Monday, January 6, 2014

Beauty Is Embarrassing

You may not think you are familiar with Wayne White, but you probably are. If you've seen Pee Wee's Playhouse you have seen his work. He made all the puppets and did a bunch of voices too, but he is so much more than a puppeteer. He is an amazing artist in most any medium and blends whimsy with satire and social commentary as well as any. I loved this inspiring documentary and it made me want to get off my duff, so check it out if you want some inspiration.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Virgil Finlay

Once upon a time I fancied myself an artist and my biggest influence was a man named Virgil Finlay. He was an American pulp illustrator in the 20's through the 40's. It's sort of an odd choice for a teenager in the 80's to be stuck on, but some older friends into such things introduced him to me and I was hooked. The amount of detail he put into his pen & ink illustrations was just unbelievable. He used every tool in his arsenal to make the illustrations, adeptly using stippling, crosshatching & scratchboard in the same illustration. Do yourself a favor and see if you can locate the fabulous Underwood Miller books that reproduce this stuff in glorious detail on nice glossy paper. I spent hours pouring over them, but alas I never carried the illustration flame forward. Feast your eyes on a master and seek him out for yourself.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

New Update?

I spent the afternoon at Spillmanville. You never know what to expect from a studio visit with Bobby Spillman. All manner of creatures might be up for a visit with the master and that was the case today when I went for visit. I sat down to start my customary doodle while Bobby worked. Bobby's friend, forgive me, I forget his name, asked me to do something specific. It was like a no-pay commission. I'm used to that type shit, believe me. Here was the request: A pirate ship is besieged by a Kracken type creature. the pirate ship is "manned" by a bad ass girl who is large and in charge. The drawing was for his seven year old daughter. Ok, I think I got this. I can totally operate on a seven year old level. Wish I could have spent more time on it, but it belongs to a seven year old art collector now. So be it. I will leave you with a Spillman progression. Bobby is a genuine true blue artist and I have to admit a great influence and source of inspiration. I am glad to be able to call him my friend.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Bill Sienkewicz

In the early 80's when my obsession with comics was first taking hold I would occasionally notice cover that were tremendously striking. They really stood out from the genre junk that was all over the stands at that time. They were covers for a title called The New Mutants written by Chris Claremont and featuring art by Bob McLeod, nether of which were big draws for me. It was a title I tried to invest myself in, but it just never took. I think the reason I kept picking them up were the covers by this guy who was just doing insanely creative stuff that looked like no other comic at the time. That guy was Bill Sienkewicz. Those were some of the first comic cover that I truly just made me stare.
A handful of years later, in 1986 he started working with then visionary (sadly, no longer true) Frank Miller on the groundbreaking Elektra:Assassin which was an 8 issue run from Epic Comics, a sub-imprint of Marvel Comics. The art for that book was mind-blowing. He somehow was able to recreate what he was doing on cover in sequential stories. His art combined painterly photo realism and really loose almost childlike art with collage and mimeograph. The guy's art just seemed seductive and dangerous. It was utter rock n' roll.
From there he did a book with Alan Moore called Brought To Light :Thirty Years of Drug Smuggling, Arms Deals, and Covert Action. The subtiltle tells you pretty much what it is about. I haven't seen this book in some time and can only imagine the propert is mired in the same legal entanglements that haunt Miracleman. The next notable gig was something for Mad Love with a gentleman named Alan Moore. Moore was wildly popular already from Watchmen & V For Vendetta as well as Swamp Thing. The comic was set to be 12 twelve issue series that was an artsy look at the effects of big business on average joes with deeper philosopies woven throughout the story. Sadly, on two issues came out with Sienkewicz art and then he bailed due to time constaraints and handed the project over to an assistant named Al Columbia . That story is one of the more interesting tales of comicdom, but suffice to say, Columbia had a meltdown and the project was never finished. One of several tragedies of Moore's famous career.
Since those early days of comic genius, Sienkewicz has done lots of work, but never reacaptured that early glory. He does some first rate covers still, but most of the interior art he has done has usually entailed either penciling or inking, but rarely bot and Sienkewicz is an artist that needs total control to really deliver the goods. I miss his singular style that influenced countless peers including Dave McKean and David Mack.
Come back to comics, Bill. We miss you.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Life Of Pi

I was really excited when I originally heard Jean-Pierre Jeunet was making this and clearly that did not happen, but Ang Lee looks like he did a great job with this. Loved the book by Yann Martel.