Influence Map 1 Picture

Here we go; My first stab at one of these Influence Charts.
From left to right starting at the top (in no particular order) are my top 10 artistic influences, plus an honorable mention which will become clearer as my notes unfold.
So without further ado~

- Barry Windsor-Smith. Looking at Barry’s work hurts my eyes in such a good way. I remember first seeing his work on the X-Men tour-de-force ‘LifeDeath’ double-sized story and wanting to give up drawing altogether – the panels were that freaking good! Again, with how his stories in Epic Illustrated would foster that particular emotion sensation in me for the rest of my life as an art student. With dodged determination I would continue to better myself as an artist. I owe that part of my artistic temperament to Mr. Windsor-Smith.

- Bernie Wrightson. I was introduced to Bernie’s spectacular work through his illustrations for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Then his adaptation of the first Creepshow movie and the illustrations for Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf, basis for the film Silver Bullet. Years later I collected his original run on Swamp Thing, Eerie, Creepy, and whatever I could lay my hands on.

- Walt Simonson. Walt was an influence before I was ever aware of what an influence was. It was through his art that I discovered, at a very early age, that different artists drew different comics. I must have only been about 6 or 7, and just savvy enough to read the little credits box on the splash page of Metal Men comic, and then pestering the local news stand workers for any other comics that he did the art for. They rarely were helpful, but through my own rabid vigilance I never missed another issue done by Walt, no matter how obscure.

- Frank Frazetta. Most everyone I know knows Frazetta’s work by the Death Dealer painting used for the Molly Hatchett album cover, and, sad to say, I was too. It wasn’t until I was in sophomore year of high school when I began reading the Ace paperback editions of the Conan stories when my scope of Frazetta’s work was expanded exponentially. His iconic paintings stood head and shoulders above the countless imitations, knock-offs and blatant rip-offs. I have copies of his prints, and volumes of his work, along with the bio-film Painting With Fire which is currently one of the most influential DVDs in my collection, a viewing of which never fails to bring a breath of fresh air to whatever painting I’m working on.

- Michael Kaluta. While Walt Simonson was one of my earliest influences, Kaluta is the most current. His Art Nouveau sensibilities, drafting skills, and perspective challenge me with each new piece to push my self to work harder and dare more. Bravo sir! Bravo!

- Michael Parkes. One of the best things that came out of my brief marriage was my ex-wife’s introducing me to Parke’s artwork. We collected books of his work, prints, and old issues of Omni magazine that featured his illustrations. To this day the influence of his rendering of angel wings is evident in my work. His approach to staging and presentation of personal mythology through a painting was a revelation. I just wish I could give a shit what stone etching is all about.

- Ken Kelly. Here's where my honorable mention falls. At the beginning of his career, Ken's paintings were haunting in the the kind of way they could have been bastard Frazetta creations. The piece pictured here is from the cover of the Berkley Conan collection of Red Nails, and to me is his most powerful piece. His covers for Berkley continued to draw me in to reading even more Robert E. Howard stories, an even bigger influence in my early years.

- Jeffery Catherine Jones. Rounding out the collection of artists from the famous Studio, JC’s painterly esthetics balanced the other members of the Studio’s pulp, horror, and Pre-Raphaelite themed works. Jones’ ability to bring forth images evocative, fantastical, and terrifying is rarely matched. His use of fantasy figures in hyper-realistic natural settings has yet to be duplicated, in my humble opinion.

- Frederick Lord Leighton. These last three are artists which were brought to my attention through the works of the members of The Studio. Leighton being by far the best of the Pre-Raph’s.

- Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Originally discovered rooting through attacks of Pre-Raphaelite art books, I developed a deeper appreciation for Parkes staging and where his notions of personal mythology came from. Alma-Tadema’s romantic figures on marble and stone balconies and plazas, overlooking the tranquil waters of the Mediterranean are truly inspiring.

- John William Waterhouse. I never had an appreciation for the female figure in mythology until I studied Waterhouse’s approach through his then contemporary settings. What he did was bring in a whole world of possibilities, arranging and plucking dissonant strings to bring forth a richer, fuller tapestry of myth to the weave. Can you picture Tennyson’s Lady of Shalott without seeing Waterhouse’s famous painting? That’s what I thought.
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