Editor’s Note: This is part 21 in Emily Potts’ inspirational series, Design Links. Every other week she features three artists whose work offers fresh, fun, and stimulating creative inspiration. Each artist picks the next link—someone who personally inspires him/her. Check out the twentieth part in the series, featuring Alex Fowkes, Gemma O’Brien and Timba Smits.
Timba Smits is inspired by …
Bobby impresses me with his ability to produce bold, super graphic, and sentimental designs that are rich in texture, nostalgia, and strong narrative storytelling. Every one of his artworks tells a tale. To me, they’re like stills from a movie or a page from a book. There’s a real charm and a keen sense of playfulness in every one of his works that I really gravitate toward. I find myself feeling very happy every time my eyes peep a new work, and that’s a good thing in my book.
I loved his interpretation of the film Inside Llewyn Davis as a Gig Poster for Little White Lies’ Coen Brothers exhibition. It’s probably my most favorite of his works, and a print hangs proudly over my bed. I say hello to Hercules (the cat) every morning and every night. At the same time, my girlfriend just laughs. What I love the most about this work is that when you break it down, the pieces are quite simple. Bold geometric shapes make up the environment of a New York living space in the depth of a freezing winter. Bobby’s use of cool grays, white space, and dark shadows play on this. It’s quite flat with little to no perspective, but yet Bobby’s ability to create amazing perspective through use of shadow and light, and the placement of objects peppered with beautiful texture. So simple yet so incredibly deep and rich in details at the same time. And that single pop of color. Amazing.
In my mind, Bobby has created a lot of amazing and memorable work in the past, but the one that really sealed my earlier love for his work was hiss poster of “Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator” for The Fantastic Mr Dahl exhibition at Galerie F, Chicago. It helps that Roald Dahl books were my favorite reads growing up, and I hold Charlie & The Chocolate Factory amongst my favorite-of-all-time films, but it’s Bobby’s double-layered storytelling, matched with his incredible use of shape, minimal color, and texture to create such wonderful movement for a static image that makes this artwork so great. A fantastic and imaginative response to a great brief.
Related reading: Check out Show Posters: The Art and Practice of Making Gig Posters from HOW books.
Bobby Evans is inspired by …
He was one of the first contemporary graphic artists/designers I related to around the time I was graduating (2006). Jason would use visual twists and restrained, precise design that blurred the boundaries between art, illustration, and design in a way I had only seen a few times in design history books—but he was doing it in the world of gig posters…now! This was the genre that I initially thought was saturated with rock-and-roll visual clichés, and one I was trying to find my own feet in. There was a confidence and assured approach to his visual solutions that encouraged me to use the skills I was developing in a way I hadn’t thought of before.
It would be easy to dissect the carefully orchestrated elements of every one of Jason’s posters, but it was the clever visual twists that first encouraged my use of illustration in design that eventually led me to become an illustrator. These posters caused me to question how I was looking at objects and their form. How would I break down an object to its component parts, and how did it relate to what I was trying to portray? It changed the way I would look at everyday objects.
Jason’s posters initially look so simple, but the skill is in making this look so effortless. His work continues to think about every element in a design and how it relates to everything else in the composition: Is it necessary to sell the idea? When thinking I’ve finished a design, I will still turn layers off in Photoshop to see if any element is distracting from a more concise solution.
Jason is inspired by …
We have a mutual respect for each others’ work as well as a similar way of thinking and appreciation of a simply executed, but effective idea. Dirk and I often send work back and forth to each other in various stages to get each others opinions and suggestions, often testing out concepts on one another. I always look forward to seeing his work show up through a text or email as they are inspirations during the day and act as a motivation for myself to continue to push forward an idea or design I’m working on.
Two of Dirk’s posters that have forever been seared in my mind were both done for the band Hella, approximately a year or two apart. Dirk’s use of type as image in these two posters is exceptional, and I love the continuation of the concept into multiple posters. I only wish there were more in the series. Conceptually, these posters always worked on multiple levels for me. My favorite aspect is that Hella originally was a two-piece band, so naturally I always viewed the idea of using the band name twice as a nod to this.
Tune in next time to see who inspires Dirk Fowler.