Twentysixteen - A year in art

As 2016 comes to an end, it is time to look back on a year that has been crazy like a rollercoaster. Instead of focussing on all the negative and political things that happened during this year, I want to focus on the art side of 2016. Because, if you ask for my little unimportant opinion, 2016 has been a great year for the art community and art in general. 

Therefore, I want to highlight some of the years artwork and artists that I discovered/spoke tome/impressed me as well as take a look back at my own artistic year and a very daring look into 2017. 



Sequential Art



The Movies

This year a lot of really big movies came out. Lots and lots and lots of Comicbook-Movies, but also a good chunk of original content found it's way onto the big screen. I should mention I only saw a few of them in theatre, but I have a lot more on my bucket list. Might contain spoilers.



Arrival

Courtesy of FilmNation Entertainment
If you could only see one movie in 2016, this is the movie to choose. Based on the Nebula Award-winning short story "The story of your life" by Ted Chiang, this is one of the movies that took a risk. In between all the science fiction action movies that have come out lately, here's a quiet little film that challenges your brain. 

Without going into details, because it's better to go into this movie without too much knowledge, this is a film about communicating with Aliens rather than killing them. 

Brilliantly directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Enemy), beautifully shot by Bradford Young (formerly documentary filmer) and superbly acted by Amy Adams and cast, this movie is a masterpiece.

Courtesy of FilmNation Entertainment
I can't find a flaw in this movie and both my buddy and I were floored at the end of it, taking a deep breath in our seats. As mentioned this gem challenges the mind in a way we haven't seen in a long time and it's all the better for it. 
Please don't make this movie the "Edge of Tomorrow" of 2016 go see it while it is still running. 

Courtesy of FilmNation Entertainment


Rogue One - A Star Wars Story

One thing we can say about this movie is that it fixes a lot. First and foremost, it fixes a problem I had with the old Star Wars movies, which is that you never really feel what is at stakes. This movie gives you stakes! Boy, does it give you stakes. Given some of the characters fall flat due to tight pacing, but I found that pacing, which is almost driven in panic, that hold the stakes high. I've been at the edge of my seat for most of the movie. 

The acting was great while not completely on the level of Episode 7. But holy shit the visuals! This might be the most inventive science fiction movie visuals since Interstellar's Black Hole. Here's a small teaser from the trailer: 

Courtesy of Lucasfilm
Yes that is a Deathstar-Sun-Eclipse
Also, the finale of this film is superb. Wait till you get to what critics refer to as "the scene"...



Honorable Mentions

I wanna also mention Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange at this point. Both movies were great. 
Captain America had some serious deep thoughts about power and control of power, that is unusual for a comic book movie, but fell behind its predecessor, Captain America: Wintersoldier. 
Doctor Strange was a classic Marvel Origin story. But the major twist on it was it's mind-bending visuals and surprisingly funny tone. Also Benedict Cumberbatch ftw. 
Oh and I nearly forgot to mention Fantastic Beast and were to find them. Lovely film, great acting, good story but that twist at the end was super obvious and (Johnny Depp, why?) 



My pile of shame

Movies I didn't see, but totally have to this year: 

Deadpool
La La Land
The Nice Guys
Hail, Cesar!
Hacksaw Ridge
The Neon Demon
Nocturnal Animals
The Accountant



Movies in 2017


Something to look out for in 2017: 

Bladerunner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve again!)
The Circle (scaringly realistic dystopian SciFi with Emma Watson and Tom Hanks based on Tom Eggers best-selling novel, could be straight out of an episode of Black Mirror see below)
Dunkirk (Chris Nolan takling WWII)
Alien: Covenant (Ridley Scott is back in Action)
Logan
Ghost in the Shell
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
John Wick Chapter 2
Spiderman: Homecoming
Beauty and the Beast




Series

In 2016 I discovered some really great shows via Netflix and although there was no new season of Game of Thrones this year, it was a good year for the small screen. 



Orphan Black

Courtesy of BBC America
Orphan Black started its 4th season this year, but for me it was the year I first discovered the show, and I binge watched it like nothing else ever before.

Orphan Black is also a show where you can't even tell what it's about without spoilering the shit out of it. So I suggest you just go watch it immediately.

