Paris-based illustrator Guy-Pascal Vallez, also known as GAX, presents us with a host of surreal characters inhabiting all sorts of otherworldly space. Cloaked and occasionally masked, they are packed into dense medieval-style cities in huge numbers, or exist as sole occupants of dauntingly expansive landscapes.
Using inky palettes of full of murky purples and fiery oranges, GAX evokes atmospheres that are both familiar and threatening, with social and architectural structures that appear to shelter as much as they appear to threaten and entrap. The dusky, transitional scenes full of various creatures are reminiscent of Hayao Miyazaki’s work – think of that marvellous nightfall scene in Spirited Away – while the cloaked and masked figures that proliferate in narrow streets evoke our awareness of medieval scenes and society. With descending plagues, bare arid forests, and lone protagonists, we get dual indications of terrible turmoil and thrilling adventure. Wicked stuff.