A few of my favorite things

posted by on 10.13.2008, under Art, You're Welcome.

You know how it is when you fall in love. It just kind of sneaks up on you and then BAM! You think, where has this wonderful thing been all my life?
That’s how I felt the first time I saw Ralph Steadman‘s work. Love at first sight. I’m drawn to this type of thing, dark and not entirely normal.

He has a very nice way of making the grotesque beautiful, in just a few evil brush strokes. It was interesting for me to learn that he actually couldn’t draw very well, so he just embraced mistakes and ink splatters and his style grew from there. I love that. I try to remember this when I work. I tend to try too hard to be perfect and result isn’t very good at all. It’s much more fun to mess up and see what happens.

Ralph Steadman has illustrated some of my favorite books, including Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

When illustrating the horrifying, inhuman characters for Fear and Loathing, Ralph lost his pencils and ended up drawing with makeup. He gets creative in his media. Here’s a list of a few things he used for his book, Untrodden Grapes:
“Anything from India ink to coffee, cold tea, car oil, human blood (mine!), wood varnish, acrylic paints […] oil paint, red wine […] and spit.”

That’s right … spit. OH GOD, the computer is so limiting when you look at art that way.

What does Steadman think of the computer? I think [the computer] is a wonderful tool. I can get things done quickly. I can’t draw in a computer, it just doesn’t work. […] It’s a great tool, but it’s not the answer to it all. […] It’s too bloody fast. In a way it’s uncontrollably fast, it’s just silly. And [a computer generated line] is not really a “feeling” line. I think a line is either alive or dead.”

Flash, ever since we met, I just haven’t been myself. It’s not you, it’s me. I need to find myself. Perhaps we should see other people.