Dance with Jason Raish
30 November 2023
"Welcome to the Arts: Dance" is the new book by Big Picture Press that takes you on an incredible journey around the world of dance. With Jason Raish's stunning illustrations and the inspiring words of Sir Alistair Spalding, this book is a celebration of the beauty and power of dance. We spoke with Jason to learn about the project. Here's what he said...
When creating such a body of work (45 inside illustrations and a cover) for a book how do you invigorate yourself to make each illustration as good as the last?
Having interesting subject matter helps. Having a long deadline and being able to sleep on the illustrations helps. Knowing that it will be printed lavishly in a huge book for years to come motivates me and as always, something innate in me wants to make the art great for myself!
The devil’s in the detail with this kind of book. In terms of researching the movement and the wardrobe and make-up, was this one of the more challenging projects you’ve been involved with?
I worked on a book of Queen Elizabeth II’s hats through the years which was a lot of work playing fashion historian but for this book, it was even more work making sure the clothing, poses, cultural aspects, and historical aspects were accurate. Photo reference searching and researching probably took at least 50% of the time. Many of these dances have very little representation on the internet so finding info and references for them was challenging, for example, the Kpanlogo dance from Ghana.
Was dance a passion of yours before this commission and what’s the most interesting thing you learned while illustrating this book?
Yes, I would say I like dance more than the average person. In university, I was part of all of the Asian dance groups. I watched performances of so many of the dances in the book like Flamenco in Sevilla and Kabuki at Kabuki Za in Tokyo but I also learned about so many. The one I’d want to see most is some version of Oskar Schlemmer's Das Triadisches Ballet (The Triadic Ballet) because the costumes are so bizarre and interesting to me as a visual artist. The dance I most want to do is Kpanlogo from Ghana because it is pure joy and danced with a group, it just looks like so much fun.
If you're a fan of Jason's work, you know where to go. Click here to view his portfolio!