Mike Cressy is bit quirky, but the Seattle-based artist wouldn’t have it any other way. From the basement of his eastside house Cressy sits comfortably in his cozy black leather chair sketching scenes, people and animals with his tongue firmly implanted in his check. While his artwork is hard to pin down, his style is extremely unique and equally recognizable as “Cressy”. His influences range from Norman Rockwell to Robert Crumb and Pablo Picasso to Salvador Dali – in other words, he is all over the place.
Like many artists, the art bug bit Cressy early, “It all start with me at the tender age of 5 years old when my older sister did some drawings of my favorite cartoon characters. She was spot on with the drawing and I thought it was so cool that she could do that. After that my Mom would stack paper in front of me on a dinner tray in front of the TV, where I preceded to copy cartoons from different kid’s animated shows. Shortly after that I started drawing my own little comic books, which I rarely showed to anyone,” said Cressy.
Cressy is, and has been, a full-time artist since the age of 22 but getting to that point would take 12 years of hard work, “I had jobs, starting at age 10 as a newspaper delivery boy, then prepared food at Little Ceaser’s pizzeria, followed by the same thing at a local Greek restaurant, then as a stock boy at Forest City department store and lumber yard”, said Cressy. “Then the real money started coming in when I got a job at the Chrysler Corporation, working on a sheet metal press, cranking out quarter panels for very big cars. Then I found a way to transfer to driving forklifts and trucks, which was much safer. I saved my money and moved to Los Angeles to pursue my art career through the school of hard knocks, which means that I’m totally self taught and didn’t go to Art school.”
A multi-faceted artist, Cressy works in many genres, but his favorite in basic drawing, “If you really had to pin me down I’d have to say that drawing is my all time favorite. It all starts with a drawing. It’s basic, fundamental, pencil, paper, idea and off you go!” said Cressy. “It’s the quickest way to put an idea down and get it ready for something. I don’t carry and iPad with me for drawing. I like them but I don’t like having to constantly plug something in to get it all charged up just so I can jot down an image I have in my head. Even a pen and some line paper is a good quick way to do that.”
According to Cressy, literally everything inspires his art work, “I’ll listen to something on the radio that may stick in my head visually and then I see something on TV, in a movie, on line in a magazine or book and then it evolves. Soon I’ve got my own twisted version of that thing I heard on the radio and I’ll do a very loose version in my sketchbook,” explains Cressy. “When I get an assignment, one of the first things I do is look through the assignment and pick out the most visual elements. Then I need some quick inspiration. I’ll pick up one of my coffee table art books or look on line at all kinds of art until I see a few things here and there that kind of fit what I’m thinking about for an image and then go to my drawing board and sketch out various ideas that came up while taking in all that inspiration. Music also helps with inspiration.”
Cressy is also involved in abstract painting, but the list if influences is a bit smaller, “Not as many as with my basic art influences only because I don’t think there aren’t as many masters at it.” Wassily Kandinsky is his personal favorite but he also looks to the likes of Paul Klee, Kurt Schwitters, Piet Mondrian, Jackson Pollock, Mark Tobey, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Robert Motherwell and Hans Hoffman, just to name a few.
His computerized work is just as impressive as his sketches or painting. Working with Photoshop he creates Pixel based images while working in Illustrator he creates Vector images, “Each has its limitations but both are fantastic tools that allow for color changes easier then when you paint. I usually draw out something that I’m working on and scan that drawing so that I can use it as a basis for the digital art that I’m going to create,” explained Cressy. “Then I decide either that it has to be done in Vector or Pixel, which usually is determined by what it’s going to be used for and if the client needs a variety of sizes. Vector allows for big and small images easier then Photoshop. Lately I prefer Illustrator for making shapes but Photoshop for detail.”
