Looking around a few websites yesterday I stumbled across a couple of great artists. As 'art' goes they are probably closer to illustration, but I guess that's why I like them. First off is the work of Esao Andrews. It's pointless describing artwork when you can just look at it, but to give you a rough idea think Victorian macabre. This site might take a while to open (unless it's just my steam powered PC) but it's worth it for a very nicely animated site. Jumping from that site via the pixelsurgeon interview I discover a review of an artist called John Currin whose work I really liked probably for the same reasons I like Lucien Freud's artwork. Currin doesn't seem to have a website of his own that I could find but a quick google search for 'John Currin artist' turns up quite a lot of articles on him. Andrews namechecks an artist called Ray Caesar but I didn't care for his work as much. Unlike Andrews and Currin, Caesar's work is digitally produced which I'm not a fan of (although I'd be lying if I said it was immediately noticeable), but the really problem is that Caeser's work seems to stray too far into Goth/Geiger territory for my liking.
Back to art styles that mirror my own preferences I should mention Simone Lia's work. I discovered her work over a year ago now when I picked up a children's picture book called 'Follow The Line' and was instantly jealous of someone doing similar paintings to me but doing them incredibly well. My artwork is not that similar but it's obviously in the same area. Lia's work is beautiful, I managed to get another picture book by her called Billy Bean's Dream. I was very pleased to find out that she also did comic work. About a year ago Bloomsbury packaged some of her comics with Tom Gauld into a book called Both. Recently Lia has been working on a comic called 'Fluffy' which is available from her site and also from a few comic shops as well as the trendy design book shop 'Magma' in London and Manchester and the ICA.
I’m still thinking about painting something myself. I suppose I should just pick up some brushes and start painting, but I really have no idea what to paint. This is what stops me so often and was always a sticking point when I was younger. Although I do have a pretty good imagination (as you’d hope, what with me wanting to do creative stuff) it doesn’t seem to work in the way I’d like it to – I rarely have those sudden flashes of ideas of what to do that you imagine artists get. The way my imagination works is that it just wonders of on it’s own (I often get very lucid daydreams to the point where even though I know the daydream didn’t actually happen I still feel as though it did) If I’m lucky I’ll see something that I think looks interesting and it’ll react with something else I’ve though in my head and suddenly I’ve got the beginnings of an idea that I try and wrestle into something workable. Simian Smith came about as just those two words. It’s amazing how many comic folk have this sort of obsession with monkeys, they crop up all over the place in comics since the 60’s (Superman or the Flash or Jimmy Olsen were always turning into an ape or fighting one or falling in love with one…. No, really) One day I’d been reading some monkey related story and the name Simian Smith popped into my head, I liked it, I kept coming back to it. Eventually my interest in crime stories (much stronger back then than now) led me to giving him the job of Private Detective, the pun on primate was pretty obvious, I had a character. That was about seven years ago, it’s taken all this time for me to finally do something with him.
Whilst I was thinking about a couple of picture book ideas (one was based on the fact that I was trying to think of an animal I’d like to draw in a picture book – frog, I thought, I like them. How a bout I give a bowler hat to make it interesting, yeah okay, but why? I dunno, maybe he goes traveling in it. Oh, that makes sense, he must be leaving his pond…. And so on until the story is ready to draw) and suddenly I thought of a really filthy dirty house, why was it so dirty? Eventually I had a new idea. Where did it come from? I have no idea.
I get terribly jealous of people who have fertile imaginations and turn out picture after picture. Keeping a sketchbook was supposed to get me drawing stuff in the hope that I’d exercise my brain and imagination until it was strong enough to produce stuff. It sort of works, but since I’ve started thinking about painting I’ve had no ideas. Doing a portrait of Rebecca seems like a pretty obvious choice but then I wonder how she should sit, what kind of pose should I go for, etc.
Ok, I’ll take it easy for the rest of the day and then I’m going to start working on something, sitting around blogging may not get work done but it does sometimes galvanize me into doing something.