Along with artists that have been my inspiration for a while, I love to discover new inspiring artists. Today I was for the first time introduced to Saul Steinberg (1914-1999) via Scott McCloud’s blog. Steinberg was an artist whose work appeared in the New Yorker for decades. Looking over his work, I feel like he falls somewhere between Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and Shel Silverstein (1930-1999), wielding the fine control and minimalism of the former and the wild daring scrawl of the latter to create thoughtful and intelligent images.
Another artist I would love to be like is Scott McCloud (whose home online is at ScottMcCloud.com). He’s probably given more thought to his art than any other artist I’ve encountered; Scott strives to understand and to share his understanding of the comic. He has carefully analyzed the place comics hold within the worlds of art and communication, studying concepts of abstraction, representation, meaning, space, time and language. And like the best minds in software (*cough* Knuth *cough*) he documents the medium from within itself, producing meta-comics that use a visual vocabulary to describe that vocabulary to us. The result is some of the most clear and intentional work you will ever see. Scott exemplifies the idea that comics can be an extremely clear mode of communication, so much so that he was hired to write the documentation for Google Chrome. Go read it. Now.
Scott is also pushing the boundaries of how technology (specifically the internet) can and will change cartoons, comics, and the visual arts. His TED talk is an entertaining look at his work in this area in under 20 minutes. Scott, thanks for blazing trails and then helping the rest of us to follow!