[Image Heavy] Favorite Artists, Contemporary or Otherwise


I spent most of today at an art museum down the street, and now that I’m back I’m wondering what everyone’s favorite artists are.

They can contemporary or classical or pre-classical. They can be your friend who posts on their blog, someone from the Vienna Secession, or whoever it was who was doing the lion hunts under Ashurbanipal II. If you can’t narrow it down to one, pick a couple! And be sure to share your favorite works of theirs here.

For me, one of my favorite artists for a while has been El Greco, with A Boy Blowing on an Ember to Light a Candle probably being my favorite work by him, thought it would be a crime not to mention The Vision of Saint John and The Burial of the Count of Orgaz.

(In order)

Honorable Mentions (people who would have won if you asked me on a different day): Vermeer, Klimt, Mucha, Gentileschi, Sachin Teng, Caravaggio, Georgia O’Keeffe, Francisco Maldonada Laguna (Frank, Odlaws), probably a few others


My favorite artists are a grab bag, really.

I love me some old Dutch masters - some Rembrandt, some Vermeer. Their way of painting light and depicting subjects has actually be very influential to me when it comes to my own art.

I also really love surrealism; Magritte might just be my favorite there. I like the simplicity that is present in many of his works. I’m not really a fan of his non-painting work though.

Others whose work I enjoy are Keith Haring, Hieronymus Bosch, and the Pre-Raphaelites.


I have always had a fondness for classic illustration, especially guys who had strong line work. Arthur Rackham is up there for sure, early 20th century artist who I first encountered in an illustrated version of Aesop’s Fables.

Harry Clarke’s work on the Poe stories is amazing/disturbing:

N.C. Wyeth does amazing stuff with colors in his illustrations:


I don’t know as much about painting as I would like to, but my favorite teacher in high school, who taught Spanish, spent about a month once on Spanish and post-colonial central and southern American art* and that really left an impression on me. Basically all of my favorite artists are based on what I learned in that month.

*She would like to teach pre-colonial art as well but there’s not enough time and she cops to the fact she isn’t that knowledgeable on it.

Francisco de Goya
Well I started to do this, but my two favorite Goya paintings might be over the line for gore and nudity (sometimes) respectively, so I won’t post here. If you want to see them, google “Goya Saturno devorando a su hijo” and “Goya La maja vestida”. In La maja vestida, he painted the woman clothed, and there is a twin painting of her naked.

Diego Rivera
I don’t always love Rivera, but when I do it’s because he is fighting for the proletariat in his paintings. This is a mural he did in Detroit

Diego Velázquez
I didn’t think much of this at first, but my teacher spent literally two days on just this painting. First the original, and then all the “covers” of it since then, such as a series Picasso did reinterpreting it. I have forgotten now most of what she said about it, but it brought out the beauty for me at least and I like thinking about that and trying to get pieces of what she said back.


Oh, also because I am uncultured, all my favorite favorite artists are actually western comics people, and I’ll limit myself to two of those for right now. I feel like it is necessary to also shout out Jack Kirby, since almost all of western comics is built on his talent, but I can’t pick out one Kirby page that I most want to post.

Walter Simonson
Probably best known for work on Thor, Simonson can perhaps be derided for being very derivative of Kirby. If you know Kirby’s work at all, it’d be impossible to look at any of Simonson’s work and not see the influence. That said, I don’t think that stops Simonson from just being really fucking good at drawing. Like really fucking good. My favorite work of his is his adaptation of Alien, which he worked on with Archie Goodwin, John Workman, and too many colorists to name right now (they had to rush it out to coincide with the film release). I own the colored version but there’s also an edition which is just black and white so you can see Simonson’s lines and inks shine through that I really want.

Stan Sakai
For I think like 30 years now, Sakai has been quietly working away at perhaps the best comic ever, Usagi Yojimbo. It’s remarkable to see an artist in any field–comics, painting, music, film, etc.–go this long without a drop in quality. Sakai not only does that, but it’s been consistently some of the best stuff in the field. There are two things about Sakai’s art that are consistently astonishing to me:

  1. Since 99% or more of Usagi Yojimbo is in black and white, he has become a master or crosshatching in a way that conveys a lot of different textures. If there are 6 different objects on a page, he will have 6 distinct patterns for each that convey some vital characteristic about each object.
  2. He brings together western comics and manga in a beautiful way. I don’t think I have the vocabulary to quite describe it, but if you get into his work, you’ll know what I mean.


Ohhh, Goya and Velasquez are both really good! They both definitely fall under “probably a few others.” Saturn Devouring his Son is something that always comes up whenever I start to go off with someone about art history. Also, there is, A Lot to unpack with Las Meninas, and I’ve never had it all committed to memory, but I’d highly recommend going through the wikipedia article on it. The biggest thing to note, and also probably the easiest to talk about because it doesn’t have much to do with political history, is that the painting takes place from the point of view of the Spanish royal family, who we can see in the mirror on the back wall, as servants of the court prepare their daughter to enter the frame of the portrait. It’s a typical portrait setting, only flipped around, so we can see both the preparation of the subjects and Velasquez himself preparing to actual paint the thing. It’s a very, very weird painting, and very, very good.


hmmm tough call. I like a lot of different artists for a lot of different reasons. I think Naoki Urasawa’s work in Pluto is probably the best illustration work done in comics I’ve seen in a while. Extremely evocative and using the medium masterfully. Piotr Jabłoński is also great, I love their use of vertical space and tone and just like… all their work on the dishonored 2 concept art is like mm chefs kiss

Also Kazuo Nakamura, whose abstract work is kinda different and a bit more delicate than a lot of abstract expressionist from his time, especially Canadian AbEx artists.

