10 Artists that I Admire

by Davis Ketterer

There are about a zillion better artists out there and I’d just like to bring your attention to a few of them that are so awesome that they can bring tears to my eyes.

  1. The Creator. Without a doubt at the top of the list is GOD. Would any of us even know what beauty was if it had not been created for us? Just walk outside and view the real nature that all of artwork is trying its hardest to imitate. Nonplussed? Then try to create a tree. If you can’t be impressed with anything on earth, take a glance out in space. Now make a moon.

2. Juanjo Guardino. If you have never heard of Blacksad then I am proud to introduce you to Juanjo Guardino. Despite his position on the list he is not second to GOD. GOD takes up places 1 through 5. Still the ex-Disney artist gives a very good impression of what the Creator does naturally. Just check out this impressive shot:He and author Juan Diaz Canales have created a beautiful 30’s film noir detective story featuring a black cat as the detective.

3. Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Not really coming after but alongside of Juanjo Guardino is a really, really old, dead guy called Bernini. Bernini was a painter, architect, and one crazy good sculptor. His statues look like they could move at any moment.

4. Frank Frazetta. Frazetta not only painted scenes well and modeled bodies well, his pictures bring with them their own feeling. He combined technical know-how with sentiment. Compare these two.

5. Hayao Miyazaki. Studio Ghibli’s movies also give deep unsaid emotion with their eloquently painted backgrounds and simplistic but highly dramatic characters. Personal favorite: Spirited Away. There’s just something extra moving about a girl crying over her parents being turned into pigs while she eats giant rice balls, that I can totally relate to.

6. Al Hirschfeld. Al Hirschfeld was called the master of line and just a glance at some of his caricatures will tell you why. With such a simple instrument, the plain line, he created an impression of a person that tells you all you need to know about that person to make you feel as though you’ve met them.

7. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The master of shadow and light was born in the 1500’s during Italy’s Baroque period, and his name was Caravaggio. When I was in college, I would sit and stare at his paintings in books. My favorite was The Conversion of Paul.

8. Katushito Otomo. Katushito Otomo created the Akira series. The books body slam the movie into the ground. The panoramic views of the city and buildings are pictures that the reader can sit and muse over for a good thirty minutes.

9. Takehiko Inoue. Inoue may be well known for his basketball series Slam Dunk, but it was Vagabond that brought him to my notice. He has an impressive inking style, leaving lines disconnected or unfinished which miraculously use the reader’s mind to fill the gaps and go with the flow of the picture. Much of the inkwork is dark and zig zaggy giving a violence to the picture even if Miyamoto Musashi is standing still.

10. Akira Toriyama. Bringing up the rear, but far from being a bottom feeder, is Akira Toriyama. I tell you, I used to love me some Dragonball Z! And of all the artists (save GOD, who influences everybody) Toriyama has certainly deeply affected me more than the rest. I love the clean lines, the simple expressions, the straight-to-the-point scenes that never fail to deliver their meaning. His machinery keeps a light feeling, not being bogged down by too much detail. He knows when to stop. 

I found this picture some time ago and had it as my desktop picture for the longest time. I love the two lizard men carrying away someone to a sewer who stop to admire the raging monster in the background. The first says “Whoa” and the second says, “Cool”.

This list is not all of the artists in the world that have left me awestruck, but they are certainly the ones that came to mind first.

In fact as I was checking out chiaroscuro (the treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting), I saw Vermeer and I was tempted to bump Caravaggio for the Dutch painter but I stopped. Caravaggio did catch my attention first. And each one deserves a little attention from you, if you ever have the time.