Cryptozoic as an official trading card illustrator. The striking phrase ‘luminous aestheticism’ is the best descriptor for Soni’s varied output.
Tomás Hijo teaches illustration at the Fine Arts School of the University of Salamanca in Spain and has illustrated around 60 books, many of which have been for children. He has his own publishing house: Tatanka Books and admits to having “no formal education in art, but I got into the business and things went in the right direction, I guess.” His print work inspired by JRR Tolkien uses traditional working methods and results in imagery so detailed and striking you will immediately be caught under its spell. Tomás’ work is exhibited widely and collected by Tolkien fans the world over – and most recently by Richard Taylor of WETA workshop in New Zealand.
Katarzyna Chmiel-Gugulska lives and works in Warsaw and has been working as an illustrator since 1993. With over 70 books to her name as illustrator (from fantasy to children’s classics) she regularly exhibits her works at various conventions and once represented Poland in “The Images of Middle-earth” exhibition. Her works are her tribute to her favourite character – Boromir, the least appreciated protagonist of The Lord of the Rings. She is interested in relations between characters, private scenes, emotions and dilemmas.
A graphic designer and Artist based in Newcastle, Jay is an internationally known figure in Tolkien-inspired art through his appearances at the most well-known conferences and conventions the world has to offer. His Tolkien work is in the collection at the Greisinger Museum in Switzerland, and in the collections of may esteemed and ardent fans. His approach to his Tolkien inspired art is to study religious manuscripts, icon and fresco illustration from the medieval periods. He takes elements of iconography and works with traditional techniques to produce art that could have been made in the valleys of Middle-earth or in the libraries of Minas Tirith.
Tsvetelina Krumova – Elmenel
A calligrapher, artist and graphic designer, Tsvetelina is well versed in the works of JRR Tolkien not least in her translation and research work for the Bulgarian edition of The Lord of the Rings. She has taught at the Art School Ginza in Tokyo as European Calligraphy and Drawing teacher in addition to undertaking freelance illustration and graphic design work. Her “Parma Eldaliéva” project focuses on the writing systems JRR Tolkien shared with his readers through his books and has been her personal passion for the past 15 years.
Ted Nasmith is one of the leading international artists creating paintings inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Among the admirers of his work is Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings films. He has illustrated the official Tolkien calendar on many occasions and has created cover artwork for paperbacks of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
Robert S. Malan
Rob is a writer, reviewer and freelance editor. He is a passionate advocate of story telling across various media formats and currently working on multiple projects to be released from 2016 onwards.
Founding chairman of the German Tolkien Society, Marcel holds the reputation of being one of Europe’s most respected guest speakers on the subject of Tolkien. He is also freelance writer and interpreter.
Leeds-based Archaeologist Shaun Richardson was a speaker at Archaeology Day 2013 (South Yorkshire Archaeology Service) in relation to the Castle Markets site and the site of Sheffield Castle. As a keen appreciator of Art, landscape and JRR Tolkien, Shaun made a perfect and quite intriguing choice of scholar to collaborate with and contribute to this exhibition project. Shaun has also provided an introduction to John Cockshaw’s Art volume ‘Wrath, Ruin and a Red Nightfall’ published by Oloris Publishing in 2015.