Another year comes to a close, one that has seen a return to normality after the pandemic years, alongside fresh hardships that we’ve all done our best to endure. Through all those ups and downs, each euphoric release and every downtrodden daydream of better things, we’ve been able to count on great art being our constant companion. That’s right, list season is upon us once again; a chance to reflect on all the beauty of the past twelve months. Our Listmas celebrations begin as ever with a look at the year’s most endearing and attention grabbing artwork.
10. Harry Styles – Harry’s House
A classic example of a simple idea being executed perfectly. I like how the leading lines direct your focus to the centre, while Harry himself is off to the side. True to its title the gravity defying house is the focus of our attention here.
9. Bastille – Give Me The Future
Love that oil slick colour palette and the eye catching leading lines. Reminds me of the trippy “star gate” sequence at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey
8. The Same River – Weight of the World
The first of two “…of the world” covers, go figure! Love the detail of the sketching, and that bright stripe of colour really stands out in an otherwise monochrome dreamscape.
7. Lantern By Sea – Rim of the World
There’s something about the sea that instils wanderlust, and this serene shoreline vista just whisks you away. Also love how you can pick out individual brush strokes on the painting when looking closer.
6. Pillow Queens – Leave The Light On
Fantastic fusion of ideas: film photography quirks depicted in a Pop Art style. Between the overlapping details of multiple exposures and vibrant orange of the light leak, there’s a lot to admire here.
5. Titus Andronicus – The Will To Live
A little cluttered at first glance, but that just makes the little details you discover all the more rewarding. Great “circle of life” energy from the various scenes depicting predator, prey and scavengers.
4. Palace – Shoals
Otherworldly yet inviting. Utterly gorgeous colour palette. The watercolour art style lends itself brilliantly to the flow and interconnectivity of this oceanic vignette.
3. Oceans of Slumber – Starlight and Ash
I was already sold just on the concept of some forest spirit mother and child. Throw in the way the faces are illuminated by the flames, and the added detail of the lighthouse in the distance, and you’re on to something special.
2. ENMA – Apathy Awakened
A very close second. Imposing and alien like a trip down the River Styx. Superb use of complementary colours, and love the added detail of the reflections in the water.
1. Weyes Blood – And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow
Bookending the list with another simple concept delivered in striking fashion. The soft features, the subtle hints of the ribcage, the warm heart contrasting with the cold light of the background. It’s like a renaissance painting. Truly iconic stuff.