There's much to malign in the modern world, one way to malign it and smile too is by soaking up the satirical illustrations of British artist John Holcrof and his witty take on the flaws and problems with today's society.
Holcroft's work has appeared in countless publications and websites like the BBC and Guardian, and his work is instantly recognisable. Because John Holcroft, taking inspiration from painters like Edward Hopper, imitates the vintage feel and style of adverts from the 1950s, but infuses them with biting satire of the modern world.
Subjects of his illustrative barb include everything from the egotistical effects of social media to the addictive nature of smoking, the conditions of modern office working, the misguided nature of exams and education, and the damaging effects of beer. But anything that pertains to the modern world can be a target for his satirical illustrations, from social media to Donald Trump to Brexit.
Not only are they full of visual wit and elegant, satiric design, but they're scathing in the subjects they tackle too. In an interview with The Re:Art John Holcroft explains why he chooses such negative subject matter.
I often get accused of being cynical and maybe I am. The world we live in cannot be summed up in one illustration. I suppose I mainly focus on the negative aspects because that’s where we will find an injustice. If I was to sum up the world we live in, it would have to be something negative. I would probably do something surrounding people and obsession for money, power, land and religion.
As for his style when it comes to satirical illustrations, Holcroft says it started off quite allegorical and flamboyant, before changing, then he want back to it and found his current individual aesthetic.
How John Holcroft’s Satirical Illustrations Evolved
"At first my work was more pictorial and figurative like it is now." the artist told Pushing Pixels. "This I suppose was influenced by Edward Hopper and David Cutter. I later tried to experiment with colour and technique and my style became very off the wall. I loved the work on Ian Pollock, David Hughs and Rachel Gosling. This inspired me to reinvent my style to become something that in hindsight wasn’t really me. I had work for a while but I could never have really competed with what was already around. After yet another failed attempt at a style change, I threw in the proverbial towel. It was around 2008 that I admitted defeat and looked for work. This was short lived because not long after I had to have an operation on my back and I was out of action for months. It was this incapacity that gave me the change to develop my current winning style."
As for the tools he uses, Holcroft says he does everything on a Wacom tablet, a kind of digital version of a pen and paper with a stylus and interactive pens. He does occasionally use a sketch pad too, he notes. Photoshop is his go-to when it comes to software.
You can check out some of his John Holcroft's satirical illustrations below. And head to his website for more. Or head to Society 6 to purchase prints or iPhone covers of his work.