by Dan Nadel
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Because I know Comics Comics is full of discerning readers of visual stuff, I want to point you all to a brand new PictureBox book: Overspray. Check out Norman’s blog about the subject of airbrush art. It’s a great, great read. For fans of imagery and illustration, this book is a must, in my humble opinion. It doesn’t fit into a NYC-centric vision of conceptual illustration or ephemera. But, perceived “depth” or “importance” in illustration has, for the last 30 odd years been calculated along the Steinberg/Push Pin conceptual illustration axis. I love this stuff, but there’s room for more. To me, what we’re dealing with when talking about the Overspray guys is astounding feats of image making. You sink into the images and explore their visual worlds. Things like Charlie’s Levi’s Splash image, or Lloyd’s Rod Stewart cover are unforgettably powerful IMAGES. They’re not tricked-out ideas, a la Glaser, but they are forceful and communicative. And the surfaces are compelling. Unlike so much concept-based illustration, these surfaces add a layer of meaning: the sheen, the sheer thickness of them gives them a life of their own. What they have is presence — something so much illustration lacks. This is more in the vein of contemporary work like Murakami or even Matthew Barney. Or, on a comics level, they harken to Richard Corben, Moebius, Macedo, and other late 70s/early 80s fantasy artists that we at CC love. Plus, there are some awesome images from Tron, which Peter Lloyd helped design. And, I think it could be argued that the Overspray work is more relevant to contemporary visual culture and 90% of the history of illustration. That’s not really an argument for its quality, but certainly if you take one look at magazines like XLR8R, galleries like Deitch Projects, artists like Jim Shaw, and on and on, you see that Overspray contains a huge chunk of stunningly relevant ideas. So, check it out! You’ll be very happy you did. Ok, promotion over.