love and bandwidth

15 inspiring humans [part 2 of 3]
August 10, 2009, 2:02 am
Filed under: art, design, inspiring humans, reviews

Continuing on from part 1 in my series of inspiring creative humans comes another slew of five that I’ve connected with over the years. Overall, I’m not really sure what the aim of this exercise is; I guess as I said it’s a wee stock-taking exercise for me and well, to hopefully share a little about some talented people others may not necessarily know. Depending on our proclivities and interests we all have this knack of following a different path to expose ourselves to different things which individually latch on to. Ok, lets get this proverbial party started, oh yeah!

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6. Paul Hornschemeier. Paul flies under the radar a bit and is often overshadowed by artists like Chris Ware, but nevertheless is an immense talent. He is a comic novelist but with a strong graphic design sensibility [and consequently does many non-comic projects]. He is capable of an enormous visual range from a nostalgic gag style to something more gritty and surreal. Hornschemeier also has a wonderful handle of colour especially flat muted tones, which shows some debt to Ware. The tone of his stories are usually quite a forced irony, riddled with nihilistic hatred and heart-felt reflection on nameless emotions. What is especially poignant in his stories are the calculated structure, sense of measured character development and layered story subtleties.

Underneath it all, Hornschemeier is a strangely hilarious human being. Some of his twitter comments he comes up with are the funniest stuff with this witty dry tone. For example: “That $15 double-ended PB&J spoon thing (one side tan, one purple) that “avoids the risk of mixing ingredients” MIGHT be a BIT unnecessary” & “As all cultures bleed into one, will there still be a fake British accent?” &  finally “Eggs, nobody asked you to expand in my stomach. That was never part of the deal. This is going to be hard to hear, but I’m glad you’re dead” … alright two more “Egad! As I’m looking out the window, the newly greened trees are repelling any attempt at formulating sarcasm. You win this time, nature” & in reference to Comic Con ’09 “See you tomorrow in the land where “mint in box” means a collector’s getting a chubby, not fresh breath” … there’s tonnes of them; he’s great. [Paul on Twitter]

Check out Paul’s blog, News and / or Headlice and his main portal, Forlorn Funnies.

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7. Jeremy Fish. I only stumbled across Jeremy Fish recently but I like everything I’ve seen so far. JF’s pictures seem to be rooted in an alternate world of weird combinations  – gnomes riding saddle-backed dachshunds and birds, heraldry, animals playing out human stereotypes and characters which yield to a yee-old  prospecting time. Skulls and the sun are omnipresent motifs, as are pipe-smoking adventurers traveling across great oceans and characters with gapping stomachs filled with winged time devices, or even engines and sewing machines. Also winnebagos with feet ridden by sloths which are also been ridden by winged kings bleeting a horn. Strange, strange stuff, but intentionally so. Everything seems to come with, or suggest a story. The process of putting these weird, sometimes disparate fragments together, these combined symbols which allude to bigger things, is the fun of the work. Usually, it’s either something to do with an interpolated historical event or attached to some sort of personal lived experience or incident.

Stylistically,  JF’s bold, precise outlines give his work impact as well as his earthy palette which shapes everything  as consciously ‘old’ looking. JF is an artist but one with a strong clean graphic quality which sees his work sitting in the unique realm of painterly illustration. A great gesture and compelling stuff. So glad I stumbled across the Fish.

Fish has a couple of sites but this one seems the most current, but you can also get a pretty good feel of his work via this studio visit and clip.

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[click on image to enlarge]

8. Mike Giant. Often just referred to as Giant, and not to be overshadowed or confused with Obey Giant, Mike  is a phenomenal [and legendary] illustrator,clothing designer, tattoo, graffiti and fine artist.  Like J Fish, skulls are a constant in his subject matter as are sexy woman, mexican derived motifs [death masks, latino gang culture], tattooed people, skateboards, bmx, religious iconography, luscious scripted typography, ornament and filigree. I’m particularly drawn to his clean line illustration which really shows the value of black and harsh descriptive contrast. This reminds me a lot of the work of one of my favourite comic artists Charles Burns, who shares this uncanny distinctive dark treatment.

You can see a range of his work at his site here, and read a good interview with him here + a video interview here.

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[click on image to enlarge]

9. Carson Ellis. Ellis is most recognised as the artist for the band, The Decemberists, though she is notable also as a children’s book illustrator and fine artist working in ink, graphite and watercolour. Her graphic style is folky and sophisticatedly naive, employing wacky perspective and strange fantastical elements, all beautiful rendered with a gentle distinctive line work and soft palette. Ellis’ gesture alludes to a time of past, as does some of her subject matter [dealing the irish famine, racism and war themes], though it feels all uniquely contemporary, like a modern day Uccello or Henry Darger. Although it may be a tenuous link, I’m inclined to see her work in relation to our local her Leo Bensemann, in particularly  his great Fantastica drawings currently showing at the National Archive.

Check out more of her work here.

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[click on image to enlarge]

10. Shawn Barber. Barber paints mostly tattooed people, tattoo artists, tattoo equipment, skulls [again] and plastic baby dolls. His oil gesture feels very fresh; often capturing multiple instances of figures in a single composition [usually arms/ hands, or a rotated face] which give a ghosty and milky presence to his works. Barber has the innate ability to capture perfectly the tone and light of the skin, and the subtle texture or rather personality of tattooed skin. Often Barber, leaves parts of the compositions incomplete [or roughly framed with a looser dripped or sketched ground] which stylistically is quite refreshing; painting with a realist intent but in no way trying to hide the medium as a gesture or process.

Barber has recently had a bit of fame, painting a celebratory portrait of Barack Obama which featured on the cover of the Wall Street Journal [view image here]. This has cemented him as someone of high caliber and with growing reputation. In 2008 Barber also released a book of his painted works entitled Forever and Ever, which now is one of my prized possession.

Visit his site here and commercial representation here. Also have a read of his article at Fecal Face and accompanying studio visit.

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Well that’s it for now. The third and final part coming soon. Sit tight.


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