From a very early age I was introduced to kids books that had great illustration. I don’t remember the order but I think it was the Thomas the Tank Engine series and then shortly following on the Tintin books. My older brother was the recipient of those but they became a family favourite.
Not only that but I also remember the Ladybird series that had some many interesting subjects that I could never get enough of them. The ones that stuck I my memory were; The weather, Scouts, The Story of the Railways and Jack and the beanstalk to name a few. I think I was always a visual person as I liked the pictures way more then the words. There was something about those images that connected that reader to the story. I remember poring over those book endlessly, imagining the worlds inside the pictures. Yes this was the days before the internet. The one that stuck with me and one I uncovered not that long ago was The Weather. The thing that stuck with me was the depiction of the Beaufort scale. But I digress.
A lot of the imagery seemed to be seated in the style of the 30s onwards travel posters etc. I’m sure if I researched it I would be able to talk more knowledgeably about these things. But never let facts get in the way of a good story, or what ever the saying is.
Another big influence is the Railway Poster Art and this is a really good post about them. I particularly like the Art Deco Period. I could write an essay on my thoughts, but for the time being I will just say that the simplicity of the art is the thing that does it for me. When the message was put across in the most impactful ways. Even now some of the modern posters still retain that character and ability.
Studio Ghibli’s artwork has always drawn me in and although not traditionally seen as formal art storyboarding and stills art has become recognised in its own right. I can spend hours looking into the detail of his imagery.
I have to admit I am not one for traditional art, well not the early greats. Probably because my childhood was blighted by character building trips to see such things. But later in life I did find Ravillious, Bawden, Hopper, and Paul Nash amongst others. As an example of the style I like. I knew I just had no connection with the art my parents so loved. But actually turns out that we shared more common ground than I thought. But back to my journey. I very much picked and chose what I would look at. I didn’t follow the line of what one was expected to enjoy and or study. Rather picking out the things that connected with me.
I did see the skill and ability of those classics but it just didn’t hold the same interest to me. The skill obviously is undeniable, but connection is what was way more important to me at least. It’s like looking at photos, some one feels the essence and spirit of the image and others are just images.
I do try to keep an open mind and I think that much like music one should explore. I never thought I would like the minimalistic music of the likes of Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams but it was only when I heard it on the Radio that sparked off a search.
Up to date
Today there is so much more variety. There is also the thought that there is little if no original art. Artists and genres are all influenced by the generations before them and just like the music I talked about, they and we all copy from the past.
I have not really found the latest fashion for Manga art to hold my attention but its interesting that there is a cycle of these forms. If one waits long enough maybe they do come round again. But looking at trends in the near term it seems as though boundaries are bluring to traditional forms of art. Lets see where it all goes
Until the next time…