Secret Agent Entry: Michael Dashow

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  08 August 2009
As a fan of your work I think this piece is just fantastic Michael. I love the environment, it reminds me of the waterworld base at the end of The Spy Who Loved Me. The characters are great, every single one has a purpose and Agent Orange is certainly one you'd like on your side. I love the flow of action throughout the piece, terrific composition. Congratulations & good luck!
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  08 August 2009
Hey you've done it again. I love the humour you bring to your illustrations and this one makes me grin as much as your other works. As always, there's a lot to like about this piece but one thing which I think works especially well is your use of colour - you get a real sense of underwater lighting coming through those glass walls. I'm glad you crossed the finish line in time - it's an excellent result. Good luck
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Mark David
People need nature more than nature needs people

 
  08 August 2009
Diissar - I did too give you feedback on your entry right before you posted your final image. I told you it was great, the details were lovely, etcetera, etcetera. Pretty much the only difference that I could see between the one I posted about and the final was the position of the slingshot. So congratulations on fixing your slingshot!

Madbot - Thanks! I was going for every James Bond cliche I could fit in there. (I still wish I could have squeezed in a James Bond like character who she'd be rescuing - he'd be strapped to a table and about to be dissected by lasers and buzz saws and the like. Not enough room compositionally. ) But thanks, glad you like it!

Mark - Good to see you here, we missed you this challenge! THanks, glad you like how it came out!
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Michael Dashow
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  08 August 2009
Michael, I'm curious as to what you feel about this work compared to your others. It's interesting to hear what an artist is trying to strive for from his own lips. I suppose it isn't always easy to identify and you 'know it when you see it', but can you pin it down. I'm assuming really spot on drawing, full of life, and a composition that is intricate, but beautifully simple; but then what?
Looking closely again at other works, I see more flawless drawing in others and ideas that seem to find just the 'right' form almost by themselves. But this does seem to me to be one of the most complex and energetic.

Anyway, looks good in your portfolio.
 
  08 August 2009
That's a really interesting question, Roger. For me, it's not about the execution - I do feel quite happy with that - but instead with the content itself. It's a bunch of creatively designed bad-guys attacking and being attacked by a beautiful secret agent. And....? Nope, no more to it than that. No hidden visual gags, not a lot of emotional content, nothing overtly funny aside from the designs of the characters themselves. Interesting characters and setting really was the whole point of this piece, so I feel happy about what I achieved there. And I feel that people will (and are) look at this and say, "Oh, hey, cool." But I personally feel that my truly best work presents a bit more emotional connection with the viewer, and that there's a novel take on events that show some form of looking at the world in a slightly different and amusing way than one might normally view things, and that hopefully is a bit more refreshing.

Case in point, my last challenge entry for Steampunk had the cool factor - monocycles and walking steampunk robots - but what I feel worked best about the piece is the unexpected use of bananas to slip up a walking robot, and this odd assumption of the female protagonist that she was somehow obligated to eat each banana before discarding the peel. That's funny and unexpected and very human all in one. Or the Uplift Challenge entry before that, where the expressions of all the characters, even though most were aliens, were all very endearing and relatable and established a bond between the characters and the viewer. Farewell Kiss is sweet, And Wage Slave features a lot of unexpectedly funny juxtaposition of Lovecraftian horror and office horror all in one to make for a piece that's both "cool" but has a recognizeable emotional core. Agent Orange, by contrast, is beautiful but just features people beating each other up.

But that being said, in my last 2 big paintings, this and the steampunk one, I've really been striving to add more motion and action in my paintings, make them feel a bit more active and alive, and in that sense, as you pointed out (thank you! ) they seem to be working.
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Michael Dashow
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  08 August 2009
That's a great answer, Michael. I appreciate that. It has made me look more closely at your work. I see what you are saying and I think it's a fair assessment of what you are doing. 'Farewell Kiss' for one is a lovely picture where everything seems to fit and a particular (emotional) moment generated. 'Lupus Major' really impressive too, and does just what you say about design of the characters.

It would be nice to here this sort of thing from others, sometime. It has made me think about why I'm doing what I'm doing.
 
  08 August 2009
Your unique style of painting still kicks in our face !
Great job, again, Michael !
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  08 August 2009
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