Tatiana Maslany is maybe the best actress I've seen. Period. And Jordan Gavaris plays his part so perfectly it's insane.



Stranger Things


I wanna call this Netflix's masterpiece. This show comes straight from the 80s. Production Design, Costume Design, The way it's filmed, even the look of the actors. And speaking of actors where did they find those superb child actors? They are better than many adult Hollywood actors. 

This is a perfect mystery, drama, fantasy horror show. It has all the tropes to become a classic. This also is a show where you best get in without any spoilers. 

Of the little I can tell you, I can say that the Duffer Brothers are Nerds in all the best way. This show feels so familiar and fresh at the same time. Oh and has the best portrayal of Dungeons and Dragons ever. And also a dope as shit soundtrack. (this show made New Order's Elegia popular again).

Courtesy of Netflix
Courtesy of Netflix



Penny Dreadful

Courtesy of Showtime Entertainment
Do you wish gothic horror had a television show? Look no further 'cause Penny Dreadful will fulfil your dreams. This show is definitely not for children, but which gothic horror movie is? This show so easily mixes all your favorite story into one compelling story that you won't even notice. Frankenstein? Check. Dorian Gray? Check. Werewolves? Check. Dracula? Check. Van Helsing? Check. The list goes on and on. But don't fear. All of those stories are paid tribute and honored. 

Eva Green plays the role she has been waiting for her entire life and plays is good. Timothy Dalton has a major comeback and shows how great an extended James Bond carrier could have been. 

Sadly I have a tendency to jump on shows when they are over. 2016 the third and last season of Penny Dreadful wrapped to a satisfying end. 



Orange is the New Black  

Courtesy of Netflix
Orange is the New Black follows Piper Chapman on her "adventures" in female prison for a crime comitted 10 years ago. 

This series is funny, sad, serious and ridiculous all at once. The acting is good, the characters intriguing and the story interesting. The song choices at the end of each episode are gold and describe that episode perfectly. 



Honorable Mentions

2016 I also started Black Mirror, a dystopian Science Fiction series with self-contained one hour long episodes. Haven't seen enough to really judge but so far really good. 

The series I watched twice this year is New Girl. Yeah I know Rom-Com. But this series is so freaking hilarious and I laughed so hard every time. 

I am also half way through my second watch of Archer, a James Bond spoof cartoon series that is super funny. 



My pile of shame

Shows I have to watch: 

The Expanse
The Americans
iZombie
Daredevil
Fargo
The OA 
Designated Survivor
Narcos



Series in 2017

Sherlock Season 4
Orphan Black Season 5
Jessica Jones Season 2
Stranger Things Season 2
Orange is the New Black Season 5







Illustration and Fine Art



Inspiring Artists

There have been some amazing artists whose body of work has inspired me a lot in 2016. 



Miranda Meeks

"Raven" personal piece by Miranda Meeks
Easily my favorite piece of 2016
Miranda keeps impressing me with her artworks that have a sense of eerie loveliness to them. The muted colors work so simple but so effective. Her images are always full of emotion and just hit a chord inside me. 

She also is an all-around kind person, never short of a nice word or a spark of inspiration.

See her work at her Website, her Tumblr and support her work at her shop

"Mistborn: Secret History" cover for brandon Sanderson by Miranda Meeks
Sphinx Cat by Miranda Meeks
"Sanguine" by Miranda Meeks



Lorena Lammer

Copyright Lorena Lammer
What impresses me the most about Lorena is her dedication. She did 366 drawings this year, besides client work. And those aren't quick soulless doodles but great drawings. In this project, you can see her growing week by week.

I love her natural handling of shapes, something I struggle with a lot, she makes it look so easy. Also her framing is superb something I will look into in 2017.

Lorena also is super supportive and nice to everyone. And I heard some rumors about ... Make it happen Lorena. Make it happen.

All her 366 dailies can be seen at her Artstation. Also check out her Portfolio.

Copyright Lorena Lammer
Copyright Lorena Lammer
Copyright Lorena Lammer
Copyright Lorena Lammer
Copyright Lorena Lammer
Copyright Lorena Lammer
Copyright Lorena Lammer



Even Mehl Amundsen

Copyright Even Mehl Amundsen
Here's another one who did 365 drawings this year. But somewhere along the way his crazy Swedish mind said: "Let's make that paintings!"

