Jul 16 2010 1:13pm

A is for Artist: A

There’s a peculiar syndrome among artists that parallels the discussions of many a record store clerk. “Oh you like, ’The Bloody Muggily Wumps’? Well you know they got their sound from this Swedish garage band from the seventies, and if you like them, you might like ’Muppet Rash,’ they’re out of Athens.”

Amongst artists “have you heard” becomes “have you seen.” Depending on whose chin is wagging, you might come away with the names of a couple of Argentinian comic artists, a slew of nineteenth century naturalist painters, or someone’s favorite Japanese printmaker.

In no particular order, other than alphabetical, we present to you this new weekly feature about artists who help power our pencils.

Edwin Austin Abbey
An American painter from the late 1800’s who was particularly famous for his scenes from Shakespeare. Greatly inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites and friends with Sargent. (All the cool kids knew each other.) If Van Dyke gets a Brown named after him, there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be an Abbey Red.

Jason Shawn Alexander
Contemporary figurative painter who studied with Kent Williams. His work has an unfinished, impetuous quality that’s both controlled and chaotic. This guy probably doesn’t own an eraser.

John White Alexander
A master of tonal arrangement and bold swirling masses of cloth. You’ve got to love the loaded dynamism in his compositions.

Aesthetic Apparatus
Several years back there was a renaissance of silk screen rock posters. Aesthetic Apparatus, a little shop in Minneapolis, may have been the cause of that awakening. Who knew you can make something look so good with only 3 colours? If you want to be a good illustrator, looking at good design won’t hurt you. 

Manu Arenas
Manu is a production designer for animation who works mostly in Europe. He’s working on what looks like an incredible graphic novel called Yaxin and the Faun. It’s penciled pages are built using whimsical watercolor washes over bold distinct shapes.

Steven Assael
One of the most prominent and influential realist painters working today. His exactitude and fearless use of color is mindblowing. He’s like the neon Rembrandt.

Image header for this week uses Blado Italic, based on a circa 1526 font designed by Italian calligrapher Ludovico degli Arrighi, and Catacumba, released in 2009 by Portuguese type designer Rui Abreu.

We are Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon. We live in a pocket-sized apartment in Brooklyn where we collect neat, weird things. Our home is abundant with books, old furniture, mismatching tea cups, and a cat named Cipher. We both illustrate stuff for money so we can continue to invent stories, buy shoelaces, watch puppet shows, and eat sandwiches.

seth e.
1. seth e.
Now this is what I was talking about over on the "how's my driving?" thread. I'm looking forward to the rest of this series. Kurt and Zelda's tastes seem to differ from mine, but it's all interesting stuff, and they're already linking to a bunch of artists I don't know, which is always good.

Also, yay Aesthetic Apparatus. In fact, yay in general.

captcha: the McLaren.
René Walling
2. cybernetic_nomad
Some really cool stuff there

Other artists worth checking out:

Neal Adams, need I say more?

Yoshitaka Amano, is one of those prolific and multi-talented people with the most amazing drawings ever. He's done concept work for animation (Vampire Hunter D) to video games (Final Fantasy), not to mention some comics (Sandman: The Dream Hunters) numerous book covers and more.

Giussepe Arcimboldo, he of the fruity heads, and certainly a big influence on some modern-day illustrators

Alfonso Azpiri was pretty popular in the pages of Heavy Metal but, like the magazine, he's not to everyone's taste.
seth e.
3. Oscar Baechler
As an artist, I love this idea!

Seriously though. How could you leave off Lawrence Alma-Tadema? He added his middle name to his surname solely to show up first in art catalogs. That's dedication!
seth e.
4. steve Ellis
This is a great idea guys...i can't wait to see what's coming up....
Yonatan Zunger
5. zunger
Is it just me, or does that painting by Abbey remind anyone else of Darth Vader and the Emperor at the beginning of Return of the Jedi?

I'm just saying, you have to watch out for those cardinals...
seth e.
6. clarentine
Is it Edwin Austin or Austin Edwin Abbey? The wiki linked to has it the obverse of the entry above.

(And what a great idea for a series of posts!)
seth e.
7. a-j
Looking forward to following this one
Irene Gallo
8. Irene
hi guys - I;m so looking forward to what you have coming up. thanks for starting this for us!

Abbey is an all-time favorite of mine. Anyone finding themselves in Boston should make a trip to the library and se the murals. Amazing. Here's a bad shaky-cam three60 of the room: Abbey Murals
seth e.
9. Duncan Long
Nice lineup. Can't wait to see the next installment.

Freelance illustrator for HarperCollins, PS Publishing, Pocket Books, Solomon Press, Fort Ross, Asimov's Science Fiction, and many other publishers and self-publishing authors. See my cover illustrations at:
Jane Patterson
10. jeliza
What an excellent idea for a series! And so helpful -- I'd never seen Jason Shawn Alexander's work before, and I think it's exactly what I need to be pondering for my current project. Thanks!
Vague Little Fortress
11. Vague Little Fortress
My road to sci-fi/fantasy, though I didn't know I was on it at the time, went via German Lit, art school for painting and drawing, song-writing, more painting, and it was the strange evololution of my paintings that got me to explore fantastic worlds by writing and reading about them, too.

I'm more inspired by the less literal visions, don't like too much detail taking freedom away from my imagination, so some faves include Philip Guston and Francesco Clemente, which interestingly enough, if you smash them together add up to something close to Manu Arenas. Definitely check more of that out!

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