To date, Cressy has two books – Monito Hermoso and The Book of Doodles – and is working on his third entitled Abstracts For the New Century. As a commercial artist, he has worked with the likes of ARCO, Bank of America, Mattel Toys, TransAmerica and Universal Studios, “Most all of my commercial art is done for large companies or publishers. Right now I’m working on a contract with Microsoft. They hired me based on my style and ask me to come up with original art for various projects. I’ve work on art for Instant messaging games, Xbox games, pc games and other console games.”
Mike Cressy is living proof that being a working artist is possible even in these tough economic times. The key to becoming a successful artist is, you must love what you do and he clearly does.
While there is no explaining the motivation of illustrator and photographer Kuba Gornowicz, his work remains interesting and thought provoking. Since 2007 Gornowicz has been mixing traditional drawing with digital backgrounds and colors for an unusual contrast of organic and computerized imagery. Simplicity and high-tech collide in most of his work as in Death As a Fox in a Mask.
Rolling Stone magazine launch in 1967 in San Fransisco by by Jann Wenner. Named after a Muddy Waters’ song, the magazine was a breath of fresh air for many who were a part of the counter culture as it touched on everything from music and film to politics and politicians. Rolling Stone was responsible for launching many careers, most notably Cameron Crowe and the late Hunter S. Thomson whose controversial style of journalism resulted in rock star status in the late 60s and early 70s. Many changes have taken place over the past 43 years except two: Wenner remains editor-in-chief and they still deliver some of the best covers of any magazine out there. Not only are these covers historic, but they also make great prints & posters.
Here are just a few examples:
The debut issue of Rolling Stone featured a photogragh of John Lennon in his first venture outside the Beatles, the film “How I Won the War”.
The artwork of Eric Joyner is best described as awesome. Joyner’s lazer focused on his popular subjects of robots and donuts. Whether it’s in the ring, or pining for their one true, glazed or frosted love, it’s his attention to detail and superb use of color that set his robot art prints apart. See all of Eric Joyner’s art prints for sale on Imagekind.
How would you describe your work?
Pop surrealism or new brow…I paint in a realistic narrative style, using oil on wood panel.
Artist, graphic designer and illustrator Shepard Fairy will be dragged into court on in March of 2011 to face a jury of 12 for copyright fringement. This stems from the artist using an Associate Press photo of, then Senator, Barack Obama to create his “HOPE” poster. The artist’s legal team remains steadfast that Fairey’s use of the photo protected is by fair-use laws.
This poster became an iconic campaign image of the first African American President of the United States. Fairey distributed 300,000 stickers and 500,000 posters during the campaign, funding his grassroots electioneering through poster and fine art sales. Time Magazine commissioned Fairey to do a similar portrait of Obama for their 2008 Person of the Year cover and In January 2009, the “HOPE” portrait was acquired by the US National Portrait Gallery and made part of its permanent collection. It was unveiled and put on display on January 17, 2009.
Obama himself wrote the artist a letter in 2008 saying, “”I would like to thank you for using your talent in support of my campaign. The political messages involved in your work have encouraged Americans to believe they can change the status-quo. Your images have a profound effect on people, whether seen in a gallery or on a stop sign. I am privileged to be a part of your artwork and proud to have your support.”
The long running dispute started when freelance photographer Mannie Garcia ,who took the picture of the would be President in 2006, filed a claim against the Associated Press which said the he had the copy write to the photo – he has since dropped the lawsuit.
Then in October of 09, Fairey admitted that he he knowingly submitted false images and engaged in other wrongdoing in connection with the case. In February 2009, Fairey filed a federal lawsuit against the Associated Press, seeking a declaratory judgment that his use of the AP photograph was protected by the fair use doctrine and so did not infringe their copyright. His lawyers announced they were no longer representing him, and Laurence Pulgram, an intellectual property lawyer stated that the revelation definitely put Mr. Fairey’s case “in trouble”. In May 2010, a judge urged Fairey to settle – he declined. So, it’s back to court they go.
Drop these charges already.