Selections to be published in 2015 as WRATH, RUIN AND A RED NIGHTFALL: The Art of John Cockshaw by Oloris Publishing.
Welcome to the blog and this collection of original artwork inspired by The Lord of the Rings and J.R.R Tolkien's wider mythology of Middle-earth. Aside from the influence of the source writing of Tolkien influence is also drawn from Director Peter Jackson's film trilogy (2001-2003) and the highly regarded Tolkien illustrators Alan Lee and John Howe. The magnificent musical score written for the film trilogy by Howard Shore also holds a significant influence upon the atmospheric and evocative quality of the works in this collection. From Mordor to the Misty Mountains combines landscape, miniature-scale and composite photography to depict locations, dramatic scenes and characters from the enduringly popular stories.
PLEASE NOTE: This blog showcases Artwork (completed and in progress) and related exhibition news. There is NO option to purchase Art through this site at this time. Please visit from time to time as this may well change soon.
Copyright of all images belongs to John A Cockshaw
After an intensely busy four-month period of planning I can now proudly announce that my second exhibition as curator (in addition to artist) has opened. In fact, it has open for just over ten days at the time of writing. EVIL IN THE SHINING LIGHT: ART INSPIRED BY THE WORKS OF JRR TOLKIEN presented an ambitious project for me to oversee from its very conception. It began as a proposal in response to a call for contributors from Bank Street Arts in Sheffield for their biannual book-arts festival 'Opening up the Book'. Conceived as a two-part exhibition curated over two gallery rooms it ended up comprising three interlinked parts - and if ever there was an opportunity to try something brave and conceptual this was certainly it!
Soni Alcorn-Hender, Tomas Hijo, Katarzyna Chmiel-Gugulska, Jay Johnstone, Tsvetelina Krumova - Elmenel and Ted Nasmith. Joining these artists were contributions from German writer Marcel Aubron-Bulles (aka The Tolkienist) and some inventive archaeological drawings referencing Weathertop by Archaeologist Shaun Richardson. The interpretation of the title, and indeed the reason it was chosen, draws very much on its far-reaching quality; with it serving as a beginning from which many diverging threads may lead. The presence of Sauron and the One Ring is evident in many pieces, as is Smaug in addition to implying the wretched motivations of Gollum but there is also the suggestion of danger/evil in other inanimate objects such as Galadriel's mirror of the Palantir discovered by Pippin at Isengard. Also a theme of the exhibition is the threat of evil encroaching upon seemingly safe havens or the awesome and formidable power of nature, and also extended by referencing the actions of those who seek to counter the forces of evil; specifically Aragorn and Gandalf, the hobbits and Treebeard.
The second element of the exhibition (Gallery 3) broadens scope to include a video screening of THE SIGN OF THE SHINING BEAST by writer Robert S. Malan and John Cockshaw. This project, whilst exploring its own concerns of fractured narrative and the book forms of the graphic novel/ photo-roman, does possess a connection to Tolkien through its dream-like visual aesthetic in that it presents a series of hazy yet lucid visions to the viewer in the same vein as Galadriel's mirror or the aforementioned Palantir seeing stone. Much of the imagery in the video does present the occasional allusion to scenes from The Lord of the Rings but yet much of it is also non-specific and even Sci-fi in reference. A haunting soundtrack and eerie sound design accompanies the video and very effectively seeps into the adjoining gallery where the bulk of the Tolkien art is.
Thirdly, and connecting to the aesthetics of the video, its musical/sound design and extending the Tolkien-inspired reference is an exhibit covering one wall entitled ART FOR ASCENSION, DECLINE AND EVIL TIMES. The concern here is a small collection of prints that directly reference and take inspiration from Howard Shore's epic scores for The Lord of the Rings films and the 2010 book that provides a scholarly analysis of these scores by Musicologist Doug Adams. The art and suppporting text included in the exhibition is also acknowledged as first appearing in a two-part article of the same name by John Cockshaw for the film industry's premier film music magazine FILM SCORE MONTHLY ONLINE (Dec-Feb 2014/2015).
A feature and article on the exhibition in its finalised form will appear courtesy of The ScifiFantasyNetwork (SFFN) in the coming week or more. A selection of exhibition photos offer a glance of the fully installed show.
