Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Watch out for: Mark Bodnar

This year's been a bit of an awakening in art for me, and even a discovery that not all artistic discoveries must be rooted in the classics (though their significance cannot be denied).
The other day I was looking through the archive of the blog of Audrey Kawasaki (whom I adore, and you really must check out if you haven't already) and came across one of her several recommendation artists whose sample pictures immediately captivated me, by the name of Mark Bodnar.
Bodnar is an artist from Ohio with a very strong background in animation, not to mention an amount of prestigious clients, including The New York Times and National Geographic. He also animates a show on Cartoon Network, though I'm not quite sure what it is called, nor does his website clarify.

Not only does he have a history in animation-- he also seems to draw influence from modern animation legends, like the edgy Gary Baseman.
Pictures from his personal portfolio have the oxymoronic quality that Audrey Kawasaki is drawn to-- a lot of the pictures evoke a childlike nostalgia, but also a morbid understanding of a dark side. Hair is one his central motifs, and has a real talent of personifying little fears in a clever way that is attractive to both child and adult sides of a human. One of my favorite examples is a piece, entitled "Barber Beach" (shown at right), in which a child is screaming as a barberpole with scissors comes for him.
The motif of hair, and how frequently is being shown in his pieces, seems to evoke a bit of a Samsonite appreciation of hair, with pieces expressing reluctance to rid of it, being haunted by its presence, and of course, admiration of it.
The style is whimsical without factors of kitsch or shallowness in it.
His pieces are magical, a great exploration of the human's inner child, and I highly recommend you check him out.
Get properly introduced at markbodnar.com.

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