Ruben Ireland is a graphic artist and illustrator that produces images that haunting, sombre and at times verging on the creepy with faces and bodies that at first glance seem normal but upon closer inspection reveal themselves to be altogether out of kilter with the standard proportions of a Human Figure.
Much like how Ron Mueck distorts his latex constructions, Ruben Ireland exaggerates certain parts of the face and body such as the head or eyes to very much make the viewer feel that they are going into a constructed world, not of our own physical experience but that of a warped dream-like world whose inhabitants stare straight through you with blanked eyes.
Ireland’s dark and seemingly ethereal portraits make use of an imaginative palette, with striking results. The varied subjects of his work, inspired by what he describes as the limitless and intriguing dimensions of the human character, possess a great deal of emotional intrigue; provoking potentially unsettling feelings in the viewer. These heavy levels of human emotion conveyed by Ireland’s creations are softened by a high-rolling gloss of surrealism and ominous elements of the fantastical. He uses photographs, personal sketches and even a medley of foodstuffs as an inspirational basis for his contemporary illustrations, and makes use of a wonderfully diverse range of materials, including ink, meat, acrylic, dirty water, photoshop and a wacom tablet.
Ireland’s style is crisp and consistent, using lots of dark colour and grungy paper textures to achieve a sense of more than the computer generated perfection that much graphic design possesses.
The content of his images gives rise to thoughts of the occult with reoccurring themes of horned beasts, wolves and other animals associated with the darker side of the moon.
Steak-and-kidney pie has thick oils and juices that can create an incredible variety of dark, murky browns and light, crispy browns,” he says, explaining the potential for the fabrication of art from food. “It also gives the paper a strange kind of sheen.”
Ruben Ireland belongs to a school of artists who believe that by utilizing, and engaging in the appreciation of a fusion of techniques from different areas of the illustration spectrum, the work produced contains and communicates an undeniably personal footnote. Ireland’s work smacks of this experimental and personal nod to the varied forms of illustrative art. The images he creates are stunning, provocative and diverse.