Welcome to an installment of Modern Masters, a curated segment on Creative Fluff where we explore lesser known contemporary artists that have truly mastered their craft. We spotlight these artists to give them the recognition and exposure they deserve. Sit back, relax, and we hope you enjoy their work.
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Today’s reminder of how untalented you are is the self-taught painter and generally dapper chap Alarie. His real name is actually Simon Schmidt, but that’s not important so we’ll never speak of it again in this article.
When he’s not touring Middle Earth, Alarie resides in Southern Bavaria, close to the Austrian border. He told me that he’s grown up seeing the mountains all his life, something which appears to have lent heavily to his work, where nature clamours over his canvas like ivy up an old wall. Once again I’m going to upset you all by revealing that Alarie is a self-taught artist. Unable to attend an illustration school in Leipzig, he studied, and now works, in computer sciences. After hours and through the night he polishes his talents, painting mostly for his own enjoyment and to give form to his imaginations.
“The biggest part of my art is probably best described as ‘challenging myself’ and ‘exploring the boundaries of my composure’. Typically it’s mostly a rendering of what I see in my daydreams, which draw on inspiration from various places. Mostly from books, but also from photos or artworks that fascinate me.”
I was caught by Alarie’s paintings because of how…traditional they are. Not just the style and the medium, but the form, the culture, even the settings of his work. It’s a traditional painting by definition, but more than that, Alarie’s work is an actual tradition. Look below. Don’t tell me you’re not instantly enveloped by a nostalgic and comforting reminder of classic stories and old tales. Any child who grew up fortunate enough to lay their filthy paws on a truly quality book will instantly recognise the style and feel these pieces give off. If you weren’t a fortunate child, well…awkward.
Looking at his work, I’m beset with a faint background murmur, patient whispers of old adventure tales, stories of armoured knights, dragons and mythical creatures and loyal horses that actively try to help you, as opposed to just legging it. It comes as absolutely no surprise then that Alarie is heavily influenced by the fantasy genre, and notably inspired by that one movie with the hobbits.
“The ignition to pick up brush and pencil for real was actually the first Lord of the Rings movie. Of course I loved it, but what fascinated me much more were the specials on the DVDs that gave some insight to all the wonderful stuff that happened behind the scenes, especially to the art department and their work. Most notably John Howe and Alan Lee, of course. That was the first time I saw and realized what can be done with arts.”
The Editor and I took a moment out of our supremely busy schedules of working at an art site to look at the art.
“His work reminds me of fields.”
“It reminds me of adventures.”
“…that take place in, over, or across fields.”
At the time I was rather entranced by how a painting could bring to mind an image so vividly, but thinking back I think I was literally looking at a picture of a dude in a field when I said it. Still, it’s good to know that my powers of observation are as sharp as ever.
“I love to do anything mystical of course. Dragons, warriors, castles, forests… all those things that allow my mind to wander off and go on some adventures … While the topic is of course the key feature of any painting, my analytical mind is always obsessed with technique. I do a lot of experimenting with various techniques and trying new stuff (as far as time permits). Yet in the end, most of my work is pencil and watercolours.”
All that time and effort spent on learning techniques and researching the subjects and anatomy of his paintings have clearly paid off. Rich and comforting, it’s appreciable by lovers of any style. Whether you enjoy spearing your eyes with abstractions or pretending to find merit in nude photography, everyone can take time out to enjoy a good old adventure tale. Viewing Alarie’s work is like sitting in an overstuffed armchair with a great book.
…and hell, if you’d put as much effort into your life as Alarie has into painting each individual blade of grass in this piece, you’d be reading this website from a space station.
Although he has worked for several international clients in the past, Alarie has never actively promoted his work. He has decided that 2014 is the year that changes. I was incredibly surprised to find he was not already working full-time in the field, but I have no doubt that if he sets his mind to it, the man who taught himself how to paint such rich and attentive pieces will have no trouble reaching out with his art. All the same, we wish him good fortune and look forward to seeing where he takes his talent in the future.
Visit Alarie’s website.
Purchase his prints.
Like him on Facebook.
What’s Instagram for?