When I was growing up in the ‘fifties in Los Angeles, my family had lots of art, books, and art books. I pored over them, studying in particular ink line drawings of that were both naive and sophisticated, both organic and surreal. Here are eight artists whose art influenced my drawing style:
Henri Matisse showed me how to love color, women, plants, animals, and objects in a bebop sort of way.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince was probably the first spiritual book in my personal library.
Hokusai taught me to worship volcanoes and yearn to experience life in Japan. He mingled ordinary and extraordinary visions, flat planes and depth of field.
Sister Mary Corita Kent showed me the beauty of cursive script as a graphic element. My mother took art classes from her at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles.
James Thurber’s work appeared monthly in our home in the New Yorker.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec showed me that distorted figures are far more evocative than photographic-perfect ones. He loved the night, and who wouldn’t in fin de siècle Paris?
I’ve long loved the cartoons, illustrations, wit and political views of Jules Feiffer, especially his famous interpretive dancer.
And last but not least, the great visionary, William Blake!
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