A short video taking inspiration from JRR Tolkien's THE SILMARILLION with specific focus on the early parts of Ainulindalë (Music of Ainur). The focus is very much on visual representations of music, harmony, cosmic growth and the the beginning of the universe and precedes any personification of the Ainur or the pivotal discord.
The following link to the video below offers a glimpse of the Artwork accompanying the release of Janet's book featuring my readings of the poetry accompanying the imagery. Enjoy!
March 25th, as usually falls on the Tolkienist's calendar, is Tolkien Reading Day and once again I had the pleasure of having a piece of artwork featured on Mechtild's LiveJournal in a post commemorating this anniversary featuring two poems by the excellent poet Janet Nelson-Alvarez. Many thanks to Linda Bachman and Janet Alvarez for this second opportunity to mark this date on the Tolkien calendar in such a great way.
(Many thanks to Managing Editor of FSMO Kristen Romanelli for her support and interest in the piece during its development)
A particular highlight was an interview for the regional BBC News bulletin just before Christmas on Saturday 20th December and which aired on Friday 2nd Jan (lunchtime and evening) and again on Friday 9th January. Whilst I do possess an official copy of the broadcast from the BBC I'm unable to publish it here. These screenshots from the bulletin provide a great overview of the news feature titled 'Yorkshire Hobbit' and the emphasis was very much on myself as the local artist and exhibition coordinator/curator.
With thanks to Video Journalist Philip Chapman of the BBC
|LOTR-focused Cover of December 2014 Issue of FSMO|
|Screenshot of Page 1 of Article in FSMO|
Inspiration is taken jointly from Shore's music and author/musicologist Doug Adams' excellent analysis of Shore's musical construction and thematic world building. Adams' intelligent work on the LOTR scores ignited my interest to such a degree that creating art as a response was a fascinating prospect.
|Legendarium website banner|
|Exhibition curated by Artist John Cockshaw|
Be sure to view at 1080p HD (or 720p if you're scared of dragons)
I was thrilled also that TheOneRing.net also posted a news item here on their website 20/11/14
Thanks also to The Northern Echo for the coverage on their online page here and The Tolkien Society website for the event listing on their website.
|Pre-release poster of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies at Curzon Ripon|
|Artist talk: From Mordor to the Misty Mountains. Sat 13th September|
This weekend (Saturday 13th September) I had the pleasure of giving a presentation on my Tolkien-inspired artwork at The Tolkien Society's annual meet in Oxford. Oxonmoot took place in the beautiful surroundings of Lady Margaret Hall, one of the colleges of Oxford University. The presentation touched on many aspects of my artwork and detailed a large amount of the thinking behind it and influences upon it.
It was also the chance to preview a couple of new works in progress at the end, despite running out of time to include all the content I'd prepared. Overall it was a fantastic experience and I also had the chance to exhibit again as last year in the accompanying Arts show with artists like Jay Johnstone, Tomas Hijo, Ted Nasmith, Soni Alcorn-Hender and Anke Eissmann to name but a few.
The exhibition was organised and run by Elena Krysova whom I owe many thanks for her hard work in co-ordinating it all.
Preview of new work in progress
Confrontation with Smaug
Advancing army (Helm's Deep draft) or Battle of the five-beat pattern (2nd preliminary title in response to Howard Shore's Middle-earth scores)
The Shire (variation of Shire dwelling and a well-kept garden)
See how the article shaped up here!
Better still, it was a thrill that the article (referencing as it does the sterling work of musicologist and author Doug Adams) appeared in the same news cycle as an item announcing Adams' appearance at Salt Lake City Fantasy Con and his 'return to Tolkien's world'.
Doug Adams was also kind enough to respond with feedback and share news of my article's appearance on TORn on Twitter. Much appreciated Doug!
The piece of artwork below didn't appear within the main article but further explores musical ideas of Howard Shore's Middle-earth music; with a particular focus on Smaug. Smaug's musical presentation in The Hobbit films is something I intend to explore in upcoming work but this initial concept is a good start. Using a fine exposure tool I've etched a portion of Smaug's musical phrase (referencing Adams' liner notes from the soundtrack release for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) above a grim representation of Bilbo approaching the sleeping dragon. There will be more to follow on this idea in good time...
Lastly, other interesting things are also in the works with fellow artists and poets so it will be nice to drop hints along the way if I can...