Last July, Eric and I spent a weekend in Los Angeles to attend a wedding. The night we arrived we met up with some friends of Eric's at a bar called El Carmen. It was a wonderful night with lots of delicious margaritas and good conversation.
The bar is filled with oil paintings of Mexican wrestlers, arms folded, looking formidable. I was enthralled, and as soon as I came home to San Francisco I started painting them. My masks got more and more intricate, and less and less authentically lucha libre, but I like them. I'm not exactly pursuing verisimilitude; I also put them in black and white costumes which are more like Nineteenth Century bathing suits.
Another inspiration for me is the awesome comic book art of Los bros Hernandez, especially Jaime's Love and Rockets series. Wrestling plays a big part in the stories, if not necesarily Mexican wrestling. I've been reading Love and Rockets since 1989 in Dublin. The stories are absolutely wonderful.
I love comic book art for the clean lines and economy of detail. It's amazing how much emotion can be conveyed in a few strokes of a pen. Other comic book and graphic novel artists I love include Adrian Tomine, Daniel Clowes, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, Chris Ware, and whatever looks good at Giant Robot, which stocks a lot of new and emerging work. These artists are pretty well known; I'm sure there are plenty of other artists who are lesser known but just as talented.
Help me discover some new ones. What are your favorites?