Friday, February 3, 2012


I've seen a LOT of James Jean imitators (and some blatant ripoffs) over the past five years (particularly in the many fine art/tech mags from the UK's Imagine Publishing (ImagineFX, Computer Arts Projects etc.). But the portfolio of young El Salvadorean artist Rodrigo Luff as seen in the latest issue of Blue Canvas takes the cake. Luff is obviously hugely talented and also hugely influenced to the point of slavish devotion to the techniques of James Jean. Often Jean's imitators can pull off many of his tricks of style and color traits but lack the imagination or certainly the immense chops in draftsmanship to replicate Jean's work. But Luff seems to have the chops and a fair amount of imagination. What he lacks now is a original thrust and anything resembling his own style. His graphite pencil work in particular looks like carbon copies of James Jean's (albeit Jean's work five years ago as JJ has since moved in a much darker, uglier direction with his work).

By the way if you can't discern which of the above peices belongs to which artist (and I know I couldn't): The piece on the left featuring a flutist, nude woman and elegant flora is by Rodrigo Luff. The piece on the right, set in pink, and featuring a nude female flutist and elegant flora is by James Jean circa 2006.

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