Saturday, December 15, 2012

Illustrator of the Week: Lane Smith

LANE SMITH was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on August 25th, 1959. His family moved to Corona, California when he was three, but spent the better part of every summer back in Oklahoma. "My family would take the old Route 66 highway. I think that's where my bizarre sense of design comes from. Once you've seen a 100-foot cement buffalo on top of a donut-stand in the middle of nowhere, you're never the same."

"A lot of reviewers have misidentified my technique as airbrush or dyes or even egg tempera. I think this is because it almost looks as if it was sprayed with paint with little dots of color and texture visible. Actually, my work is rendered in oil paints. I paint on board, building up several thin glazes of the oil, sealing them between coats with an acrylic spray varnish. This not only dries the oil instantly, but also causes a chemical reaction between the oil and the acrylic. Normally, it would be a mistake to combine two opposites like this and in fact it was a mistake the first time I did it, but I liked the results. I'm a big fan of artists who play with surfaces. I love texture and grunge. The trick is to know when to stop. Sometimes I keep adding more and more layers until I've ruined the piece. Usually I stop when the painting starts to look interesting. Then I go in with a fine brush and add details, lights and darks, etc. It's a laborious process, but it's unpredictable and it keeps me interested and surprised."

Lane's work has appeared on the covers of The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, The Boston Globe, Sierra, American Bookseller, The Progressive, Time, Newsweek, Mother Jones, and Ms., but he is most noted for his childrens book illustration like his work on The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales.

Read an interview with Lane Smith HERE.


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