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August 23, 2010
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Influence Map by comic-chic Influence Map by comic-chic
This meme has been going around DeviantART, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon. It was really fun to look back and see the things that have shaped me as an artist. Even though there might not be obvious correlations between a lot of these things and my current work, I can see how they've influenced and inspired me. Maybe you can too.

From Left to Right:

Michelangelo: By the end of high school I realized that I wasn't going to become a better artist by drawing comic book characters all day. I knew that the guys I admired had studied real anatomy before they started comics. So I began copying Michelangelo's sculptures. The anatomy is exaggerated making it easy to see and understand. And his sculptures are just so fluid and beautiful...

Gilmore Girls: Gilmore Girls is a show that is smart enough to be funny--comedy that isn't dumbed down for the masses. You get the joke or you don't, but either way the show keeps on moving. The amazing character ensemble makes this show infinitely re-watchable. And they wrote Rory like a real teenager, not the glossy hollywood version, which makes her coming of age story so relatable.

Norman Rockwell: Enough said. And this is my favorite piece, "Voyeur." No one else captures the preciousness or the fleetingness of everyday life like Rockwell.

Gerhard Richter: German artist who greatly influenced my painting. I had the pleasure of finally seeing an entire gallery of his works at the Art Institute of Chicago this spring. They're even more fantastic in person than in print.

Christian Bolstanski: Studying the Holocaust in general has greatly impacted the kinds of stories I want to tell. War has always fascinated me, but it hasn't enamored me. (I hope that comes through in The Dreamer.) Christian Bolstanski's work is hauntingly powerful and accessible to the non-art elite, I think. I can only hope to make work that moves people like he does.

Spiderman Loves Mary Jane: Finally a "superhero book" for girls! I read boy comic books to get to the character parts, forget the monsters, robots and space aliens. SLMJ is written entirely for the character moments with superhero stuff in the background. These never get old. And the art style is adorable.

Glen Keane: The Little Mermaid forever changed my life. I wanted to be a paleontologist until the third grade, but after watching this movie I knew I had to be an artist. I had never seen animation like this--it gave me a deep emotional response to a cartoon character. Even as a little kid, I realized the power of that. I determined to spend my life bringing drawings to life. I really could have put any movie that Glen Keane worked on here, especially Aladdin.

Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles: I went through a phase in high school where I fell in love with the darkness and Anne Rice and her sexy vampires are to blame. My BFF and I used to keep count of how many times we watched Interview with the Vampire (she made it well past a hundred). I memorized those books. I wrote the only fan fiction of my life back then, a seventy page novella about my BFF & I being turned into vampires by Lestat and Louis called "The Music is Good." There was also a comic book adaption in the works, but I didn't finish it before art school and the project was shelfed in lieu of homework.

The Bible: (What an interesting juxtaposition: Lestat and the Bible!) Every artist is affected by their worldview, it's inevitable. We only get one set of eyes to see the world with. We can try to understand each other, and really make an attempt to listen and learn, but we still interpret everything through our own lens. My lens has been more influenced by my faith than any other single thing. This happened mid-college, though. Poor Lestat, I broke up with him for Jesus. (Eventually Anne Rice did too, lol.)

90's X-Men Comics: I discovered comic books and their magic in the 90's. My favorites were the X-Men titles. It was an era when the mantra "X-Men don't kill" still meant something. There was such a thing as true love, but it was challenged. I loved the balance of it--these heroes battled their inner demons, but good still triumphed. There's something in modern Marvel comics that has lost that balance. And without good guys being good guys, even if it's a struggle, the idea of The Hero is diminished. A lot of great art happened at this time: Jim Lee, Andy & Adam Kubert, Joe Quesada, Chris Bachelo.

The Thin Red Line: the most perfect piece of cinema ever created. I went through a phase where I wanted to direct movies; then I went to see the Thin Red Line. I left that theater convinced that I didn't need to be a film director: if I was going to make a movie, this would be it, and someone already made it. I get choked up thinking about this film. It's art, pure and simple.

