Tuesday, 12 February 2013

DELAWARE EXHIBITION: STERLING HUNDLEY

This post is one in a series on the artists featured in the exhibition at the Delaware Art Museum,  State of the Art: Illustration 100 Years After Howard Pyle. 

Sterling Hundley built a strong following at a young age, winning multiple gold and silver medals from the Society of Illustrators for his work in magazines such as Rolling Stone, the New Yorker, The Atlantic, and Entertainment Weekly.


Hundley likes to employ a creative friction between contrasting elements.  For example, he combines traditional, representational narrative illustration with conceptual design.  In this illustration he uses the rules of anatomy and perspective to create the illusion of three dimensional space...

Illustration of the inaugural address of President Harrison who spoke too long in bad weather, caught pneumonia and died. 
... but he also uses the design to symbolize editorial content.  Viewed vertically, the above illustration of President Harrison is the president standing at a podium.  Viewed horizontally it reveals President Harrison lying in his coffin.  The faces in the audience slip back and forth between well wishers and skeletons:



 Similarly, in this poster for the musical, Hair (in which a hippie joins the army) the top half of the picture with the hair employs psychedelic lettering and rainbow colors, while the bottom half employs uniform military lettering and olive drab colors.



Just as Hundley attempts to combine narrative illustration and conceptual design, he also attempts to bridge the gap between what he calls "blue collar" and "white collar" art, as well as the gap between digital and traditional media.  He has painted "fine" art for galleries as well as illustration for publications.  The tension between these contrasting ingredients seems to inspire much of Hundley's work.

Hundley works from a throrough knowledge of the classical traditions in illustration, which reveals itself in his pictures.  I especially like the way he combines old fashioned romantic themes with a modern style of presentation.   

These and other original works by Hundley are on display at the exhibition.