Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Ben Holmes Batman

I've been following a new site as of late and it's called "MoviePilot" (You can access it through the link here.)  It's useful beacause I've found it's added to the conversation for the upcoming Batman v Superman  movie.  Although, I have to say, a lot of it's interests do seem to be all over the map.  That being said, I urge you to give it a try.

I'm glad I did for I wouldn't have discovered the art of Ben Holmes.

Holmes is an artist based in the UK and he recently sampled his wares on the MoviePilot site.  He explains his love for pencil drawings and his journey of discovery into watercolors.  He seems to have a bit of an abstract sensibility and he's pursued his passion for film in the form of self stylized movie posters.

Naturally, this being a Batman page, I've decided to critique his work of the Caped Crusader.  

If you go to the Holmes page you'll see he employs a technique where his subjects tend to explode or shatter into pieces.  Seen below in his "Nightcrawler" effort. 

He doesn't use it for all his work but he "artfully" deploys it for dramatic effect in some of them.

The shattered or explosive effect speaks to the nature of his subjects.  Perhaps it is revelatory to the inner demons that haunt his subjects.

To say Batman has inner demons is to state the obvious.

When I first saw the Holmes Batman image I thought of one of Batman's most iconic antagonists, "Two Face."  Two Face wears his persona overtly (albeit not deliberately) while Bruce Wayne's is hidden behind the cowl.  Both have issues with anger management but Batman has managed to separate his bitterness from turning him to the dark side, to be a force for good.  

At least most of the time.

So lets talk about the image itself and how it reflects on Batman.

Immediately you get the sense that Batman's anger is bursting from his psyche.  It is explosive in nature and barely to be contained.   In fact, you could argue it is the repressed nature of Bruce Wayne yearning to be exposed.  Perhaps a better word would be "revealed."

Perhaps the image is a window into the mind of the Batman/Bruce Wayne character.  Perpetually unresolved.  At once at peace with each other and relentlessly at war with the other.

The shattered splinters evoke a wound that never heals and the use of just black and white reveals the bipolar relationship between the two identities.  Batman is often portrayed living in a black and white world.

Good versus evil.

That is a rash generalization.  I think ardent fans know that Batman is a very complex character and his capacity for good often outweighs his darker nature.

I'm sure Ben Holmes is aware of this also but he has chosen to illustrate the face of Batman we are most familiar with.  Torn, angry, and a force of nature whose presence is at once both unstable and frenzied.  Holmes has captured the Dark Knight as Batman has desired to be seen but also disclosed the side Batman he struggles with every day.

Thanks for the work Mr. Holmes.  I hope your sister thought it as "cool" as you intended it.

For more of  the work of Ben Holmes (especially you Spiderman fans) you can follow the link below.

p.s. Ben, more Batman please!

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