The Art of Sherlock Holmes Artist and Author Interview - Bisaillion Brothers and Mark Mower
Posted by Rahul Singh Parihar on
Can you please give us an intro into a couple of your favorite pieces from the past:
One of our (Jeffrey and I) favorites completed recently is titled "East Village" 56 inches wide by 45 inches tall. This piece depicts the Avant Garde art scene of the 1980's NYC East Village where greats such as Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat created bolstered by the established Andy Warhol. The now famous graffiti next to the Mars Bar declared the "East Village is DEAD". The East Village didn't die though because it lives on in the art much in the same way that Sherlock Holmes lives on in all of the stories.
Another favorite piece is titled "VJDay" and it is 45 inches wide by 56 inches tall. This piece depicts the iconic Times Square scene where the sailor is kissing the nurse in celebration of the end of the war. For us this was a pivotal moment in the history of pop culture and our art typically depicts these moments in time that define our collective nature for hope and prosperity.
How did you find the process of creating a piece from a Sherlock Story?
We found the process refreshing in that it was a departure from our usual method of creating art. The finished piece is more about the story than it is about the art which was fun for us. Our work usually has very bright and bold colors but for this piece we decided to tone it down and let the image tell the story.
Tell us a bit about the method you used.
We wanted the viewers comprehension of the piece to change after they read the story. When experiencing the book the viewer will see the art first and then turn the page and read the story and after reading the story the art takes on a different life, this was important to us. Details such as the Victorian era table and the pattern of Sherlock's coat were all researched and represented as accurately as possible to bring the story to life in the minds eye.
You've written quite a lot of Sherlock stories, how did you pick this one for the art project?
I’ve been writing Sherlock Holmes stories for nearly five years now, having originally been a non-fiction crime and history writer. This week I completed my twenty-sixth pastiche.
I was keen to include ‘The Case of the Cuneiform Suicide Note’ in this book as it’s one of my favourites. It shows Holmes and Watson working effectively as a team – each contributing skills and knowledge. That pairing is essential; it’s what makes them effective as the world’s preeminent crime-fighting duo.
I also happen to love Holmes stories that have puzzles and conundrums at their heart. Cryptic notes are always a favourite!
What has it been like to see your story turned into a piece of art?
This has been an absolute joy for me as I love contemporary art. My wife is a talented artist and we have a great network of creative friends.
The Bisaillion Brothers have done a first class job of interpreting my story and creating just the right look and feel for the chapter. I could not have wished for a better piece – it neatly portrays all of the elements that appear in the story, without acting as a spoiler!
I would also say that the standard of art in this collection (and the earlier Palm Beach Edition) has been superb. Phil Growick has done a grand job of bringing together a very accomplished group of artists and writers. And I look forward to contributing to further editions.
The piece is available as a print from The Conan Doyle Estate.
Tell us about your new book coming out this month...
My Holmes stories have so far appeared in twenty different books. Within the list are two of my own collections of pastiches – A Farewell to Baker Street and Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Case-Files. And I’m pleased to announce that MX Publishing is releasing my third collection, Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Legacy, on the 21st November.
The eight stories in the new collection are more overlooked gems from the legacy of material left to Dr. Watson’s nephew, Christopher Henry Watson MD. The first in the collection, ‘A Day at the Races’, is set in 1880, before Dr. Watson had become the chief chronicler of the Great Detective’s work. ‘The French Affair’ is a fascinating tale set in that period beyond 1891 when the world was led to believe that Holmes had died at the Reichenbach Falls grappling with the villainous Professor Moriarty. From the allure of ‘The Fashionably-Dressed Girl’ to the operation of ‘The Influence Machine’, there is plenty to entertain anyone who loves traditional Holmes stories.
This third collection is particularly special for me as the frontispiece to the book contains a poem by my 11-year-old daughter, Rosie. She’s providing to be both a gifted writer and artist. Who knows where that might lead?