01/11/2004. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Titan Books. 127 page soft cover. Price: £14.99 (UK), $19.95 (US). ISBN: 1-84023-893-3.
check out websites: www.titanbooks.com and www.chrisachilleos.co.uk
Chris Achilleos' reputation precedes him if you can remember he was the artist who designed the promotional poster for the 1980 film 'Heavy Metal' amongst other things. Looking at the text here, I suspect many of you have his cover art in your book collections without realising it. My only regret is I wish there was a checklist here as well as a few more examples for his other cheesecake material. These are mostly new material to Achilleos' other books by the way. It's interesting to note that Achilleos himself notes that he wants to experiment more with his artwork outside of the commissions. Looking at the art here, I can appreciate the problem.
Achilleos speciality is cheesecake with a tad leather and other slightly fetish taste depending on his commissioned market. Chuck in with this Achilleos' love of costume research so you know some of the costumes have the right authentic feel and it should be a winning combination. So why am I showing a tad apprehension? Simply put, I'm not sure who to fault for the selection of paintings and development sketches here, especially as there is the very odd picture that contradicts my opinion here. One of the things I do when I look at any artbook is flick the pages - a lot easier to do with softcover than hardback. It gives a quick sampling of variety when I get down to the serious reading and looking at the pictures. The obvious thing here which was confirmed when I read the book is that the majority of paintings are in a linear pose. It's a term I came up with years ago for describing poses that are directly in your line of sight with no variation of angle. This isn't helped much by a lack of variation in pose. Too many of these paintings look like a pose for the camera/artist than if catching these people doing something that relates to their lives. Whether this can be a fault of the original commission, choice of picture or being too familiar with Achilleos' style is debatable but it still occurs in his non-commissioned art and should be an area to concentrate on if he wants to expand. With another Achilleos artbook out from Titan next year, I'm hoping that we shall see more of his scope.
This isn't putting down Achilleos' work. He's very iconic and has a lot of fans and if you like cheesecake this is going to fit you to a 'T'. Of note for those who want to see a painting in pre-production, there are several development photos there as well, so there's enough here for everyone.
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