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Featured Artist: Nekro

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Featured Artist: Nekro

Meet one of today's most recognisable fantasy illustrators.

Arjan Terpstra

02 Sep 2020 ⋅ 4 min read

How to explain the power of the art of Nekro? The Spanish artist (1983) excels in lavish and spectacular images full of details and symbolism, like in his great work Linked by Destiny, a Witcher-inspired piece, or in Artorias the Abysswalker, a spectacular homage to the Dark Souls games. This type of detailed work could easily create an image that overpowers the viewer, but Nekro's work has an elegance that makes the lush ornamentation more than palatable. His intricately chiseled subjects rise from busy, detailed backgrounds, and yet the overall picture is always one of calm.

Composition

Obviously, there's an old-school master of composition at work here, an artist trained by years of art college? Not in the least, Nekro tells us from his studio in O Grove in Galicia, Spain. "I am completely self-taught and have learned everything by just putting in the work." Any shortcomings he felt he had, he worked around "by looking at other artists, striving to understand their techniques. H.R Giger was a big influence in this respect, but I have many more favorite artists, like Allen Williams, Andrew Jones or Kris Kuksi." Oh, and the name? "Everyone calls me Nekro since adolescence, it probably stems from my fascination with death and everything dark, haha. 'Necro' of course is the Greek prefix meaning death; Nekro is just the Spanish version of that."
Linked by Destiny (2020), detail
The Giger reference seems an obvious one. Both artists drum up monochromatic fantasy worlds, often centered around one central figure or theme. But while Giger (1940 - 2014) brought us haunting images from a dystopian future, Nekro - stylistically speaking - seems to look back more than forward: his ornamentation often evokes Western classicism, borrowing ornamental details from the baroque and rococo era.

Improvisation

And yet Nekro isn't some kind of neo-baroque artist peddling classicist themes and shapes. "My way of composing sits somewhere between chaos and improvisation. There is no big plan, no formula. I create by destroying objects, giving them new forms and meanings as I move along." Of course these new forms can take on shapes that remind us of other, older shapes, but nothing is planned to look like something else. "I can have an idea about an image, but this inevitably changes as the work progresses."
Linked by Destiny (2020), detail
This method may sound alien to artists working with traditional media such as paints or pencils, but is something every artist working in video games knows intimately: photo bashing. Also known as 'Photoshop art', this method consists of the 'bashing' of various (existing) images into each other, after which (computer) paint is used to find new and exciting shapes in the resulting mix of materials. This quick-and-dirty method can yield the most incredible concept art, but is by nature very rough: often the original materials shine right through the quick (digital) paint strokes.

Photoshop

Nekro takes this method to a new level. "It's all 100% Photoshop, all of it, just not done in the way people expect Photoshop to work. I work from photo compositions, but in extreme ways, with hundreds of small parts that I turn into different things." This is clear from looking at Nekro's work: nothing looks 're-hashed' in the way a photo bashed work looks, and if there are 'original materials' used in a composition, they've been re-used, re-shaped, re-colored and re-positioned so often their origins are completely obscured.
Linked by Destiny (2020), detail
The final results are works that caught the eye of both fans and businesses. He counts Konami, Sony, DC Comics, Bandai Namco and many, many more well-known studios among his clients, and fans flocked to the two books with Nekro art that are on the market. This all adds up to Nekro's reputation as one of the most important fantasy illustrators of today.
To which we like to add: and of tomorrow, as we're sure the best is yet to come.

Looking for Nekro art? Cook and Becker offers high quality prints that come with artist signed Certifcates of Authenticity. Click the gallery below for individual art pieces and details like sizes, pricing and framing options.

Nekro Commissioned Artworks