Working name of UK illustrator and writer Michael Thomas Wilks (1947- ). He began to publish drawings of fantasy interest with his highly intricate, architecturally imaginative portrayal of the eponymous Edifice or City featured in Brian W Aldiss's long narrative poem Pile: Petals from St Klaed's Computer (graph 1979). Pile itself – conceived by MW in terms evocative of the work of M C Escher and Giovanni Battista Piranesi – is a claustrophobic expression of urban Bondage. The Weather Works (graph 1983), a narrative poem and which MW both wrote and illustrated, again describes a kind of edifice, in this case the works where weather is made. The Ultimate Alphabet (graph 1986; augmented with explanatory text vt The Annotated Ultimate Alphabet 1988) – comprises 26 compound illustrations, each devoted to objects whose name begins with a particular letter (the one devoted to the letter S alone contains 1229 separate items). The Ultimate Noah's Ark (graph 1993) consists of a single painting – presented whole and then broken into 16 details – containing 353 paired animals, variously placed, plus one singleton which readers are asked to find. MW's work combines an astonishing grasp of detail plus an exuberance of imagination. [JC]
other works: In Granny's Garden (1980 chap), with narrative poem by Sarah Harrison (1946- ), for children.
Michael Thomas Wilks