Design Links: Danny Larsen, Peter John Devilliers & Shawn Barber

Editor’s Note: This is part 26 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 twenty-fifth part in the series, featuring Yogi Proctor, Eric Wollam, and Marc McKee.

Marc Mckee is inspired by …

Danny Larsen

He is an Oslo based artist and former pro snowboarder (and longtime friend) whose work I get tons of inspiration from. His incredibly detailed drawings, mainly ink on paper, center on themes of nature and the animal life of Norway, as well as the ancient myths and legends of the region.


I am a big fan of this style of drawing. The intricate “stippling” technique in which shading and texture is built up dot by dot with the tip of the pen is ridiculously time consuming! The linework on the two ravens in this piece also really simulates the look of the black feathers where the stippling wouldn’t have worked. And of course the subject matter—the one-eyed Norse god Odin is totally awesome.


It’s great how these drawings are done with what looks like just a felt tip pen. I don’t even see where any corrections had to be made.

Danny Larsen is inspired by…

Peter-John de Villiers

PJ inspires me because of his complete dedication to making art, whether it be simple illustrations or mindblowing fine-art pieces. Everything he does comes down to making something outstanding. He has been a huge help and inspiration to me as a newcomer to the whole art / illustration scene and it’s amazing to see his attention to detail and craftsmanship when he produces his stunning work.

hunger tree

Both a very typical and at the same time not very typical PJ piece. While his stuff usually centers around loose, organic lines with funny details here and there, this is more a strict and rigid design jam-packed with serious stories. The image tells a story so well that I could easily sit and stare at this for hours. I guess I should read “Sult” / “Hunger” by Knut Hamsun which this piece is based on, but I think I’ll just stick to this piece for a bit longer.


Everyone loves a skull. What I love particular about this skull, is that it isn’t there. It’s a complete chaos of shiny and heavily contrasted things, a trademark of PJ, that somehow makes up a skull in PJ’s head. I am afraid I don’t really know how to say it in a more meaningfull way, but i just fucking love this skull. PJ is awesome.

Peter-John de Villiers is inspired by …

Shawn Barber

I was fortunate to study under Shawn Barber in 2003, and have since looked to him as guide for artist integrity and work ethic. His viewpoint is refreshing and direct, and his no bullshit approach to his professional practice makes him a great example of how to be a working artist today. A few gems of artistic guidance I took from Shawn is to work hard at your craft and put yourself out to the world fearlessly.


Shawn has been building two series of paintings for over a decade “Tattooed Portraits” and “The Dolls Series” and the sheer volume of paintings is a testament to how hard he works. Technically, Shawn has the perfect balance of loose expressive brush work and technical precision.

tattoo portraits

The Tattooed Portraits is the perfect example of transforming traditional portrait painting into a subject matter that is relevant to modern times. When he started the series it was before tattoos hit the mainstream media, but came at the perfect time to support the growing interest of the art form. He pays homage to the great pioneers of tattoo, and more importantly he became involved in the community. Consequently, he has become a tattoo artist himself and has an inspiring workspace in Los Angeles.


The Dolls series is the second series Shawn has been building and I love how loose these pieces are. Shawn’s color palette is sophisticated and he manages to technically pull inspiration from artists like Goya, Rembrandt, Nerdrum, but give it the necessary pop that makes it fit seamlessly into a modern context.

Tune in next time to see who inspires Shawn Barber.

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