I have always said that artist Robert Rauschenberg was ahead of his time. Rauschenberg’s densely layered paintings and prints are stacks of images and colors, that have influenced thousands of artists and designers over the last 50 years, myself included. When I look at his last works that were printed by Gemini GEL in Los Angeles, there is a creation level of what I call a “Photoshop Aesthetic” to them. I don’t mean this in a negative way, instead I mean it in the way that Photoshop is so pervasive in visual culture, that it has certain looks. Rauschenberg had that look decades before Adobe even existed, and before Photoshop was glimmer in John Knoll’s eye.
The reason I am saying this is because today’s Design Friday choice is London-based Illustrator Miles Donovan, and his work reminds me of Robert Rauschenberg, and that is a good thing.
Donovan’s work is a lush blending of photographic images, colors, and words all stacked together to create a solid final image. His gift comes from an ability to visually edit his compositions in a way that allows them to speak more clearly. All to often, designers become seduced by the software and the medium. They tend to push visual metaphors, and add layer upon layer of information. Donovan on the other hand stacks just enough to convey the message, and keep the composition interesting. Miles Donovan Balances vintage images, with current, rich color pallets, and limited sections of editorial to create some very wonderful and refined work. Looking at his online portfolio, you can see how his eye has evolved from the earlier works to the current. Some of the older pieces are very densely packed with multiple layers obscuring each other. The color pallets are more limited in range, the focus is less organized, but when you view the collection as a whole you see the connection and growth as an illustrator. Even his black and white collages have that same visual quality, that design balance, that helps his work to stand out. I can’t wait to see what direction his work takes next.