Mikhail Rakhmatullin is a Russian artist who lives in Moscow. Most of his work these days is created digitally, though he also has training in traditional media. His paintings range from concept landscapes to character portraits to scenes of high tension. Some of his paintings are crisp and contour-focused, and others are rendered in a looser, more painterly style. Like many F/SF artists, Rakhmatullin has done illustration work for computer games, including the mobile-based game Keltika, and he’s entered various competitions for gaming artists, including Dominance War.
Rakhmatullin’s characters often confront the viewer head-on, whether the subject is an alien with skin as variegated as an artist’s palette, or a mechanic who is, beneath all of the technology, aging, grizzled, and subject to the wear and tear of time. The environments he creates range from the nearly abstract to the thoroughly-realized worlds of his concept landscapes and battle scenes. The best of his work, however, comes when he draws the viewer’s eye toward the painting’s center of interest and allows the rest of the work to stay vague, or at least partially unrendered. “Goddess of Rebirth” is a fine example of this, with the painting’s subject depicted in evocative, jewel-like detail, and much of the rest of the picture left to the viewer’s imagination.
While many fantasy and science fiction artists gravitate toward one kind of subject, or at least to either fantasy or science fiction, Rakhmatullin is equally adept with a variety of subjects. Whether painting a monstrous portrait or the iconic man with a gun, facing down the oncoming zombies, his paintings have a quiet, confident serenity about them that conveys the reality of the worlds he depicts. Just as effective at conveying a sense of reality about his unrealities is the sense of mingled pathos and humor that shows in many of his paintings, like “Hedgehog” or “Snow Girl.” Mikhail Rakhmatullin appears willing to let a work be what it wants to be, and one can only hope that this trend will continue as his art develops.
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