Wednesday, 30 September 2009


A while ago, reader Scottie and I were discussing the things that influence me as an artist and I promised to write about them when I returned from holiday. Well, it's been more than two weeks since I got back and it's high time I actually did the things I said I would. Procrastination is my middle name...

Firstly, I have already written about a few artists who I think are amazing - Chris Ware, David Hockney, Dylan Martorell, David Hughes, Anne Herbauts, Rébecca Dautremer, Tom Gauld, and Donna Wilson. These posts can be found under the labels inspiration or illustrators in the bar on the right.

Image by Marcel Dzama from

So who haven't I mentioned so far? Amongst contemporaries there is the wonderful Camilla Engman, of course. How about Marcel Dzama, with his fascinatingly odd scenes and wild imagination (and the colours!)? Sara Fanelli is one of my favourite children's book artists. And Crankbunny's beautiful puppets and paper-cut animations have also been on my radar recently... check out this animation in particular.

Invitation to Ron Arad's Milan show, by Sara Fanelli.

From 'Sometimes I think, sometimes I am' by Sara Fanelli.

Older artists whose work I have admired includes things that everyone loves - Quentin Blake, Maurice Sendak, Edmund Dulac, Arthur Rackham, Winsor McCay... (can't be bothered to find links for all these).

I'll keep thinking of more artists and write about them here, so keep coming back!

Lady Spider Paper Puppet by Crankbunny. Buy it here.

Of course there are other things that influence me other than artists - and possibly even more so than artists - I'm an introspective creature. My zoological background, my love of weird people, outcasts, monsters and freaks, my obsession with alter egos, personal secrets, self-esteem, people's private thoughts. What else? Insecurity, body image problems - just everyday stuff that comes from reading junk, people-watching and looking into my own head.

When I'm asked about artists I am influenced by, I'm often stumped for an answer unless I sit down and think about it. No-one, absolutely nobody, can claim not to be influenced by other artists, that is just fatuous, ignorant arrogance. Whilst I look at lots of things and am sure that they all feed into what I do as an artist, I am not a slave to a style - I don't try to be what I'm not. That's the biggest thing I learned at university: to look but don't touch, to try techniques and ideas out but do it in your own way, to explore why you like something but not try to copy it. In the end you are an individual and therefore what you produce will be 'original' if you follow your instincts.

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