These are just some of the illustrators that really made an impact on me many years ago in art school and still inspire me today. I love the work of many, many illustrators of all genres, but I have a tendency to gravitate toward a somewhat darker and more mysterious or expressionistic sensibility. These are some of my all time favorites. (see examples shown in order below)
Franciszek Starowieyski (1930-2009) was an absolute master of the Polish Poster. His bizarre figures and creatures disturbed and fascinated me when I first encountered them as a child in my father’s collection of GRAPHIS magazines back in the 1970s. Roger Dean, most famous for his phantasmagorical collaborations with the band YES. I first became aware of his work through listening to the music of YES and then through his classic monograph “VIEWS”, originally published in 1975. Ralph Steadman, probably best known for his collaborations with writer Hunter S. Thompson. I had taken his book “AMERICA”, pub.1974, out of the local public library as a teenager. I wasn’t particularly interested in the political content of the drawings, but more taken with the extraordinary draftsmanship and outrageous energy of the art, which seemed to border on insanity. Marshall Arisman, editorial illustrator who often depicted violent or challenging subject matter. His dynamic use of color and form knocked my socks off when I first came upon his paintings at the Society of Illustrators in NYC. And finally, innovative illustrator Brad Holland, who is well known for his New York Times Op-Ed spots and editorial work for Playboy magazine. His astonishing, surreal and allegorical pen and ink drawings and paintings have a distinctive and unique stamp that I was immediately drawn to. If you’re not familiar with the work of these artists, do a Google image search and enjoy!
...Stunning book I recently picked up, “The Black Drawings-Philadelphia Pennsylvania 1974-1977” by the Quay Brothers (edited by Edwin Carels and published by Tommy Simoens and Ludion). Essentially blueprints for the remarkable and incredibly unique imagery that would emerge throughout their filmmaking career, the drawings were created during the 1970s when the brothers were still working as illustrators. The drawings are very enigmatic...moody and beautiful, really showing the development of many of their obsessions and visual idiosyncrasies. In addition to the Black Drawings, there are also examples of their illustration work and a number of great photos and film stills. The design of this book is a knockout, really gorgeous. If you’re a die hard Quays fan like me, definitely grab this immediately before it becomes difficult to find.
The Art of William Basso