Sunday, February 22, 2009

Illustrator Research 23: George Pratt

Pratt is an illustrator that has taught in New Jersey in the Joe Kubert School, Savannah College of Art, and SVA. He was born in Texas, but moved to New York Institute to study at the Pratt Institute. Enemy Ace: War Idyllic won Pratt a Harvey Award and an Eisner for best Graphic Novel. He is greatly influenced by Blues music, and a lot of the color pallettes and subject matter often reflect this interest. His website is here.

Illustrator Research 22: Marshall Arisman

Arisman is an American illustrator and painter born in 1938 whose work has appeared in several galleries around the world including being the first American artist in 1999 to exhibit in mainland China. His work is also in the permanent galleries of the Brooklyn Museum and Smithsonian institute. He has done editorial work for Time, The New Yorker, etc. Arisman got an MFA from School of Visual Arts where he is now the chairman of MFA degree program. His work is evocative of the transcendental, using surreal colors and textures. I especially enjoy his drawings which employ expressive repetitive contour lines to define form. His website is here. An interview here

Friday, February 20, 2009

Illustrator Research 21: Peter Hoffman

Hoffman is a German illustrator and designer. He studied at the Trier College of Applied Sciences in Germany as well as the Savannah College of Art and Design. Some of his clients are Gollenstein Verlag, Charleston Magazine, Visions Magazines, Fast Company Magazine, etc. His work features a lovely blend of line work and watercolor graphic styles. His website is here.

Illustrator Research 20: Guy Mckinley

McKinley is an English illustrator. He usually creates work for galleries and mural spaces. His process involves a blend of ink line work and various printmaking techniques. His blog is here.

Illustrator Research 19: Andrew Zbihyj

Andrew Zbihyj is an illustrator that lives and works in Toronto. He works mostly in collage, combining acrylic, ink and several experimental processes like controlled chemical burns and manipulated photographs. The result is a style that is unexpected and always charged with energetic line tempered with moments of smooth rendering. A lot of his work is politically charged on the pages of editorials such as Harvard Divinity, Esquire, Vibe, Legal Affairs, but mostly he creates work for galleries. His website is here. An interview here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Illustrator Research 18: Jamie Hewlett

Hewlett was born in 1968 on April 3rd in West Sussex England. He is best known for co- creating the comic book Tank Girl with Alan Martin (recently drawn by Ashley Wood) and co creating the animated band, The Gorillaz. His major influence was Brendan Mcarthy while he was in college drawing Deadline Magazine. His style is heavily influenced by Punk art and surrealism. His characters are zany, offbeat and sometimes don't make any sense, but in a good way that mesmerizes. He has worked independently, in conjuction with several UK bands, for 2000 AD, DC and with Hollywood making the Tank Girl movie which he describes as an unpleasant experience. An article about him can be found here.

Illustrator Research 17: Matt Rota

Matt Rota graduated from the Maryland Institute of Art in 2003 and then went on to graduate with an MFA at the School of Visual Arts. His clients have been La Weekly, Russian Esquire, Science News, New York Times, etc. Rota's work impresses me because of his unique ink line rendering as well as his ability to stage dramatic compositions. Some of the colors and methods of rendering he employs sometimes are uncannily creepy at times. Rota also taught at the Maryland Institute of art for a short period, but lives and works in New York. His work is here.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Visitng Artist Lecture: Gary Panter

I got to the lecture about five minutes late because I had a Human Evolution class. The auditorium was packed with a very narrow path to get through the bodies that obstructed the entrance. The atmosphere seemed so relaxed and jovial as Gary Panter was conversing with the crowd about how his daughter liked the Spice Girls and the fact that the youth should stop watching so much TV. His 'theme' for the lecture seemed to be advising young artists to find a voice outside the realm of popular culture. That media should not define who we are as individuals, as he gave the example of Chris Ware who doesn't watch TV, or read stacks of popular culture, instead he draws his cartooning reference from literature and personal hobbies like old period ragtime music magazines.

Panter's father was devout Christian and was frightened by his child's propensity toward the bug-eyed characters he mimicked from Low Rider Magazine art. He said "there's something about cheapness and lowliness in art that I enjoy." He worked as a janitor right after college, allowing him to draw on the clock and produce mysterious fr0g drawings for a lady that still doesn't know he drew them till this day. After that he got hired by a print shop and learned how to do 4 color separation. He encouraged all of us to learn the original traditional media first before relying solely on a computer, which I couldn't agree more with.

Some of the work he talked about included a pretty fascinating collaboration with an artist whose inking style was quite different from his. Charles Burns was an underground artist whose inking was so tight and methodical that Panter described "Charles would chuckle as he inked, knowing he was better than everyone else." They created Facetasm which I would very much like to pick up now. Aesthetically, it is a Jekyll and Hyde type book, with cross sections of faces drawn by both Burns with his tight inking style and Panter's looser more aggressive approach. He mentioned the Winsor Newton No. 2 series 9 brush as being the pinnacle of its kind. He also talked about how over the last few decades he's been trying to re-evoke the 60s through 'magic.' He started off with Psychedelic posters for light shows that he staged by himself. He produced these 45 minute light shows for several years and eventually ended up taking them to galleries in New York once he met up with a pretty prominent light show maker from the 60s where they garnered more attention. They looked like really surreal and atmospheric experiences in the slide, and I'm sure they are even much more in person, probably very mind boggling.
Rounding up the lecture he talked about how he like's to cut up random things and stick them in his sketchbook, like a "where's the beef" sticker. He mentioned some of his influences like Peter Saul, Oyvind Faulstrum, Yasuji Tenuoka,Jim Nut, James Brooks Eduardo Paolotzzi, etc. He advised us all to be makers of things instead of receivers, to Google Bower birds (with which somebody actually gave a Bower bird call out of the blue), and he said that sometimes "thinking coherently isn't a bad thing."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Illustrator Research 16: Francis Vallejo

