Spanish artist and photographer José Manuel Ballester began his series “Concealed Spaces” back in 2006 and his work, which quickly went viral before, is again doing the rounds; its central theme echoing current events as he empties masterpieces of painting of their human subjects. Removing protagonists, the focus shifts to space, setting, and how to build scenarios.
José has created replicas of some of the world’s most famous artworks, exactly as you remember them – except, just as with the lockdowns prompted by the current Coronavirus Pandemic, all the people are gone.
With many of the world’s most famous gathering places eerily empty, Ballester’s work seems tailor-made for our troubled times.
Ballester uses Photoshop to seamlessly edit well-known masterpieces such as “The Last Supper” (1498) by Leonardo da Vinci, “The Raft of the Medusa” by Théodore Géricault (1819), “The Birth of Venus” (circa 1486) by Sandro Botticelli, and “Las Meninas” (1656) by Diego Velázquez to make the pictures look pristinely empty.
An offshoot of his regular work, in choosing which paintings to feature in the series, Ballester gravitated toward “the most universal themes used throughout the history of art: war, religion, mythology, death,” he told Artnet News.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.