Behind the scenes of my blog writing process, I often stumble upon extraordinary artists whose works lead me down a rabbit hole of inspiration. I will often start a draft post, telling myself I’ll come back and finish, someday.
Such was the case when I discovered the mesmerizing art of Peter Diamond, a Canadian artist currently residing in Austria. Enthralled by his unique style, I decided to dedicate a blog post to celebrate his remarkable talent and explore the captivating worlds he creates through his illustrations. I set this draft aside…..and here it has sat since October 2021 waiting for me to finish! Sorry it took so long.
In another life I would have been an Art Historian, and focused my mind on illustrators of the 20th century… because, for all of my love of Leonardo, Dürer and Michelangelo, the artists that have always moved my soul have been illustrators like Parrish, Wyeth and Leyendecker. The ability to put an entire story in a piece of work, where you both guide the viewer and make them work for it has always thrilled me. (I blame Gericault and Wrightson equally for this.)
Peter Diamond’s pieces resonate with my soul. His ability to encapsulate entire narratives within a single artwork, guiding and challenging the viewer simultaneously, thrills me. It is illustrators like Diamond who have left an indelible mark on how I view “art” in the world.
Diamond’s work is both flat and dimensional, traditional and new, straightforward and mysterious. His visual style is as if Maxfield Parrish decided to do traditional Japanese wood block prints, and fed it through a machine that only understood Medieval painted illumination.
Each piece appears deceptively simple, but as you delve deeper, you find yourself tumbling into a world of new ideas and discoveries. Diamond possesses the remarkable ability to capture a specific scene within a larger narrative, leaving hints of the surrounding story, as exemplified in his powerful illustration of “Sir Gawain & The Green Knight” (below). But, he doesn’t force feed you the story, you as the viewer have to go in and find it.
I was forced to read “Sir Gawain” in high school, in a translated form that was far closer to it’s Middle English origin than to anything resembling modern English. It was a sick and twisted chore assigned by an honors English teacher I swore to be a sadist. Had THIS illustration been included, however, I would have dove in happily. Granted, I still would have despised that assignment, but, the symbolism and depth in Diamond’s illustration would have transformed my experience with the literary work.
As an artist, I find myself obsessing over the power of a well-executed line. A single stroke can convey so much meaning and emotion. In Diamond’s artwork, we witness the mastery of line work, exemplified in the poster for Fritz Lang’s “Destiny (Der Müde Tod).” Look closely at the wax dripping from the candles – that line, that shape! There is an incredible sense of movement within the stillness, evoking a unique visual experience that is difficult to put into words.
As usual, these posts exist solely in the hopes that I can lead YOU to some great new art. Peter Diamond’s ability to create captivating narratives within his illustrations is a testament to his talent and dedication, and I really hope you love it as much as I do.