For July’s QuickTalk, each member made an influence map showing aspects of art history that affect their work. We’ll be posting each member’s map over the next few days, so keep watching!
Here are nine of my biggest visual influences. Of course, this list could go on forever, and like most of us, I’m sure I’m influenced by things I’m not even aware of. But this is what I’ve picked (left to right, top to bottom):
Gorgio de Chirico: The underrated forerunner of Surrealism (which I’m big into as a whole, really).
Edward Hopper: A quintessential American realist and hella moody.
Pulp magazine illustration (image by Norman Saunders): Guns, gangsters, aliens, cowboys, monsters—it’s all there. I’m drawn to pulp art for how weird and extreme it is, and how big and bold the technique is.
Children’s art: I always find kid art inspiring for its emotional rawness and limitless imagination.
Esther Pearl Watson: OK, so I’m big into UFO’s, but whatever Esther’s subject matter, she handles it with a personal touch and wonderfully unrefined simplicity.
UFO/extraterrestrial culture: Since I was a kid, I’ve been obsessed with aliens. Visually, UFO culture ranges from cartoony, pop images and Roswell kitsch to abductee’s drawings of their captors and creative interpretations of ancient imagery.
Maurice Sendak: I’ve noticed most of my favorite children’s books are about little boys who sneak out of the house somehow in the middle of the night.
Georgia O’Keefe: O’Keefe painted everything in big, simple shapes. I remember a professor telling me once, “If you want to paint like Georgia O’Keefe, just paint like Georgia O’Keefe.” Vague advice, but I took it to heart.
Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Giesel: A Seuss illustration is full of color, movement, brilliantly realized imagination and a visual rhythm that matches his written verse perfectly.
Hey! Here’s a thing I made for QDC. It was hard to pick just a few influences, but talk to me at a party or something and I’ll fill in the gaps for you.
What I’m Working On, July 2014:
1. Since I’ve been so nomadic recently, most of my drawing in the past month has been sketchbook-based.
2. Along with QDC memebers Julia and Jessica, I was at ICON8 in Portland, and I’m trying to keep riding the high. Here’s me and a bear, photo courtesy of Julia Lavigne.
3. I have a fully operational studio set up here in Denver now, so it’s time to bust out the paints. I’m also gathering supplies to practice some of the “jailhouse printmaking” techniques I picked up in an ICON workshop taught by the Clayton Brothers.
Be an artist, see the world, be pals with bears.*
*Do not try to be pals with actual bears. Bears will eat you.
Nap Guy, 2014. Sketchbook page: ink, gouache and collage on paper, 9x12”.
This is a portrait of a man Reina and I met in an elevator at ICON last week. He had lots of advice about napping for us.
Nights and Weekends, 2014. Ink and digital color, 16x20”.
Freebie month! I made a piece about the day job/dream job duality within which most artists (including myself, of course) operate. I may be showing this in an exhibition this summer. Don’t quit your day job!
"The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable." —Kurt Vonnegut
What’s up, Portland? I’m flying in tonight for ICON, the Illustration Conference. This piece will be on display at the Land Gallery as part of the ICON8 Work+Play exhibit. The show is up June 11-Aug 24, with an opening reception this Friday at 8pm. If you’re in the City of Roses, come check it out. More info here.
A sketchbook page from my stop in Raton, New Mexico last week. When you’ve lived twenty-four years in flat places like central Illinois, coastal Georgia and north Texas, mountains are a novel landmark.
Threshold, 2014. Ink and digital color, 8x10”.
I actually had a phase a few years ago where the only thing I painted was interiors, so with this assignment I was fighting a bit to keep from repeating myself. The result here is kind of a creepy vintage illustration.
A thing for QDC.
day 25 - a quarter of the way through! sir kenton kitten is here to forge a life in the mountains and he MADE us tortillas(!) and shared quesodilla ingredients with us and it was delicious. i am full of beer and excite.
Hangin’ at Chris and Mo’s place, slingin’ some whole wheat tortillas. I’m kind of a nomad right now, so most of my posts will probably be sketchbook type stuff for a week or two.
Dallas Zoo Sketchbook Page, 2014. Ink on paper, 9x12”.
I went to the Dallas Zoo by myself last week because I had free tickets, but I didn’t know anyone patient enough to follow me around while I drew all the animals. I spent a lot of time in the herpetarium, because I don’t get a chance to draw scaly things from life very often.
What I’m Working On, June 2014:
I’m working on taking my own goddamn advice for once.