Thursday, July 4, 2013

From Vikings to Asians: Snapshot of Comics from Four Years Ago...

First off, Kim Bellware did an excellent write-up at The Huffington Post about a project in Chicago called "The Open Key." Featured there is one of my illustrations that I did for them about a month back. Check it out. Go. Now.

Anyways recently when I was digging through a lot of older artwork, I came across a comic that I did back in university four years ago. In the beginning illustration class that I was taking at the time, our instructor had us do weekly comic strips in preparation for our final, a two page comic based on anything that we liked. During that time I had just discovered Frank Miller in his gritty dark style of comics. I ate it all up, anything that had to do with high contrast violent scenes about fictional characters and fictional settings. And text? Pfft don't need it, needs more action all the time. That's how The Storm was born, my two page final for that class.

It was around that time that I was still experimenting with the direction I wanted to take with my art. Some of my biggest inspirations at the time were James Jean, Chuck Close, Andy Warhol, and most of the artists from the studio Massive Black. None of these were really comic artists at all. Comics were something that I really enjoyed, don't get me wrong, but I had my mind set after graduation to produce work in visual development for games and film. I was still determined to produce work that would reach and communicate to people, but I had never really gave thought that non-fiction is also very viable to tell the stories that I wanted.

Cut to the present and you have my most recent comic that was in the Cartoon Picayune in their latest issue, the Hard Work issue. If you haven't checked it out yet, you can see a larger version here on my site.

In the past 4 years since I had done The Storm, I've had the incredible experience to travel to six countries outside of my own.  This had a very profound effect on my current work, which has now shifted to almost entirely non-fiction comics and comics journalism. Most of my inspirations now for art and comics includes Joe Sacco, Marjane Satrapi, Josh Neufeld, Dan Archer, and Sharad Sharma, not to mention a plethora of other prose non-fiction writers and journalists. Information started to engulf my work, giving it a lot more complexity than it had before, and started to communicate the messages that I wanted to say when I was in university but didn't know how.

All in all, I'm happy about the progress in the past four years and the next four should be even more exciting. By that time I'll most likely have two parts of The American Immigrant out and on shelves.

Also for any readers of the blog that also have had an evolution in their work over time, please feel free to comment, don't be shy! Fighting!

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