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Abbey Watkins: Mythology & Psychedelia

A Parallel Planets piece by Unknown
Imagine spirit animals and tribal goddesses dipped in '60s hallucinogenics and the art of Abbey Watkins is probably what you'll get. There are few things more trippy than women morphing into feathered creatures with a background of psychedelic patterns made up of countless eyes (that one description alone says it all really), and yet Abbey seems to easily push the boundaries of vision with every illustration she creates. Her works are so boundless and unique, they are almost awesome and fearsome at the same time.

Graduating with honors in Textile Design for Fashion in Manchester Metropolitan University, the English illustrator says that Abbey has honed her style through lots and lots of practice. Realistic graphite drawings merge seamlessly with digital coloring and manipulation creating worlds of hyper fantasy. It's a technique that's totally her own, and it complements and enhances her imagery perfectly. There seems to be no end in the details she renders, and getting caught up in a single aspect of her works is all too easy.

She says that she gets inspired from relatively anything, even from the most mundane objects. But she quests for inspiration far and wide, from the blogs and websites where she gets the best reference materials, to music, film, and fashion. Some of Abbey's favorite images are from Native American mythology, tribal art, the combination of human and animal forms, nature, and dreams - all of which figure strongly in her works.

Abbey's illustrations don't end in surreal kaleidoscopes and amorphous creatures though. They have a depth to them as well, which mostly throws a dark cast over them. While her human figures are beautiful and flawlessly rendered, the barrage of grotesque details and bizarre figures surrounding them, disfiguring them, give them an almost unsettling quality, Such contrasts between beauty and oddity are often associated with witchcraft, magic, and even voodoo, which are channeled in Watkins' works as well.

Thanks to her bewitching imagery, Abbey is now being recognized the world over. She has worked for the likes of Nike, Nylon, and Simon & Schuster. She has also modeled and designed for European clothing brand, Volcom. There is no shortage of her online either. Her Instagram has a whopping 38,000 followers and counting, and her Behance portfolio has received tens of thousands of views. It's her main website though, Tobacco & Leather, which carries her unique brand of art.

In one of her interviews online, Abbey Watkins said that she hopes to get a million times better. Considering the skill with which she executes her artworks now, that almost seems like a tall order. But it would be very difficult to keep your eyes away from seeking out the possibilities of where she takes her hypnotic, psychedelic art next.


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