Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Inspiration: Norman Rockwell and JC Leyendecker...

I grew up with a massive Norman Rockwell coffee table book kicking around the house. By the time I was a teenager, this book was dog eared from me flipping through the illustrations. This image above still brings me back to when I was little, even then I was amazed at the brilliant artist/illustrator. I love the level of clarity and the use of a solid figurative silhouette in this piece. It's something every animator should keep in mind.. clarity above all. Clarity, proportion, weight, character... Norman would have been an epic animator. Every time I hang out at the society of illustrators here in New York, I think about Norman Rockwell and JC Leyendecker hanging out at the bar having a drink. Norman probably annoying JC with his fan boy questions. Rad. Enjoy the Leyendecker above, another one of my holiday favorites! I mean.. wha? that composition is just incredible... everything in a perfect place, working in complete harmony with the space. Wish I could have been there hanging out with those guys. Here's a great page of Santas, mostly by Rockwell and Leyendecker. Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!! I'm off to Wyoming to shoot more guns, see y'all in 2009!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Paintings that express MOVEMENT..

(above: pull #1,2,3 by psmith) "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." -Albert Einstein. I'm not a fan of the "static" image. For me, it's the flaw of a majority of portraiture and still life painting. There's no action. I want to know what the next frame looks like! I want to see a direction, feel the surge of movement. Animation is incredible because it's the only drawn art medium that does not use the static image, but despite this, movement has a way of creeping into great works of art. (above: nude descending a staircase, by marcel duchamp) It's interesting when people point out how difficult it must be to draw the thousands of drawings that go into making animation.. but it's NOT like drawing thousands of individual drawings, it's really just drawing a single MOTION.. you carve out the action incrementally frame by frame.. i NEVER think about it at individual drawings. (above: turkey pond, by Andrew Wyeth) I spot action in paintings and it really pulls me into the work, most great artists have this quality, Homer, Sargent, Wyeth, Duchamp, most futurists. Next time you see a work and it really captures your interest, perhaps it's because it has the quality of movement!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Admiring the Dapper Artists...

I was looking at this image of Winslow Homer (above left) the other day, and it struck me that we, as artists, just don't look as good as we used to. An individuals self worth is often gauged by the way they present themselves. Generally speaking, artists have historically been some of the most stylie people ever. Homer exemplifies what I'm talking about. A bit closer to home would be artists like Winsor Mccay (above right) and Walt Disney (middle). It seems to me that no matter what photo you see of these men, whether they were working or out on the town, they looked insanely stylish. I do know several artists today that seem to always look dapper, for example, animator John Canemaker (below left), seems to always be looking rad. Tom Otterness (below right) looks pretty good usually. But for the most part, artists these days seem to dress down. Maybe it doesn't matter.. I personally have my moments, but for the most part I'm just another skater turned painter, and I look like it. sigh. Yet another example how we're not as cool as our predecessors.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Jim Phillips Skate Art Books... i'm obsessed.

I bought the book, Skateboard Art of Jim Phillips the other day and have not put it down. It throws me back to when I was in middle school and got my first jolt of artistic inspiration. There's so many images in this book that I haven't seen since i was 13. The book, for me, is a nostalgic trip, covering a really cool time of my life, and giving me a style to shoot for that is obvious to this day, 20 some years later. Pick this book up if you can, it's truly a great addition to any library, especially if you want to get a grasp of where my little gen and culture came from. Other books you also may want to check out, Surf Skate & Rock Art of Jim Phillips, another must have, and also The Rock Posters of Jim Phillips. All fantastic collections of this very prolific graphic artist. His studios website is Here.