Vallejo is an American illustrator born in Farmington, NM, but grew up in Detroit. He attended Ringling College of Art in Florida, majoring as a Computer Animation major, switching to Illustration after his third year. He graduates this may. Vallejo's style is a blend of caricature expressionism and painterly mark making. His work interests me because of the seeming ease his work embodies. His color choices are smart and unexpected and always seem to evoke the unique moods and tones. Some of his influences include Ilya Repin, George Pratt, Jason Shawn Alexander, Nikolai Fechin, etc. His clients include Moloko+, Vibe, Push LLC, 2d Artist, Fly Cards. His website is here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Visual Essay: Current Debate

"We want oil here. It will make everything better."

I've decided to carry out my visual essay on the ongoing issue of the conflict in the Niger Delta. It might seem like the obvious choice, but for a while I have felt pretty strongly about it for a number of reasons. I have tried to tackle the issue before in some of my other classes and work, but no attempts have come close to expressing my opinion as effectively as I intend. There are so many subjects to address withing the scope of the issue, but I've read more extensively about the subject and believe I've realized the core of my voice in the issue.

I first heard about issues relating to the Niger Delta about ten years ago. At the time the country was undergoing serious governmental transitions, there was hope as Nigeria was finally free of the unyielding tyrannical thumb of military dictatorship. Everyone's eyes were on the government and the dire need for deep rooted change. While we all waited for things to improve, certain things gradually regressed. Ongoing reports of inter- tribal war, Northern Nigeria conspicuously adopted Sharia law and more or less isolated themselves from the rest of the country, and gradually the Niger Delta became a trouble spot. There were continual reports of desperate poverty stricken indigens of the Delta cracking open pipelines, tapping oil to sell on the black market. Of course there were instances where the pipes would explode, killing hundreds and contaminating the environment. These were all events spurred by decades of maltreatment to the indigenous Ogoni and various people of the Niger Delta.

The issue has since taken center stage today because of its obvious ties to a more global problem; crude oil. The region has become, poorer, more environmentally unstable, and even more serious problems have risen in the form of militant groups claiming to fight in the name of justice. Their activities first came known to me while listening to the radio in Lagos in the summer of 2007. The radio host was talking about hostile groups in the Niger Delta kidnapping children of expatriate oil workers demanding a ransom to repair some of the damage done to the region and its people. He spoke about it as if their actions were a valid subject for debate, which shocked me because I thought the answer was clear. Of course two years later and a militant group now called MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta) have begun resorting to terrorist activities, bombing oil rigs and raiding convoys of oil company workers. As far as anyone knows they use the money they extort from the oil companies to further their own personal gain, buying more weapons and recruiting. The sad truth is that these groups utilize the frustration of the youth in the region as their fuel, ensuring a constant stream of manpower to aid their 'just' cause. You could argue that its an extreme reaction to an extreme situation, but history and current events have shown that these groups always end up detrimentally transforming the physical landscape into a wasteland and perverting the spirit of the people that live in these regions.

My visual essay will focus on the effects militant groups like MEND and the Ogoni Youth Council's perverted doctrines and the effects they have on the youth of the region and how they are obviously deteriorating the situation in the Niger Delta. I am considering making a series of satirical recruitment posters.

Vissual Essay 1: A Current Debate

List 10 debate topics
1_Real News or the Daily Show/ Colbert report?
2_White chocolate or Regular milk chocolate?
3_The Chicken or the Egg?
4_The Crisis in the Niger Delta.
5_The effects of America's popular culture on the world
6_ Are video games an art form or can they be?
7_Stem cell research
8_The Morality of Euthanasia
9_Religion in Public schools
10_Am I on the internet way too much?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Illustrator Research 15: Gina Triplett

Gina Triplett is an American illustrator whose commercial work can be seen almost everywhere, with clients like Apple, Target, Converse, Macy's, IBM, etc. She also works on editorial illustrations like Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and occasionally book publishers like Chronicle Books. Her work comprises of vibrant worlds crammed full of personalized pattern and ornament. She is also unique in the practice of frequently collaborating with her husband and fellow illustrator, Matt Curtius on a lot of projects. She shares a website with him here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Illustrator Research 14: Adam Ford

Ford is a video game level artist that works in Lehi, Utah for Avalanche Software. His career entails that he draws and paints a variety of character and environment illustrations. His work has a great sense of humor with interesting stylization methods. However his most interesting work to me are his life drawing sketches that he regularly posts on his site. His blog is here.

Illustrator research 12 & 13: Zelda Devon and Kurt Higgins

Devon and Higgins are illustrators that live in Brooklyn, New York. They work collaboratively to create illustrations for clients such as Dover Publishing, Scholastic Inc, Honest Tea, The L Magazine, etc. There work is a great blend of ink, watercolor, and digital color. They tend to generally work on fantasy stories with great combinations of muted backgrounds and prismatic colors. It is also quite impressive that two artists working on one image can achieve such unified visions. Their website is teetering bulb.