Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Few Thoughts on My Artist Posts

Okay, this is going to be a bit short. I've been having some trouble writing more Artists You Should Know, and instead of staring at a blank page about it, I figured I'd tackle it head on and make a post all about that problem.

The goal of all of those posts is, of course, to widen the notice of very good artists and storytellers to an audience that may not know they exist and may think of comics as just a bunch of crude drawings to tell jokes. Now, as I've said over and over, my real goal is to present these people to other artists in the fine art world and the art education world: professors, students, etc. I know at least a few read the blog, so its working some, I hope, but I'm trying to find ways to really push these to people like art professors more without being annoying. Sure, comic fans may already have an awareness of these artists, and that's great, but what about those young art students that are just learning art history? Don't they deserve to learn about comic masters and modern comic artists as much as the fine art world?

I'm purposefully focusing on more modern, working artists for these posts. This is mainly due to the fact that there are already tons of resources for information and validation of guys like Jack Kirby and and Will Eisner. The masters that made comics what they are today and really defined a style and way of telling stories sequentially are well dealt with in other places. But working artists now? Not really so much, so I figure I could say a few things and get some eyes on people.

Which comes to the real stumbling block with the artist pieces I do here: picking an artist. There are so, so many current artists that deserve attention. Oddly enough, this large amount of people I want to talk about, even removing the greats of the past, is still enough to cause me to be unsure of who to talk about next.

So as a bit of a tease, here are the people on my not-so-short list for the future: Paolo Rivera, Sara Pichelli, David Aja, Dustin Weaver, Stuart Immonen, Jock, Alex Maleev, Stefano Caselli, Humberto Ramos, Marcos Martin, Olivier Coipel, Mark Morales, Laura Martin, Francis Manapul, Salvador Larocca, Frank Quitely, and a ton of others. They'll come in no particular order and that's the tough part, but they'll come.

The key point I keep harping on is the true struggle, though. These men and women are artists that are ignored by a large section of the art world that teach new artists. If comics get a mention at all, its usually much more 'indie' creators that tend to be something closer to post-modern artists and that opens a whole different can of worms. I am, clearly, a firm believer that more 'traditional' comic artists deserve just as much recognition in an art history course covering modern times as any fine artist, and that's why I keep hitting these points over and over.

Superhero comics are a truly American art form. They aren't kitsch, and the artists that work on them do not deserve to be brushed aside as they are continuing a tradition of American art that has gone unnoticed only because of how easily available it is to the masses. And beyond even that is the other point I'll never let go of: The ability to tell a story in series of static images is in no way easy, and it is a skill that can help nearly any artist.

So there's a slight rant from me, mostly on the mild side. In many ways, I wish I had been this strongly dedicated to these ideas when I was in college, but better late than never! And, hey, if you have any desire to see my own attempts at making comics, with, of course, my wonderful wife, check out our art blog as we finally start growing it. Yes, that's the second shameless plug, but I'm allowed that!

Don't worry, next post will be either one of the artist talks or another more heady, philosophical talk! I shall cease this rambling mess for now! Enjoy the holiday weekend.