Saturday, June 17, 2017

Review: Evilution: The Conceptual Art of Chris Thompson

I've always been a sucker for artwork! Whether it be art books, prints, posters ... book covers, film posters ... the art always draws me in. Unfortunately to reproduce it well, and to do it justice requires some outlay, as I know only too well from Telos Publishing's forays into that area!

Enter Matt Doe and Andrew Skilleter, who together have revived Skilleter's 'Who Dares' company from the 1980s, and are now publishing a variety of items which showcase artwork. They did a new calendar featuring Andrew's art last year, and now have embarked on a new venture: limited edition art portfolios. And they're not all about Skilleter's work!

Just sent for review is Evilution: Variations on a Theme: The Conceptual Art of Chris Thompson. I was not aware of Thompson's art before, but I had seen the beautiful stained glass Dalek which adorned the cover of one of Big Finish's audio releases. Part of the confusion is perhaps that there is also a Chris Thomson who is an actor and does unofficial Who audios ... and Chris Thompson was a BBC designer on Evil of the Daleks in the sixties ... and there's even a Chris Thompson who works at Titan as their Brand Manager for the Who comics they produce ... so it's easy to get confused!

This Chris Thompson is an artist who was working for Jamie Anderson, son of Gerry, on some of the Anderson spin off material, and it was Jamie who directed the Big Finish Audio and got Chris in to do the cover ...

After that, it seems that Chris decided that Daleks were good to create, and so went off on various tangents to bring us 'what-ifs' of five other Dalek potentials, all based around different designs, materials, and concepts which were in force in the periods he was working with.  Thus Dalekzarkov postulates if the Daleks had been designed a few years earlier, and takes inspiration from Forbidden Planet and the Flash Gordon serials ... Dalekyuri is a what if the Russians designed a Dalek ... Dalekvinci postulates a casing created by Leonardo daVinci ... while Daleksan is a Japanese themed casing ...

All the images are reproduced on top quality A4 stock, and as a nice extra, there's a Dalekstainly image reproduced on tracing paper as well, so that light can come through it. I like that touch.

As well as the six prints, there's a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist, and a smashing little booklet which explains and guides you through all the artwork.

It all comes enclosed in a lovely A4 thick card folder, and the whole package reeks of quality, from the choice of materials to the foil stamping on the certificate.  Strangely, the cover, booklet and certificate all call it 'The Conceptual Art ...' but on the prints themselves, it says 'The Concept Art ...'.

The only gulp factor might be the cost, but as I said, to do something like this at a low quantity costs a lot per unit.  Thus the 'Artists' Limited Edition' costs £69.95 (this brings you everything I have discussed, including signed limitation certificate) and is limited to 50 numbered copies.  And the 'Collectors' Limited Edition' omits the signed limitation certificate and costs £49.95. This is limited to 100 copies.

Who Dares have plans for further Portfolios featuring different artists ... and I assume as long as they can sell them, they will keep producing them ...

For more details and to buy copies;

For full disclosure, I have written the introduction to a future portfolio, and this one was supplied to me for review purposes.

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