A prerequisite experience for becoming an art enthusiast is that of encountering a particular piece, series, or body of work with which you feel an instant and sometimes inexplicable connection. Sometimes the experience is ephemeral. Sometimes the experience is formative. I've certainly known both kinds, but the latter variety is my favorite because it leaves a distinctive mark on your art practice and your aesthetic view in the same way that a relationship with another human being can shape your life. For me, one of the best examples of this has been the vast body of work of David Weidman.
Weidman's work ranges from deceptively simple poster art to mind-bogglingly detailed masterworks that stretch the possibilities of the screen-print medium to the extreme. I've managed to collect several pieces of both kinds since first being introduced to Weidman and his work nearly a decade ago. He has unfortunately passed, but lived to see his work rediscovered and celebrated in a way most artists will never know.
The great bulk of his portfolio was created in the 1960s and went largely unappreciated at the time. Many hundreds of his original prints languished in obscurity in his personal storage until the mid aughts when a feature on the wildly popular drama Mad Men thrust his work into the public eye.
What fascinates me most about his art is twofold. First, that he successfully co-mingles colors that you would never expect could love each other. Second, no matter how simple or complex, his compositions are so deftly executed that my eyes never tire of wandering around and getting lost in them.
I have been wanting to make some art after his style for a long time and think this is the perfect venue for it. I'm starting with his poster style. I have two examples of them hanging on my walls:
And of course one featuring a chicken:
As you can see, the compositions are strong and central. A very limited palette helps to keep the image focussed and simple, and yet look at all the detail in the linework. These are things I wanted to capture in my first Weidman inspired tribute. Another truly delightful quirk of Weidman's was to often create two different color schemes for the same image so that buyers could choose the palette that most suited their taste. I preserved this quality in my creation as well not only because Weidman would have done it, but also because it's fun to do!
Here is my design in two color schemes:
These prints are available here. If you'd like to see more of David Weidman's art check out his family-maintained website and shop here. I'll be back with Part 2 and a new Weidman inspired piece soon.
I painted these images in Photoshop using Kyle T. Webster's wonderful brushes.