Two months ago it was Victorian patterns, but now that raw and scratchy drawings are more trendy than hating your parents, people have dropped their knit tea cozies and are excitedly clamoring around junkies with pencil crayons like they were the second coming. With all the part-time Basquiats out in force, VICE sifted through the litter to give our picks of who’s managing to spin happy gold from pencil, ink and paint. Silex As the court illustrators to the insane, these Swiss maniacs cross so many themes and styles that it’s like a bomb exploded in a Mexican comic book shop and everything landed in Western Europe. Silk-screened 50s consumer kitsch, Crayola ghetto boys, Dadaesque renderings of gears, airbrushed Popsicles and glam rockers all held together by an overarching theme of pop psychosis and childlike naïveté. Just remember to browse their book, My Way, in small doses; stare at it too much and you’ll feel molested.
Takeshi “Tiger” Hamada
Tiger runs a design webzine that is where the hottest design from around the world goes to have sex. A Tokyo-based graphic designer, Takeshi often contrasts the etched rawness of his drawings with pristine line and pattern work that makes his pieces go “bzzing!” Pretty never looked so good.
This unfortunately named (OK, it’s pronounced “wai-ner”), multitalented New Yorker produces some of the hottest collages and compositions since the invention of “children’s art” some time ago. Clay’s dynamic work ranges from the melancholic to the humorous. If David Hockney snuck up and fucked Sigmar Polke, this would be the offspring.
Craig Metzger (main illustration above)
Craig’s influences include folk art, mythology and design, and his work has a graphic style that’s catchy but not to the point of being formula. With a roster of clients including Rookie, Stimulus, eS, and Emerica, and with recent features in illustration/design zines Arkitip, Ubersee 2, DIK, and faesthetic, we’re thinking Craig is too busy.
Don’t run away! I won’t hurt you. I have a story to tell. Do you know the owl that sings of death? The tears of the rainbow? The masked salary man that sells his fire like common wares? Our little secret.
Karen makes our pencil crayons sad because they sit in the closet waiting for the day we’ll do something as sweet with them as she does with hers.
King charcoal otaku. One of Japan’s most famous illustrators, he is little known in the West. Be glad of this—if our side of the planet saw how much solid work this one person could produce, we’d all give up now.
This London-based team of four illustrators/designers/painters have that interesting handwriting that’s great even when it sucks. They produce such a wealth of work that I’m wondering why one-hit wonders like Shep Fairey are not slicing their wrists. Look for their new book published by Die Gestalten Verlag in the spring. Guaranteed to mow blinds.