Science-fiction fans will already be familiar with the fantastical art of Jim Burns. An award-winning artist and favourite among authors such Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett and George R. R. Martin, his is a career spanning over 40 years of book covers and concept art, not to mention a brief collaboration with Ridley Scott on his ill-fated Dune project, and the sci-masterpiece Blade Runner.
To outsiders, this is the usual blend of spaceships, surreal landscapes, dragons and fan-pleasing cleavages that could make this work easy to ignore. In its defence I personally find this collection more imaginative than the usual fare, particularly his work during the 1970s and 80s which, to me, represent the definition of classic sci-fi escapism. But, like the recently reviewed The Art of Fred Gambino, the modern digital work suffers the familiar faults of an over reliance on unconvincing effects and stretched textures that only serves to destroy the illusion.
For fans, this is another quality production from Titan in a long running series celebrating the masters of science-fiction and fantasy art. Featuring some truly outstanding work (I love the piece for Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man) this book again tells of the dated quality emerging from computer based art. In a period where so much SF work feels increasingly homogenized, I wonder if a talented artist such as Burns is better served when trading on those great old-school techniques.
The Art of Jim Burns: Hyperluminal
Hardback 160 pages
31.8 x 23.4 x 1.8 cm