Every month we choose one of our favourite creatives to TAKE OVER Beautiful Bizarre Magazine’s social media for the day. In August, we chose Erik Thor Sandberg to share some of the artists who have inspired him and his practice.
Just in case you missed it, below we present the full TAKE OVER below.
Kiki Smith // I have always admired the artists that run the gamut of media, jumping back and forth from 2-D to 3-D with ease. Kiki Smith’s sculptural works are economical in their storytelling but evoke so much with simple gestures and arrangements. Her two-dimensional work has an even greater ability to elicit a bit of wonder and mystery for me. Even though in Born she is depicting a scene from the well-worn tale of Little Red Riding Hood, she does so in a way that becomes more of a surreal and spiritual moment than the text would provide. The wolf is a vessel giving birth to these new entities that have passed through the darkness and come out unscathed on the other side.
Kerry James Marshall // There is an underlying sadness and restraint that is conveyed to me in much of the work of Kerry James Marshall that I find dynamic. I love the arrangements and interactions of the figures and elements. But I think beyond the beautiful forms that draw me in is that sadness and stillness he often depicts. His figures are frozen often looking at the viewer as if they feel a threat. Could This Be Love, which depicts two lovers in a state of undress does exactly this. It may just be the times that we are living in, but I can’t help but be moved by these figures in an otherwise bucolic or inviting setting, frozen, wondering “what comes next?”
Walton Ford // The natural world is that much more interesting as seen through the eyes of Walton Ford. We all project our feelings onto animals, but I think that the way that Ford is able to anthropomorphize them makes for an even greater connection to those viewing the work. He does it in a subtle way that just barely touches the realm of the unreal, but to the effect that we stack more motive behind every element. In looking for more images of Ford’s work, I came across Gleipnir, a work I had never seen, a depiction of the ensnaring of the wolf Fenris. Rarely do you see the intrusion of human beings in Ford’s work (in this case Norse Gods) but I love how they come into play here. Hands coming into the composition fore and aft of Fenris, are easily missed with a quick glance. It is a great moment to depict in the telling of the myth. Ford’s compositions are awesome visually but his choice of the right moment in time to depict and the right gestures his figures take in his narratives is phenomenal as well.
Jack Kirby // Jack Kirby was an artist I did not understand as a kid to the point I can say that I hated his art. It looked weird to me and that justified dismissing whole bodies of work when I was young. A few years ago, I started to look at it with different eyes. It is still weird, but that weird anatomy and weird perspective and weird design became clear to me as being amazing. Without Kirby, there would be no Mike Mignola or Mike Allred or no comics in general as they have evolved over the past 60 plus years. I have included one of my favorite Kirby drawings of Thor riding a dragon. Similar to my feelings for Kirby, I never liked Thor growing up, as a character or a middle name. Only when the Marvel movies came out did I decide to read the original run Kirby did in the early sixties. It is silly in a bad sci-fi fantasy way that only the 60’s could provide but then the art and design of the characters and worlds struck a chord with me that I had to see more of what Kirby did. He was amazingly inventive and prolific and could handle any genre from romance to cosmic epics. Although I understand he was self-taught, there is a grittiness and humor in his work that remind me of the drawings and etchings of so many of my other favorites like Goya, Holbein, and Durer.
Mu Pan // Mu Pan may be the youngest artist on my list but his body of work is pretty amazing. His depictions of conflict rival and may even exceed Brueghel and Bosch in scope but have a more visceral and honest feel to them in many ways. Humanity is generally depicted as destructive and invasive like hordes of locusts stripping nature clean. His depictions of whaling and hunting are gut wrenchingly sad and beautiful. I am a firm believer that art needs to show all sides of humanity, not just the things we are comfortable with. Mu Pan’s work seems to embrace this as well. That is not to say it is all darkness, humor comes into play as well. If you ever wanted to see King Kong, Galactus in a Klan hood, and a giant George Washington statue with nunchakus, here is your chance.
Gary Baseman // The more narrative works by Gary Baseman are those I find most compelling. His figures are cartoons often not displaying the greatest range of emotions. That is not to say that his work does not elicit feeling. His environments are often simple but are filled with strange organic forms floating throughout and color palettes that are oddly unsettling. The figures themselves interact and are arranged in ways that further put one ill at ease. Milking fluids from one another, extreme violence, and sexual congress all somehow seem to be made more shocking to discover and a little more difficult to endure with impassive oval eyes and doll like expressions. In all, the compositions are striking and they make my jaded crusty heart feel things.
Francisco Jose de Goya // I felt I had to put one of my all-time favorites on this list in Goya. I have so many artists that have influenced me over the years, whose bodies of work have affected me deeply. Goya was one of the biggest impacts on my art. Seeing his black paintings at the Prado and shows of Los Caprichos and The Disasters of War in the span of a week, really was mind opening. I don’t think that I had ever seen an artist who had seen and recorded so much through his etchings. They range from the atrocities of war to silly musings that helped him cope with life. The Black Paintings were not the stiff boring portraits of Royals I knew. These were dark masses of people led, they knew not where, by witches and devils.
This was the last piece chosen by Erik Thor Sandberg for his TAKE OVER. Thank you again Erik, we really appreciate you taking the time to put this day together.