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ALEX ROSS

24/11/2020

Universally acknowledged as one of the greatest artists in the field of comic books, Alex Ross has revolutionised the industry. His work has breathed new life into the classic superheroes, most famously, the stars of DC Comics.By turning them into works of fine art, he has transcended the newsstand origins of his profession. Just as Andy Warhol elevated soup can labels into multi-million dollar artworks, Alex has elevated the art of the comic book, building on the foundation of the great artists who came before him including Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Romita, Neal Adams and George Perez. His works, such as the five pieces in the DC Legends Collection are now considered stand alone pieces of art.

At 17, Alex followed in his artist mother’s footsteps and enrolled at the American Academy of Art in Chicago where he discovered the work of other artists including J.C. Leyendecker and Salvador Dalí, whose “hyper-realistic quality” seemed to him not very far removed from the classic superhero images that he loved. After three years of building his ideas, expanding his knowledge, studying other artists and honing his technique, he graduated with the plan of becoming a comic book artist.

After working briefly for an advertising agency as a storyboard artist, Alex had his first comic book work published in 1990 for NOW Comics. He created all the art for a five-issue miniseries, and went on to create similar work on a variety of titles over the next few years. In 1993, he completed his first painted superhero assignment, the cover of a Superman novel, Superman: Doomsday & Beyond and from here on, a series of commissions from, and partnership with, the biggest brands in the industry took him soaring into the illustration stratosphere, ensuring his place in comic book history.

The particular brilliance of Alex’s work lies in his ability to blur the lines between fantasy and reality. Working almost exclusively in watercolour gouache, he strives to make his images as lifelike and realistic as possible, though always fully inhabiting the fantastic worlds of Gotham or Metropolis, and accommodating the necessary suspension of disbelief. Like Norman Rockwell, he is much praised for his figurative portrayals, meticulous execution, dramatic composition and evocative style. His illustrations have been described as adding a third dimension to previously two dimensional characters.

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