For less contemporary stuff… I like Gentileschi and Bernini. I mean who doesn’t love Baroque shit. Who doesn’t love that dynamic DRAMA.


Probably my all time favorite is Robert Rauschenberg. I really like artists that emphasize the physicality of their work and the materials they use, and my man Robby takes it to the next level.

Like he seriously just puts shitty taxidermy in is paintings to add 3D elements and maintain the uncomfortable mood of his works.

As far as working artists right now, Art Pena gave a talk to all the art majors at my school and Ive been kind of obsessed with his views on art since. He talked about how weird it is to spend hundreds of hours trying to render a person or meaningful object through paint when you could just present what was so important in the first place.

Like a stapler that broke after years of use

Or an ex-girlfriend’s hair

He’s working a lot more traditional now, but its still super exciting

His website’s arthurdpena.com if anyone wants to see more.


Wayne Barlowe has an eye for creature design that I’m 1000% in love with


Everyone knows Picasso for his cubist paintings, but my faves are his ink drawings and etchings. His bull-related drawings are exquisite. Blurred for NSFW


The museum I was at today actually has a lot of work from Picasso’s neoclassical period, most notably Mother and Child (colors are always different in person, more faded and softer), but there was also a large body of bound ink sketches that he did. If you’re ever in Baltimore I’d recommend checking out the BMA.


I love me some El Lissitzky.


I’m pretty sure my favorite painting ever is Rembrandt’s The Night Watch (Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq, if you’re nasty). Even aside from the incredible artistry on display, there’s just something about how ripe it is for riffing on that really does it for me. This fantasy miniature-inspired take by German miniature painter extraordinaire Roman Lappat is a personal favorite among the latter.

In terms of artists from whom I enjoy the entire catalog of works, though, I don’t know that anyone will ever top Jean “Moebius” Giraud. His work as a prolific comic artist and production designer in Hollywood massively shaped my love for science fiction as a whole.

His use of color and space never ceases to impress me, and the joy of going through each new book as I fill out my library of his work never leaves.


It’s hard for me to have a big favourite as I think I cycle between style inspirations every couple months or so, but recently some of my favourites are:

Joaquin Sorolla. Late 19th/early 20th Spanish painter. Incredible sense of light!! Looking at his paintings just immediately transports me to a hot sunny summer. Which means I’ll probably stop enjoying him in a couple weeks when actual IRL hot sunny summer hits.

“Fisherwomen from Valencia”

“Corner of the Garden, Alcazar, Sevilla”

I’ve also been in love with all of loren schmidt’s work. You might argue that it is/isn’t art but I’d just fall asleep and wake up 5 hours later and say “yeah well I think it’s super appealing visually and is very evocative and interesting to look at”.

Tom Hunter is an illustrator I’ve been into recently. His fantasy stuff vaguely reminds me of Yoshitaka Amano’s FF6 stuff except way more loose and “fun”.

And finally, I really like Makoto Kobayashi’s mech stuff. His nearly organic designs made me realise I don’t have to draw precise, geometric mecha like, say, Ippei Gyoubu.


Flipping through these was just an increasingly high pitched “hmmm? Hmmmmm? HMMMMMMMMM?” for me, christ almighty


I have a lot of favorite artist, but I’ll just write briefly about one.

I think Jean Hélion was a great, often overlooked artist. He did figurative as well as geometric abstraction. Like Philip Guston, he switched to a figurative style when abstraction of the non-representational variety started to become more popular, and ended up alienating himself from certain circles. He wrote some interesting essays on art, as well as a really good book on his experiences in a pow camp during WWII called “They Shall Not Have Me”. A pretty interesting character.

They’re a lot of really good contemporary visual artist out there. I’ll just post a few pictures and names of people who come to mind:

Njideka Akunyili Crosby

Claire Ashley


Stan Sakai is so awesome. His work on Usagi Yojimbo is genuinely beautiful and inspiring, both in art and story.


Ivan Seal paints things on pedestals, they’re surreally textured and gravity defying:

Takeshi Murata did the video for Oneohtrix Point Never’s Problem Areas, makes hyperrealistic mistextured renders:


One of the things I love about his work that’s on display there is that he can really fill a panel to its breaking point, but still be legible. There’s so much going on right there, but you still know exactly what’s happening.

@ian I’ve been wanting to get into Moebius for some time, but haven’t. What would recommend I read first? [sorry if this is too comicsy, we can relocate to the comics thread]


I like to think of myself as “boring, yet deep”, so my favorite artist is obviously Mark Rothko: