Parallel World of Ben Kehoe
Murky illustrations of a parallel world a SUBstandard vision “as a source of constant self-amusement”
When I first saw the mystical illustrations of Ben Kehoe the feeling that I’ve got instantly took me back to the times of those huge beautiful books from childhood with amazing full page illustrations, with very little of written text in it, very much of highly detailed and well thought out work of an artist, really inspiring and even shocking, switching on the bright youthful imagination and eventually, giving the very first clear ideas of what is beautiful.
Mysterious characters of Ben’s works are surprisingly true, despite of their otherworldly nature. There is something touching and seems like something unsaid in in the gloomy haze of melancholy that permeates every drawing. The dusty palette of deep complex shades and the gently drawn contours of fairy figures are here to create the atmosphere of ghostly tale poised on the brink of dream and reality. Thus, the scenes and situations pictured are rather fantasized while the sappiness of really well thought out textures of wool, grasses and wood is almost touchable.
Characters of people, animals and fantastic creatures are a subject of applause. The author managed somehow to combine the clear, almost Van Gogh inspired simplicity of poses and expressions with a spectacular sense of surreal irony making the faces look deep and nonobvious. That intriguing complexity was something I’ve always admired about the book personages. The joy of finding countless shades and hundreds of new tiny details each time you look through once again carefully, just like in Ben’s works…
The scenes and compositions so complete and beautiful, you even want to reproduce them yourself by redrawing some particularly favorite characters on slightly yellow pages of your favorite drawing album… Once that was one of the favorite pleasures of mine.
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