Masters of their Art

For day 2 of my blog takeover I thought I would talk a little about the modern artists out there that really get my eyeballs burning. These are the artists who’s work I look at and I just can’t quite work it out. As an artist I take quite a lot of pleasure in looking at other artists work and mentally deconstructing it, looking at the shapes and lines, focusing on the key-lines and lighting, trying to figure out the technique they used to create their lines or incredible shading, not so I can then incorporate it into my work, but more just to understand it and respect how clever they have been. It’s somewhat a pain at the same time as I find it hard to simply enjoy a piece of artwork for what it is. But these are the artists where I can’t see that starting point, that initial line, the place where they decided to begin their image and proceed to create such beautiful artwork.


Enoki II, James Jean, 2013 


James Jean is my number one artist. He is the one that baffles me the most. I genuinely have no idea where to begin with his work. Its beautiful, its Ethereal, its colourful, its peaceful..its everything. I defy anyone to not look at James’ work and be stunned into silence. He came to my attention through his magnificent work on Fables, but ever since then I have followed him rabidly, he disappeared for a bit but returned to the art world recently. Welcome back.


Paul Jackson, 2013


Paul has been my friend for a good few years now, we bonded over the fact we worked in the alternative music industry on CD’s and tee’s, and were both struggling to move out of that comfort zone. We wanted to put on shows and create art just for ourselves. 3 years down the line and he is not only doing that but he is doing it with furious detail and stunning ability. When it comes to black and white pen drawing I know of no one else who is as stunningly detailed as Paul.


Paradise, Chet Zar, 2011


Chet Zar’s work was brought to my attention by the ever awesome Godmachine. He kept talking about his work, so I had to check it out. I was so glad I did as his work is filled with strange creatures, figures and landscapes painted with incredible talent, each one possessing a unique glow, the lighting always beautifully glinting off the creases and skin in his creations. Not only that, but it also ignited my interest in painting again. Thanks Chet, you’ve made me pick up my paintbrush again!


Canus Dirus, Aaron Horkey, 2013


So much detail, and so many tiny lines. Every piece by Mr Horkey is a pleasure to explore. He can take the most simple of ideas and turns them into stunningly detailed masterpieces. You can spend hours just searching through each area of a piece. When looking at his work I cant help but wonder how much time it takes to create them, a stunning artist who is at the forefront of the gig and movie poster movement. He also has an incredible grasp of typography and creates amazing hand rendered type, one of the hardest things to do, but he nails it every time.


Pacific Rim, Kevin Tong, 2013


Colour and glow. That’s what I think of when Kevin Tong comes to mind. He has an amazing ability to take 3-4 colours in a screen-print and make it look like a 12 colour print. Understanding how to use the technique of screen-printing to its best is incredibly tough to do, but Kevin Tong pulls it off every-time and makes it look effortless.


Bestial Machinery, Florian Bertmer, 2005


So here’s where we move into the music side of my favourite artists, where metal and art meets. I remember seeing Florian Bertmers work many years ago when I was in university on a CD in a local record shop. Bestial Machinery by Agoraphobic Nosebleed (2005), what a band, and what a cd cover. At the time I didn’t really know what I was doing with my own work, and didn’t quite understand where I was going, or if I would even be an illustrator. But seeing work like Florian’s on cd covers for awesome bands like Agoraphobic nosebleed set me off, it got me interested in working for the music genre I loved so much.


Axe To Fall, Jacob Bannon, 2009


Like most people, my first introduction to Jacob Bannon was as the singer of the mighty Converge, one of the most important bands in modern Hardcore & Metal. They took extreme noise and turned into a genuine art form. The masterpiece that is Jane Doe was the album that turned everyone’s heads, those that hadn’t heard of converge most certainly did after Jane Doe. But that’s also when I realized Jacob Bannon was more than just that wiry singer that terrified me on stage, he is an amazing artist. He created the iconic Jane Doe artwork, and his mastery of contrast and ink textures was absolutely fascinating. It’s also most definitely something I tried to emulate in my university years. Ever since then I have been following his artwork probably more closely than the music, and it gets even more fascinating over the years, he creates these layers of textures and colour that are beautifully honed. A true inspiration for Art within the alternative music scene, and he is absolutely an artist who shaped who I am today.


Phantom Limb, John Dyer Baizely, 2007


Much like Jacob Bannon, Baizely came to my attention as the lead singer/guitarist of Baroness. And once more not only is the band incredible but so is his artwork! Much like Bannon, I’m fascinated by the relationship between the music and the artwork, the use of textures and colour, dark and light, sharp and soft, all these ideas that you can relate to music but also in an artistic way. A form of Synesthesia, music and art intrinsically linked. Of course I could just be reading too much into it and John Dyer Baizely is just a fantastic artist who makes every CD he does art for look like a timeless masterpiece, each one sitting next to the other like pieces in a gallery. And yes, I’ve definitely bought cd’s in the past simply for his artwork…the music’s always pretty good, but his artwork’s often the selling point for me.


So those are some of my favourite artists, the people that its always a pleasure to see more art from. I hope they keep creating such stunning work. I could write about many more artists that i love the work of, but instead just click these links and feast your eyes upon the beauty. Godmachine, Richey Beckett, Ken Taylor, SinEater, Tom Hovey, Sutfin, Hydro74, WeThreeClub, Luke Drozd, Johnny Crap, Skinner, Joshua Belanger, Tom Gilmour, Steak Mtn.