My Take on Illustrator David Downtown’s “Iconic” Pieces

I call his works “Sado-Realism”, as they manage to capture a uniquely realistic depth of pain/pleasure in a way that is usually beyond the scope of most illustrators.  I’ve long been an ardent admirer and fan of fashion illustrator, David Downtown.  In a world where “trendy” is the order of the day, it’s refreshing to truly know when you’re looking at a signature piece.  His amazing drawings of Elizabeth Taylor, from the Winter Issue of ROUGE Magazine, strike a stunning balance between stoic modernity and effervescent glamor.  I am captivated by his choice to leave out one eye in each piece.  He’s taken the thing she’s most known for (her violet eyes), and made them twice as powerful by using them only half as much.  I see this as a grand statement on the overuse of “literalism” in a medium that demands the consistent and educated layering of sophisticated subtext.  Subtext is the “silent partner” of great art, and is what allows artistic-boundaries to be challenged past the diluted state of mass-mediocrity, often accepted by pop-culture.  If we want “more” we must covet “more”, expect “more” and do “more.”  We can’t allow the “masqueraders” to pull us down, rather, we must rise above and take back what is rightfully ours.    Images via