Got the look

December 17, 2008 at 7:55 PM Leave a comment

trends of a feather

Russ and I went to First Friday a few months ago, in order to see the Todd St. John show. He is the brains behind HunterGatherer. I really loved his work, and was even happier to have a design show to see in Philadelphia. Although, a friend left the show unimpressed by his work.

I recently discovered that I tend to notice trends, either that or I’m OCD and find mundane connections between unrelated topics. Other people, like my friend, blaze their own trail and make trends. Maybe it’s my eye for pop culture. I’ve noticed what looked cool to me since I was 13 and started listening to the Smashing Pumpkins. I even owned a pair of silver pants. That said,  I’m an illustrator who hasn’t quite found her style, but loves to draw and create, I pay extra attention to what I like when I see it.

I’ve liked Charley Harper for a few years.  A classmate recommended looking at his work, as well as that of the local Eleanor Grosch. It was helpful because they love birds and I was illustrating The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde. (I highly recommend it for you pessimists out there) I loved what I saw from these two, and Eleanor states she draws inspiration from Harper. I recently noticed how this style is everywhere now. The style of simplistic shapes and retro fitted colors seems to be on everything.  Todd Oldham (who is already the cat’s meow) has put together the first complete retrospective of Harper’s work. Another big book I truly can’t afford but would love to own. Even if this is on it’s way to jumping the shark, I’m going to argue for it.

This “minimal-realism” style is getting good looks from everyone. And has been for a few years now. Yet those who are on the brink of the next wave are those who are stepping further away from the computer. Whether it’s the addition of textured brushes in Illustrator, or just scanning in a penciled drawing for an illustrator line. Hand-done quality is going to grow in popularity. As the computer grows, and the increased belief that anyone can use Photoshop, appreciation for quality hand skills will inevitably be produced. I really like where awesome people like Mike Perry and Damien Correll are taking this boat. Mike Perry also made some cool books, slightly more affordable than the Harper book.

A teacher of mine once told me that it was important to do what your happy with. He lived through the trend of 1980s and 90s airbrush. He refused to trade in his ink pen for the airbrush to get work. It’s now becoming retro and almost vintage, but for now, it’s still ugly.  Harper is a retro classic, and we’ll see what outlasts the next wave.

-posted by samsquared

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Entry filed under: art, design, Illustration. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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