Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Marc Johns

Evidently, I'm a few years late for the Marc Johns buzz train, but he is most certainly not to be overlooked. Johns is a Canadian graphic designer, but he's mostly known for his drawings. I say drawings rather than illustrations because they are far simpler, and often rely as strongly on the words as the pictures to deliver ideas. Like many artists, he draws his inspiration from the ambient elements of his existence, and supplements the raw input with dry wit and a strong imagination. He almost exclusively uses pens with watercolors or highlighters. Their subtlety helps to create the quietness of his drawings without detracting from how much they say about the silliness of the world.
Sometimes he isn't saying much, and that's part of the beauty of his work; if you're browsing through his gallery, you get into an analytical mindset, and every once in a while a something like this one will catch you by surprise. Johns' pictures are not the prettiest things I've written about, but I find that they speak a lot more clearly than anything else I've posted. They really make me think and feel things, and absorb me in ways that very few artists can match. As you can see, his style is super simple, yet very distinct, largely due to the alien sorts of subjects he uses. I don't know if I would call him a uniquely talented illustrator in the classical sense, but I believe he is smart as hell and draws splendidly without technical complexity. That being said, he is good at drawing antlers and sweaters.
He's done a number of interviews, and his work can be found in various locations on the internets and in the physical world. He's got a book out - H is for Holy Crap. I wouldn't say he's a hidden treasure to the extent that some of my other posts have been, but he's quite the treasure nonetheless. And in parting:


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