If you like science fiction or concept art, there’s a good chance that you’ve come across ArtStation. Founded in 2014, it proclaims to be a place for artists to show off their work, with artists like Maciej Rebisz, Kim Petersen, Raphael Lacoste, and many others posting their portfolios to the site. Now, the site is going beyond showcasing artwork online: it’s launching a series of art books by artists on the site. Last fall, it released Martin Deschambault’s Project 77, a neat blend of art and science fiction story telling.
High-concept art books have been growing in popularity recently — Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag recently funded and released his latest art book, The Electric State, through Kickstarter, while Gregory Manchess’s book Above the Timberline hit bookstores to rave reviews. ArtStation’s new initiative looks to capture that appeal — fantastic artwork coupled with an intriguing story.
Kevin Strike, ArtStation’s cofounder and COO told The Verge that in the years that the site’s been around, they’ve build up a reputation for quality artwork, which they intend to carry into their publishing efforts. “We take particular care to ensure that the artwork presented in the books matches as closely as possible with the artist’s vision for the artwork,” he explained.
Project 77 depicts a world in which armies fight for scares resources on distant planets, while massive corporations buy and sell entire civilizations. Between art depicting giant spaceships, alien worlds, and fantastic robots, author Jeffrey Campbell wrote short, connected interludes that flesh out the world and characters, detailing adventures of people stranded in alien deserts, assassination attempts, burned-out pilots, and more. The book isn’t so much a long-form story, but a glimpse into an entire fantastic universe. It’s a cool book, and flipping through the pages, readers get not only polished work, but concept pieces that provide a look into how Deschambault created his world.
The project came together in 2016, when the site began talking with Deschambault about turning his ongoing Project 77 series into a book. The artist had already spent 6 years working on the series, amassing a huge following. He had already been collaborating with Campbell, and their respective work inspired one another. Strike noted that they spent a considerable amount of time designing the book, sorting the images “to ensure that the reader would have a sense of ‘flow’ browsing through the book.”
There’s more on the way, as well: Strike noted that the site plans additional books, which they’ll be announcing sometime next month.