J. Scott Campbell: Gen 13 came out when I was a teenager. I was that target audience they were after and boy oh boy did I take the bait! I carried my beat up Gen 13 graphic novel with me in my book bag all the time. These characters were hip, funny, edgy and I wanted their life. I devoured Campbell's artwork. I basked in the bright polished colors. And I counted the days between over-due issues like I was waiting for a kidney transplant.

The Catcher in the Rye: I would have married Holden Caulfield if I could have. Lucky for my parents he was a literary character. Salinger captured perfectly that precipice between childhood and adulthood--that rude awakening that we try to deny and yet yearn for all at once. No one knew what it felt like to be me, until I met Holden. My achey adolescent self had found a soul mate.

The Mysterious Cities of Gold: I would say this was the first hardcore fandom that I indulged in. My sisters and I watched this show on Nickelodeon everyday while we ate our lunch on a tray. Then we'd go outside for hours and pretend that were the three best friends Esteban, Zea, and Tao, searching for the Mysterious Cities of Gold. We had a stuffed parrot we named Cocopetal, and we wore medallion necklaces handmade out of gold craft paper every day. Oh, youth! If only we had more of you...

New Orleans: Whether it was Gambit, Lestat or Trent Reznor, everyone cool seemed to live in New Orleans. When I went there the first time (pre-Katrina) I was struck by the bizarre dichotomies in the city: black and white, poor and wealthy, touristy and dangerous, preserved historic areas and dilapidated crime infested ghettos. I loved it and it devistated me all at once. Everyone is right: there is a magic in New Orleans that few cities can claim. There was also a deep tragicness even before the storm. After the storm we lived there for awhile and worked on staff at a relief organization. That summer changed my life.

(Original Meme Here: [link] )
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visualspice Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Haha, what a fun read :D Thanks for posting your inspiration and where you got/get your muses from :)
comic-chic Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012  Professional
No prob! Glad you enjoyed it.

In retrospect, I left a few big ones off the list but... I guess that's inevitable.
nicofopolous Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2010  Professional Writer
Wow, I'd almost forgotten The Mysterious Cities of Gold, but now that theme song is stuck in my head.
comic-chic Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2010  Professional
It's funny how that theme song still can get stuck in there 20 years later... lol!
nicofopolous Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2010  Professional Writer
I honestly had forgotten about it and this cartoon... Now I want to revisit it.
drbonescomics Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't know why I never thought of drawing statues to study anatomy before! Thank you so much for putting Michelangelo on the influence map, because I probably would never have thought of looking at his things for inspiration otherwise (yeah, I know I don't have much common sense).

I also would like to thank you for keeping Christianity and God in your art. You rock :)
comic-chic Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2010  Professional
I hope you have fun learning to draw from Michelangelo... and just about anything else you can get your hands on! :)
squoish Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2010
All such good choices and great influences! I <3 Marvel, and Gambit and Rogue best couple ever! It is encouraging to so see the Bible on your list. I often feel a bit suffocated by secularism in art. I'm glad fellow christian artists aren't as few as it sometimes seems. It is so great to see that you are letting Christ effect even your art. :) My respect for you just went up about 100%!

And Gilmore girls! They just don't make shows as good anymore...:-/
comic-chic Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2010  Professional
I know so many artists who love Jesus. I just think you don't have to make work that is Christian themed to reflect your world view. So we go under the radar a bit. I just... don't like Christian music, or Christian books, or Christian movies. I know they mean well, but from an artistic point of view, most of them are horrible. (Amazing Grace and the Nooma Video series notwithstanding.) :D
squoish Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2010
I agree about most of the Christian movies and music. However I have found a few good books. "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers is amazing. But you are right most of them are mediocre at best. I did like Amazing grace! I think the experienced actors really helped. :)
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