After I saw this post by artist Yoku Shimizu listing 15 influences she’d have forever, I knew I had to draw up one myself.
I’m bursting with inspiration all the time, but the most important influences that keep surfacing in my work are:
1. Paul Klee. This guy’s pretty much an unrelenting genius. His style is deceptively simple, but if you try to draw like this, you will not be able to pull it off with nearly as much pinache. He knows how to work colors, and shapes, and create whimsical yet slightly sad worlds. I’m pretty sure I have entire sketchbooks that look like this from high school.
2. Dave McKean. Probably best known for his collaborations with Neil Gaiman (the covers of Sandman and the film Mirrormask), this guy was schooling everyone in Photoshop before most people had even heard of it. His style has many imitators, but no one is capable of doing quite what he does. I honestly don’t even try any more.
3. Diane Arbus.
The debate over whether her first name it pronounced “Dee-Anne” or “Die-Anne” is only one of the many issues surrounding this artist’s cryptic work. I love the square format and simple black-and-white portraits filled with the mysterious odd people. It’s some seriously stark shit, people.
4. Freak show posters.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I love this style of art. It’s a true mix of art and design — it serves an economic purpose, but is still beautiful. I love that people just used house paint on tarp and lugged these things around in the rain. Freak show posters are rugged, enduring, and quirky — just like the people they depict.
5. 90s Alternative/Industrial Rock.
Trent Reznor, Marilyn Manson, Billy Corgan, et cetera. These gents were my first exposure to the line of reasoning that got me to those freak show posters and Diane Arbus photographs. The late ’90s music video culture gave me a lot of tasty visuals to grow on.
6. Frida Kahlo.
Frida! You crazy bitch! I love you! I love your acceptance of your mustache, your symbolism, your sadness, and your colors. I even sort of loved the Selma Hayek movie about you. Sort of.