Also I need to find a way to steal some brush economy from that dude...

Find his drawings at his Artstation.

Copyright Even Mehl Amundsen
Copyright Even Mehl Amundsen
Copyright Even Mehl Amundsen
Charge at the Pelennor Fields by Even Amundsen
The Unicorn Rider by Even Amundsen
Copyright Even Mehl Amundsen
Copyright Even Mehl Amundsen
Copyright Even Mehl Amundsen



Wylie Beckert

Carback by Wylie Beckert
This is the most impressive project that came out this year. For me at least. Wylie Beckert released the fruit of 1,5 year of work to the masses: The Wicked Kingdom Playing Card Deck.

I absolutely love her style, the quirky characters, her framing and shape language. Wylie is completely down to earth and openhearted, and shares her knowledge where ever she can.

Take a look at her portfolio and make sure to get the Wicked Kingdom Deck.

King of Spades
Queen of Hearts
Jack of Diamonds
The Black Fool
Two Magicians
Snow White



Victor Adame

Atrax, Preator's Voice by Victor Adame
Copyright Wizards of the Coast
Victor Adame never ceases to amaze with his work for Magic: The Gathering. His style could be described as digital gouache with bold, opaque strokes. Painted with confidence, making bounced light look easy...

Cataclysmic Gearhulk by Victor Adame 
Copyright Wizards of the Coast
Platinum Angel by Victor Adame 
Copyright Wizards of the Coast
Servo Token by Victor Adame 
Copyright Wizards of the Coast





Individual Pieces

Noteworthy works that I discovered in 2016. Not necessarily made this year.

by Joseph Zbukvic
by Saul Tepper
by Phil Hale
Cathy's Ghost by Laurie Lee Brom
by Mel Tow
by Thea Turner

by Евгений Шмидт
by Micah Epstein
by Jeremy Mann
by Eran Fowler
Heal by Joohn Ahn
Ophelia by Wong Ada
by Nick Alm
by HTAR T
Portal Acceleration by Donato Giancola
Mind's Dilatation by Iain McCaig
The Old Astronomer by Charlie Bowater
Faircoin by Sam Weber
Becoming by Rovina Cai
The Demon Tree of Barlow Forest by Jeremy Wilson
The Dunwich Horror by Jeremy Wilson
Shadowland by Jeremy Wilson
Ritual of Remembering by Cynthia Sheppard
Rise from the Grave by Kieran Yanner
Copyright Wizards of the Coast
Black Dahlia by Kieran Yanner




And what about me?

Yeah, what about me? My personal art year was one of learning. Learning, that you will never like your own work and learning that you will never finish your own work. Seriously I'm in the middle of reworking a piece for the third time this year. (tease tease, what's it gonna be? Oh the tension.) 

I also learned a lot about brush economy and composition. I found a path to travel with my art and we will see where it will bring me. 

And some first times this year! First time I participated in the Month of Fear and first Inktober. Also first Moleskine started, yay! 

This is the artwork I produced in 2016. Not seen are some more artschool pieces that are not published (yet? maybe)
These are my top 9 from Instagram this year
You can find the entirety of my work at:
My Website
My Instagram
My Artstation/Deviantart
Also let's connect on Facebook



On to 2017

In 2017 I'm gonna tackle my Diploma project, an illustrated, curated collection of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Wish me luck...

I want to thank all my family and friends (you know who you are), that supported me on this journey so far. Big shout out to all of you, dear readers, that follow me on my crazy ride. You give me the feeling that maybe my art can inspire people and is not that useless after all.
Special thanks to: 
Marco Stambor
Katrin Schulte
Esther Eberl
Christina Kraus
Lorena Lammer
Kristina Bilota
Miranda Meeks
Julie Overmann 
Florian Neuhardt and Lisa Brede for the constructive banter
Jurek Malottke 
...and all the ones my stupid mind has forgotten to mention. Again, you know who you are. 

Happy New Year! 

- Sebastian



In memoriam - Herbert Nicke (1952-2016), my dear uncle who set the path for this journey, buying me my first Wacom tablet, that I still use today, and always asking "Where is the new stuff?" 


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