Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Artwork by Alex Ries

Alex Ries came to my attention a year or so again when I was ranting about the lack of truly alien aliens in miniatures. I used his artwork to demonstrate that aliens of a distinctly non-humanoid or terrestrial body plan were doable. In addition, his artwork illustrates that such aliens can be given technology that is recognizable an functional in its form without having to be entirely crazy, weird, and non-organic (an over-used trope in alien design).

I hadn't seen much from Ries in a while but a recent search found that just this year he had released the above picture entitled "Protest". The image depicts an angry protest gone violent between members of the Birrin (a name only recently discovered) race. The Birrin have changed a bit since his last portrayal of them and he openly acknowledges that he's still in the process of figuring out their final design. Even still, they are still familiar and have not changed much.

Here is what Alex had to say about this piece  work -

Refugees, faced with starvation and loss of livelihood by the diversion of the river that feeds the vast lakes they live upon, were shipped to uninhabited badlands in neighboring nations. The state responsible for the disruptive developments paid local poor governments, in arms and financial relief, to accept millions of displaced people inside their borders.

Ill feelings due to the destruction of their towns and habitat, anger soon erupted into large scale protests which the financially insecure and corrupt nations had trouble containing.

Seen here is a vast march from a nearby tent city; angry refugees storm an area of newly (but cheaply) build admin towers created to manage the huge displaced population.

Younger and angrier refugees quickly turned to violence, attacking understaffed riot police staff with knives and other improvised weapons.

I love these aliens. I'd buy miniatures of them. More importantly, I think that once again, Alex has shown that aliens can have good solid hardware. His riot cops looks like riot cops. There is a helicopter circling above that looks very familiar yet still alien. His protesters wave banners and his angry youth wields a shiv. This is an all to familiar drama unfolding on an alien world. It worth mentioning that there are subtle things in this picture that one really cannot know without having read the commentary posted about it on Alex's DeviantArt gallery such as the fact that the green "eyes" on the the attacker in the picture are actually sunglasses.
It is my hope that miniatures designers and gamers alike will take notice of wonderful stuff like this and perhaps be inspired by it to do things like this in miniature. Occasionally it pays to take a risk and throw caution to the wind. Ask Eureka Miniatures how well they thought teddy bears with guns would have sold or Josh over at Zombiesmith if he thought that the Quar would have ever grown to be what they are. Innovation is risky, but sometimes it pays off.
Good work Alex and I hope to see more of the Birrin soon.


  1. That's a really evocative painting.

  2. Great find Eli!!
    I had to have it and it is now my desktop.



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