The Fantastical Paintings of Omar Rayyan

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on


Image courtesy of Omar Rayyan

Omar Rayyan says he doesn’t think in terms of genre. The fantasy illustrator’s personal work, primarily watercolor paintings with the occasional oil-on-panel, is a combination of eclectic influences — the 19th-century symbolists, the pre-rafaelites, the romanticists and 16th-century Flemish painters. All these art historical references are wrapped inside a snapshots of a facetious mythology that doesn’t take itself too seriously. “Painting pictures that tell a story or show a moment in that dream/subconscious world just on the edge of our memory — I suppose is what I’m after,” wrote Rayyan in an email to Hi-Fructose. “The ‘fantasy’ genre gives the freedom to play with such subjects fully, while offering plenty of challenges on which to hone the craft of painting… At the end of the day, it’s painting a silly picture and seeing if it ends up familiar to my twilight memory of that moment that should have been, and better yet if it strums similar cords in others.”

In his Rayyan illustration work, Rayyan’s credits including young adult novels and magazines as well as art work and concept design for Magic: The Gathering. Rayyan was also among the concept artists for the film adaptation for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. These pursuits certainly influence Rayyan’s subject matter, but he keeps his work surprising with his own twists on the familiar elements of fantasy.


Image courtesy of Omar Rayyan


Image courtesy of Omar Rayyan


Image courtesy of Omar Rayyan


Image courtesy of Omar Rayyan


Image courtesy of Omar Rayyan


Image courtesy of Omar Rayyan

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