Filter/Gauge has been quiet as of late, as you might have noticed. Well, I have (fortunately) been busy with some design work and that has taken up a lot of the time that I would have been spending writing, and so my last week was a bit hectic. With two of the three items now complete, I have—for now—some time to write. As I have said previously, it takes about a week to prepare each post, so I take each post quite seriously, I do not want to publish posts that I don’t believe are of high quality and would rather not post than give you something mediocre.
This week’s post stems from a situation that I could not pass up, a chance to take part in Portfolio Review Day at the Maine College of Art (MECA); specifically in the Illustration department. It is an honor to give advice to students, especially since I was so recently in their position, and in honor of being asked to critique some illustrations, this week’s post is about illustrators. Now, I chose five artists, all with signature drawing styles, but could have chosen many, many, more. Expect to see a lengthy Tumblr post devoted to others I considered. Also, you might have noticed this is a Part 1 post; expect the next part in roughly a month, after I take part in the review, featuring the students I spoke with. I’m excited.
First this week is an illustrator who is basically the last of the original artists that I was first thinking of featuring when I began this blog.* Obviously it has taken a while for me to get to him, but McBess is worth the wait. Matthieu Bessudo, aka, McBess is a French illustrator with a very distinct drawing style, almost like a revival of Depression-era Mickey Mouse or Betty Boop cartoons. Typographically, he has chosen to evoke the era as well, with big, chunky cartoonish sans serifs. As you will see, his drawings are feature rich and full of details that make it worth it to look for them. His huge portfolio of work includes a few figurines—in his signature style, posters, and varsity jackets. On the side, he is also a member of the rock band The Dead Pirates.
Dan Matutina, aka Twistedfork, is up next. An extremely talented illustrator, he has had clients like ESPN, Wired, Google, and Paypal, and is the co-founder of Plus63 Design Co. Matutina is a designer and illustrator based in the Philippines with a deep love of science and science fiction; both have influenced his work and each image tells a story. I have stated here plenty of times about my great love for photography, but the medium that I end getting the most practice with in my design is illustration and Matutina’s geometric style is one that I look to a lot in my own experimentation in addition to the next artist down the list, Invisible Creature. Matutina has been featured on basically any art and design site you can think of and you should check out his work and maybe sit down and start drawing.
Don and Ryan Clark, the designers also known as Invisible Creature, are—as you will find out in a few weeks—a huge inspiration to me and a big part of the reason that I am a graphic designer today (more on that later).
I shall attempt to keep this description brief as I am prone to lengthiness when talking about IC.
Based in Seattle, the Clark brothers originally co-founded Asterik Studio, but after five years there Asterik split to become Invisible Creature and Beautiful Union. At IC, both Clarks were able to focus on graphic design for the music industry, and have since branched out to include clients like Target, LEGO, and Chipotle. Most influential to me has been their music packaging both as Asterik and IC, but they are both phenomenal illustrators and it is their illustration that has taken them into the larger world of commercial design. They have since branched off into the world of toys as well, which I basically see as an extension their illustration work.
Luke Twyman is the fourth illustrator featured today, and is unique among this week’s group in that his practice has a focus on education. He also has the unique distinction of being the first artist on Filter/Gauge that I have posted a .gif of. So there. Twyman is the designer/illustrator behind Whitevinal Design. Twyman has impressed me for a few reasons: his efforts to educate people through various websites like hereistoday,com, and his very clear stance about which types of clients he will take and which he will refuse—i.e., oil companies and mega-corporations, and the like—it is a bold move and one that many of us will not ever have the resolution to say. Twyman’s illustrations are dark and quiet, like the time of night when most people are dreaming, but instead of filling our heads with fantasy worlds this is when he teaches us about the world we live in regardless of what we, or anyone else might think.
Lastly, we have JW & Melissa Buchanan, better known under the moniker, Little Friends of Printmaking—that’s right, everyone today has an alias, also an F/G first—a
Milwaukee, WI Los Angeles based husband and wife team. I love Little Friends, and much to my regret, I missed a chance to see them when they came to MECA a year or so ago. They are prolific poster makers; creating both client-based and personal work in their basement studio. Little Friends have created posters for bands like Flight of the Conchords and Sonic Youth; and have a series of posters, shirts, prints, and pennants focused on Wisconsin pride—especially in the wake of anti-union views expressed by some in the state legislature (to say the very least about the subject). A hallmark of their work is a sharply honed sense of humor and a colorful kaleidoscope of groovy psychedelic imagery. And bikes. Sometimes lots of bikes.
Lastly this week, I want to mention a new project that everyone will have the chance to participate in; I would love to start a collection essays—probably about 500 to 750 words long about an artist that has been a big influence on your art and why. In a few weeks I will kick it off with an essay about Invisible Creature. More details in the weeks to come and I will give all of the details at the end of my own essay. Filter/Gauge is not just about my view of the world of art, or my opinion, and I have never wanted it to be; now is your chance to talk a bit about yourself and your practice. I am not necessarily looking for professional writers, but if the submitted pieces are at least at high school writing level that would be great. So get thinking!
That is all for this week, check out the artist’s websites and maybe buy some posters to cover that ugly wallpaper in your apartment. Remember to follow Filter/Gauge on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, and Pinterest!
*The other artists were: Mike Bayne, Thomas Doyle, Aesthetic Apparatus, Mark Weaver, and Michael Cina.