Last weekend I decided to go on the Open Studio & Art Trail. Essentially it is a free event where artist and craftspeople from the local community open up their studio to the inquisitive public. It’s a great idea, and I have not heard of many events similar to this, but I do (selfishly) hope the idea spreads to other parts of London.
Upon my sunny trails I stumbled into the house of watercolour artist, David Nunn. His work consisted of people, places, and pets that he has meet on his many travels. Mr. Nunn’s attention to detail and the control he has of watercolours is stunning. I know it’s an odd thing to appreciate, but I really like the fact that he uses gouache to bring out white hairs.
Part of the French creative collective L’Encre Blanche, Yvan Duque brings a surreal and comical style to the mix. His landscapes are very atmospheric, comprised of simple shapes and homogeneous colours. His fun characters, large-eyed and timid, often sit with uncomfortable expressions. I really like the juxtaposition of introducing these very cute characters into these rather gloomy environments.
I am absolutely in love with the work of José Luis Ágreda. Born in Seville, Spain He is an illustrator and cartoonist working in editorial, advertising and publishing. He has worked on a children book series called Carla, which has 14 titles to date. Mr. Ágreda also received the Best Spanish Comic award at the Barcelona and Madrid comic shows for his graphic novel Cosecha Rosa, and is currently working on it’s follow up.
Mr. Ágreda’s style varies, his children book art is very distinct to his editorial pieces. His colours can range from using just tones of a single colour all the way to full colour. A consistent element throughout his work are his fluid stylised shapes. This simplified and abstracted style allows his work floats between child-friendly and mature themes effortlessly.
Antoine Carrion is comic artist based in France. He has collaborated with authors Christian Lehmann to create No Pasaran and Antoine Ozanam on L’Ombre blanche. Partnering for a second time with Ozanam, they produced the successful one-shot, Temudjin. Illustrated entirely digitally, Temudjin tells a fantastical version of an adolescent Genghis Khan, guided by a shaman, on a journey to becoming the man history knows.
Antoine Carrion’s artwork is consistently rousing and emotive. Beautiful use of thin line hatching give his work a very traditional feel. Not to mention how incredible his digital paintings are! You can find more of his work on his tumblr site (warning: some nudity).
John Thomas Alexis Craig (also known pseudonymously as Jay Taycee and F. C. Aljohn) was an American comic book artist. Talented as both an illustrator and a writer he was posthumously inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2005.
Johnny Craig was a very active part of many EC Comics’ best-selling horror titles including, Tales from the Crypt and The Haunt of Fear. Impeccably pencilled and inked, his clear and uncluttered style gave his stories the type of suspense found in a Hitchcock film.
For those of you acquainted with comic book history, you may already recognise his work. During the whole Seduction of the Innocent debacle. At the Senate hearings on juvenile delinquency Mr. Craig’s Crime SuspenStories #22 cover was exhibited by the prosecution. The cover, which depicts an axe-wielding man holding a woman’s severed head, was presented and question whether it was “in good taste”. Which EC publisher Bill Gaines obtusely responded, “Yes, sir, I do, for the cover of a horror comic”.
The uproar surrounding Seduction of the Innocent and outcome of hearing led to the creation of the Comic Code Authority, which subsequently resulted in EC’s horror titles folding. Bitter irony but not all bad, Mr. Craig continued to work briefly in horror comics and later went on to do several jobs for Marvel and DC.