Saturday, November 7, 2009

Illustrator Fred Lynch Bends the Rules

For more than twenty years, Fred Lynch has been an educator freelance illustrator, creating magazine covers, book jackets and website designs with his distinctive and humorous style, blending realism with imagination. But hearing him describe what he does, you wouldn't think it was work. Lynch recently spoke about his work and experience in the field at Chester College of New England.

According to Lynch, the illustrator's job isn't to simply draw but rather to communicate an idea. This has two requirements: creating an image that represents the idea and making it coherent and understandable. It's not enough to meet the goal of the commissioned image; if the audience doesn't understand the message, the illustration doesn't serve a purpose. In this sense it would seem that these commissioned pieces are impersonal to the artist, and in some cases he would agree. However, a keen-eye can detect a clue of Lynch's own charm and humor, whether that be a stray floating nose in a bed of flowers or the oddly-curled toes of a fallen elf. He cites the old adage that you have to love your work, even if it isn't necessarily yours. Though layout guidelines and strict time constraints may limit what can be done, Lynch says that if you love what you do, you'll be driven to find ways around it.

Lynch's commercial work and personal work are often at ends with one another. He openly admits that he bends rules of perspective and realism in his illustrations but when observing his Coffee Cup series of paintings it becomes obvious that, not only are these paintings are overtly abstract, but that abstraction is the point. Coffee Cup presents a passion for reinventing, changing the mundane by twisting and pulling at the physical constraints, sometimes to the point where any resemblance is gone. Lynch cites imagination as a driving force behind illustration, in both the need to express it and capture it in the viewer.

~Ben Dennison

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