I am an unabashed art nerd, art geek, or whatever you choose to call me, it’s true whichever way you look at it. Art is the one all consuming passion I’ve managed to sustain and feed my entire life without waver. I’ve had a fiery relationship with it as long as I can remember, both as a working artist and an avid enthusiast of art in all her forms. In short, it has permeated my childhood and engulfed my adult life.
Ron Bartlett’s illustrations for “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” were the first pieces that knocked me on my four year old ass, and it was complete love at first sight. My best friends growing up were Frank Frazetta, John Byrne, Bernie Wrightson, Basil Gogos, Curt Swan, Neal Adams, and so many more comic book artists that created the worlds that I wanted to live in as a kid, and gave me inspiration. As much as I loved reading comics, I enjoyed drawing them even more-first mimicking what was in front of me, and then branching out and creating my own voice. The inertia of those formative years was too strong though, and comic books could no longer sustain my appetite.
As I grew up, my hunger for discovering art was paralleled by my own growth as both an artist and a person. I became so familiar with their visions, they were now a part of my family. The effortless power of Jackson Pollock, the malignant shadows of Caravaggio, the lush flesh of Peter Paul Rubens, the harsh abstractions of Willem de Kooning; these became my vocabulary and the hallmarks of the idealized world I built out of the fragmented bits of their work incorporated through my eyes. Art has informed and defined my history. The first time I saw the unbelievable photorealism of Chuck Close and Charles Bell was as important to me as the night I nervously lost my virginity. I can still remember where I was when I first saw Francisco Goya’s “Saturn Devouring his Son”, or how I was starving for inspiration the day I stumbled upon the sugary landscapes of Will Cotton. Some people will have the Beatles or Neil Armstrong, I will always have Ralph McQuarrie.
That’s the beauty of art, it reflects history and progress indiscriminately, and at the same time feeds off them. It has a lineage older than Christ, religion, or philosophy; and what your’e looking at today is all a part of history. A Tex Avery cartoon was influenced by the unapologetic absurdity of Marcel Duchamp’s Dadaism. Takashi Murikami’s Louis Vuitton bags were birthed from Andy Warhol, who in turn created his brand of Pop art in reaction to the exclusionary attitudes of the American abstract artists of the 50’s and 60’s. Frank Miller’s black and white illustration style was bled from the same vein as Albrecht Durer’s 16th century woodblock prints. The macro can influence the micro, or vice versa, and it all creates so many delicious varieties of work…how could you not want to try them all?
I hope that my passion for art will be in the slightest bit infectious, and that my contributions to this wonderful site will be seen as nothing more than an open love letter to a harsh, but wonderful mistress. There will be no snobbery here, and I will do my best to spotlight as vast an array of work as possible; from the amazingly rendered tattoos of Nikko Hurtado, to the sublime paintings of Damien Loeb. Tim Hawkinson’s garage tinkering installations, Colin Christian’s retro-futuristic bombshells, the perverse sculptural work of the brothers Chapman, they all have a place here. I look forward to discussions with all of the nerdists readers, and hope for some recommendations.