EK2: The Lost Years by Derek Stenning is the sequel artbook to Born in Concrete: EK Series which was released in 2013. Wow. 10 years has passed so quickly. I could still remember being mesmerised by the amazingly beautiful and haunting artworks shown in the first book.
EK, or Entartete Kunst, is a personal art project that serves as a creative outlet for Stenning who in 2008 felt creatively spent with production art he has been creating as a concept artist. That year, he came across an article on Entartete Kunst, which translate to Degenerate Art. a term adopted in the 1920s by the Nazi Party in Germany to describe modern art. This personal project inspired him to try new approaches to creating art and the result is what you see in these two artbooks.
EK2 is also a 96-page hardcover just like the first artbook, and it’s also published by Design Studio Press.
Once again, we are brought back into this world where mysterious cosmonauts are connected by cables and floating around in space. The illustrations are incredibly detailed. The world feels so real, so physical, probably because it’s a blend of digital painting with 3D elements and backgrounds. The concept and execution is top notch as you would expect from a video game artist with decades of experience.
There are also some amazing 3D sculpts by Gene Campbell and Leo Haslam based on some of the illustrations in this book. The process of making one of the fully painted EK sculptures is documented in another artbook called EK: The Traveller Design Werks. In addition to the sculpts, some of the characters and props were also made in 3D printable model kits.
This artbook is quite personal as Stenning shared not only the inspiration behind the concepts but also how he had to juggle between creating art and taking care of his father who has worsening vascular dementia. Knowing what he has gone through probably makes you appreciate the art in this book more.
This is a fantastic book that I can recommend easily. If you want to buy this book, I highly recommend getting the first one too because it doesn’t make sense to like just one of two books as they are equally good.
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