There are dismal stretches of time we all face when we’ve become too through with reality. We want out, and there’s something appealing about wishing to curl into ourselves and cease existence, or to reemerge elsewhere. Not in London, Miami, or Dubai, because we want it to be somewhere even more distant. Well, Theo Prins makes art for the escapists in us all.
Prins’s digital paintings of urban fantasies are similar to watercolor paintings, except they purposely seem vague. Crisp details would add to a sense of rigid reality, which is particularly unwanted for those who prefer not to stay grounded. Instead, the watery scenes create an opportunity for the imagination to fill in the cracks.
Theo Prins works like a storyteller, drawing an outline for his next science fiction adventure with the balance between overwhelming spaces and the lack of characters. When people do appear in his colorful cities, they are tiny specks in a vast setting, or faceless and uninvolved creatures in a more important habitat. The settings themselves seem to breathe with their own personalities, making little reason to add in detailed human characters at all. The atmosphere is both inviting and distant at once, which paves the way for a different kind of Gotham or Narnia.
Despite the overall massiveness of those nameless cities, it’s a difficult feat to not want to dive into the impressionist-like art. Prins experiments with the effects of light on a busy square and murky urban rivers. Prins’s treatment of light adds unexpected brightness across each piece that evokes a feeling of welcome.
While many escapists are disappointed with the reality that there is no enchanted wardrobe or Platform 9 3/4, they may be complacent with Prins’s addition to the community of enchanted spaces.
Theo Prins’s work can be found on theoprins.com.