Regular readers and followers on social media know that, from time to time, I pull on the big red cape in real life, and reveal my inner Kryptonian. Now, thanks to my friend, the enormously talented Ryan Hayes, you can see the reverse, i.e., regular old me in comic book form. This illustration is going to be part of my long-promised blog redesign, as I seek to incorporate my author site and The Courtier site into an updated, unified whole.
However more importantly than my own plans, I wanted to take the time to share some of the breadth of Ryan’s art with you, because for such a young artist, he has a great appreciation not only of contemporary culture, but also of art and illustration movements of the past, that I think is worth noting and encouraging.
If you happen to drop by Ryan’s Instagram page, you will see a full range of interesting work. In addition to creating fun caricatures like the one accompanying this piece, he has a clear appreciation for 20th century art and design, using the various styles of the previous century in some really interesting ways. From the playful to the serious, he has a great eye not only for line, but also for balance and drama in his compositions.
Take a look at this extremely clever nod to both the early 20th century American illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, of Saturday Evening Post and Arrow Shirt Collar fame, and the anonymous pulp science fiction covers produced by commercial artists after World War II. There are many works of fantasy and science fiction in Ryan’s portfolio, such as this beautiful illustration of the dwarf lord Gimli from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, to characters from Star Trek and Star Wars, and cool adventure illustrations. He is also keenly aware of artistic movements such as Art Nouveau in the Teens and Pop Art in the Sixties, movements which were either closely related to, or grew out of, the graphic design of their eras. Notice how women were idealized in these styles in very different ways, as shown here and here.
At present Ryan does not have a separate e-commerce site or website for getting in touch regarding inquiries or commissions, so he has asked that people send him direct messages via Facebook. If for some reason you have difficulty getting a response, then do let me know by using the “Contact” tab at the top of this page. I will do my best to put you in touch.