Illustrator Jonny Hannah’s Darktown

Illustrator and printmaker Jonny Hannah has created a mysterious coastal town, Darktown inhabited by folk legends, jazz artistes, tattooed sailors and local action hero Rocket Man.

Jonny Hannah: Greetings from Darktown: An Illustrators Miscellany
Jonny Hannah: Greetings from Darktown: An Illustrators Miscellany

It exists in a new book, Jonny Hannah: Greetings from Darktown: An Illustrators Miscellany, which contains so many images and so much detail its easy to be drawn in to his fictional world.

Writers Philip Hoare and Peter Chrisp help to knit together this romanticised world, which manages to be at once seedy, wistful, and whimsical but also rather jolly. It kind of feels like a more cheerful Royston Vasey.

Jonny Hannah: Greetings from Darktown: An Illustrators Miscellany
Jonny Hannah: Greetings from Darktown: An Illustrators Miscellany

Hoare says: “Hannah’s is an analogue, retro vintage, vinyl, tweed, and buffed-leather world.

“It rejoices in textures and references, the then and now, all mashed up and assimilated into Darktown’s eerie alleys and arcane establishments.”

Jonny Hannah: Greetings from Darktown: An Illustrators Miscellany
Jonny Hannah: Greetings from Darktown: An Illustrators Miscellany

In real terms of course, Hannah is presenting his prints and paintings as he tours Darktown and has created new works for the book as well as older stuff, which fits the brief.

Thematic chapters cover the likes of the sea, jazz, space and shops, which fit together with surprising ease in this world – the writers don’t have to work too hard to shoe-horn any ideas in.

Jonny Hannah: Greetings from Darktown: An Illustrators Miscellany
Jonny Hannah: Greetings from Darktown: An Illustrators Miscellany

The other notable mention is Hannah’s passion for typography, which is underlined by Sheena Calvert who introduces the book’s typographic catalogue of hand-drawn lettering.

Jonny Hannah: Greetings from Darktown: An Illustrators Miscellany
Jonny Hannah: Greetings from Darktown: An Illustrators Miscellany

There are many examples of Hannah’s typefaces, which Calvert finds to be much more considered then they first appear.

 Jonny Hannah: Greetings from Darktown: An Illustrators Miscellany is published by Merrell, and priced £30  

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