Narrating Through Infinite Blue/Red’s
We understand that it is not always possible to travel to the places you are commissioned to depict. As a result what role does the living of a city and thereby personal memory play in how you select to represent it?
I wish I could visit every place or building I have to illustrate. Sometime I am commissioned to represent a specific building that I never seen in the flesh like the series of skyscraper for Architecture magazine in NYC. In that case online research plays a big role, I try to find a lot of different views at different times of the year and at different hours. From those I try to project myself there, influencing the way of representing it. On other case like the L.A. series, it is more about memories, stretch by time. The pool doesn’t really exist, but the scene is how I like to think about a late afternoon in Los Angeles. Sometime the subject itself dictate the colours, it is the case with the Brutalist series, B&W just came naturally as the building are almost monochrome themselves. I guess seeing them in my every day life helped me to realize it.
Who influences you graphically?
I like Edward Hopper, Hokusai, Felix Vallotton, Henri Matisse, Edgar P. Jacobs, Hugo Pratt… And many others.But there is also a lot of brilliant artist around pushing me to keep trying new things.
You seem to play with a great variety of red and blue tones without ever using the primary colours, why so?
I don’t really now, I always start sketching on a blank sheet and never save my colours. The colours come quite automatically and a bit randomly sometime. I do love the red and blue combination, it seems infinite.
How does your colour scheme develop once you have asserted the dichotomy of form and shadow through sketch?
Sometime I sketch In B&W, but most of the time I sketch directly in colours, it allows me to have an atmosphere from the start and not to have to give colours to shapes.
Within the grand Marnier advertisement you only use quite an assortment of shades of red, to what extent is your palette influenced by the product?
The original brief included the grand Marnier identity colours, which are those shade of red.
The same goes for the Shop Magazine cover featuring Istanbul, how about did your tone choice relate?
I never been to Istanbul but from the movies and pictures I saw, sunset and dusk are beautiful there so I thought I would try to express that feeling when everything is suspended in time for a couple of minutes before dark.
Lastly, we would love to see your very distinct style within the realm of gaming technology, would it be something that you would be interested in?
Yes why not, I am interested by any kind of project. I also never worked directly for big architecture firm and would love to be commissioned to create artistic view of projects. I see a lot of realistic CG rendering of buildings without real soul and it would be nice to see more artists involved.
Thomas Danthony is a French born illustrator & designer based in London. His clever use of tones and colours have attracted the likes of many as well as winning him the Handsome Future award.