Self- taught illustrator Marc Allante merges influence and media to create a style that mimics the artist; a multi- faceted layering of new ideas over pre-existing realities. His work is defined not so much by content but by the color scheme, movement, and positioning the subject holds in relation to the space it’s given. Relying on mobility, Marc’s pieces are fluid, leaving just enough blanks to let us absorb the image as it exists- thriving in an intentional simplicity.
A Portrait Of Hong Kong
Zeroing in on watercolor and ink, Marc uses the two media in coordination with each other, relying on the wet base as an enzyme for texture. He splatters, drips, drags, and sweeps across the page, letting colors and pattern form both spontaneously and naturally. I get the sense that one of the first stages of Marc’s creative process is pinpointing the areas of a subject with the most movement, whether it be a limb, an expression, a storm raging in the background- getting these actions down on paper sets the scene for the rest of the image and automatically gives us something to hang on to as an audience. The ink wash or watercolor closely follows the tool, which in turn follows the swift revolutions Marc reimagines for his subject, which more often than not is a living thing. Introducing various natural elements into his pieces, Marc also creates a sense of communion, where every new addition relies on a previous one, just like every brush or pen stroke relies on the one before it. The underlying cultural context in his style comes through in doses of eloquence; there is a grace there, shared by the Chinese inks and classic European watercolor maneuvers, a nod to his dual ancestry and the way he’s choosing to preserve it.
A few pieces in particular from Marc’s portfolio are good examples of his ability to establish a flow and sustain that rhythm throughout an entire collection. In “Clash,” an illustration picturing a hawk-like bird clutching a salmon in its talons, the bird’s profile is soft, almost transparent, and just like that, the gust of air that propels such a creature forward becomes a tangible element of the piece. “Out Of A Rising Sun” implies a similar kind of invisible force, as a herd of buffalo is suspended against a dark orange sun, their hooves anticipating impact, their horns pointed at the light of a new dawn. His portraits and renderings of the human figure are more abstract, trading clean- cut lines and edges for shapeshifting, roughness, and flashes of life.
Marc Allante is an idiosyncratic type of realist, taking moments inherent to this world and adding to them a subtle surrealism. He finds the balance between two media, getting the best out of both without compromise. His images go beyond their borders to interact with us, each other, and the space they inhabit, flaunting their ever-evolving but steadfast identities.