Sunday, January 25, 2009


I like the kind of art where you can tell that the artist has a pulse. This passionate image by Sterling Hundley for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City is a prime example:

Hundley's theatrical posters are not only impassioned, they are smart, too.

Marat Sade

Death of a Salesman

He has created posters for theatrical productions around the country. These projects give Hundley creative freedom which he uses to maximum advantage, developing his own themes and putting his human imprint on his subject. His illustrations also appear in publications such as the New Yorker and Rolling Stone, and accompany his own stories in Virginia Living magazine.

Like his theatrical posters, his illustrations tend to be emotionally complex and beautifully designed:

Hundley's pictures don't move, blink, or explode. They have no digital soundtrack or 3D glasses. Instead, they come from the tradition where the picture holds still and your brain moves. Such art is in short supply these days.


Blogger Haylee said...

Wonderful post David...Your writings always beautifully compliment the artist you showcase. I always look forward to your insights.

1/25/2009 11:58 AM  
Blogger VHS said...

These pieces sure are smart, and visually tantalizing. Very nice. Thank you for sharing!

1/25/2009 2:25 PM  
Blogger Moai said...

Gorgeous work. Thank you for bringing this artist to our attention.

1/25/2009 2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

unreal and better than toulouse lautrec's lithographyes

1/25/2009 4:20 PM  
Blogger colin said...

Sterling Hundley has been a favorite of mine since I first saw his work. Beautiful.

1/25/2009 5:11 PM  
Anonymous kev ferrara said...

Gorgeous pieces! A romantic imagination and a keen wit in one... Very very rare. Did Steinberg and Dulac have a kid?

1/25/2009 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for giving us yet another fascinating artist to look for; you always offer gems. And the prose to go with it!

1/25/2009 8:08 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

It's nice to see comments coming in from young and talented artists. I enjoy comparing comments to the art blog of the commenter.

Haylee and VHS, thanks for your comments. I'm glad you share my reaction to Hundley's work.

Moai, I have had many new artists brought to my attention by readers as well. It always makes me feel enriched by this process.

1/26/2009 3:00 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Anonymous, I take your point that Lautrec and Hundley both made theatrical posters. It's interesting that Hundley's are so much more cerebral and interpretive than Lautrec's. I guess that's what passing through the 20th century will do to even representational art.

Colin-- mine, too. I don't know if you have made your way to his "Advice" section on his web site yet, but Hundley seems to be a thoughtful and caring person, as well as a terrific artist.

Kev-- ha! I agree it is a nice marriage of talents. That poster of the Pearl Fishers is so effective because everything is consciously staged around that desperate kiss as the centerpiece of the painting. The distortions of the stretched figures, the lighting, the shadows, everything contributes to the importance of that kiss; the facial features are muted and blurred into the shadows not because Hundley can't draw faces, but rather so they won't compete with those locked lips (which are also framed by that loop of pearls and lit from below for additional emphasis). A lesser artist wouldn't be nearly so sophisticated in the use of visual tools. They would be showing off how they can paint eyelashes. But Hundley knows how to prioritize.

Steinberg never had such tools at his disposal. He was more into diagrams. But for pure, lush beauty Dulac is not a bad comparison.

1/26/2009 3:48 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Thank you Catherine / Anonymous.

You are too kind.

1/26/2009 3:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all of the comments are correct and deserved. i have the luck to have been associated with sterling and to learn from him in a great capacity. he is a great friend, artist and person. his work is a treasure. he is a thinker and understand what it takes to make good images. when we see his work we are given his thoughts, his process and at the same time, we are left to our own devices and interpretations. he is thoughtful and well spoken and every mark he makes tells us everything worth knowing. thank you for bringing attention to sterling. he would be flattered.

1/26/2009 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry but these don't do it for me.Yes there's a lot of skill and thought gone into their creation but I find them rather sterile.Only a personal opinion, but I'd rather look at that William A Smith preliminary of the barber shop No offence.

1/26/2009 11:53 AM  
Anonymous John D said...

I like your quote:" . . .they come from the tradition where the picture holds still and your brain moves." Nice.

1/26/2009 12:06 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Fourth anonymous, no one around here will ever take offense at a commenter who likes preliminary sketches by William A. Smith. I often prefer the rough edge on sketches to the polished (sterile?) surface of finished work. (See, for example, the Brangwyn or Kollwitz or Hele sketches I previously posted.) But we do differ on Hundley. That first picture of the Pearl Fishers is as ardent and yearning an image as I have seen in quite a while.

1/26/2009 3:07 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

David, thank you for introducing me to yet another excellent illustrator. The poster for the Pearl Fishers is a double treat. First for it's visual brilliance and subtle use of color and second because it triggered the soaring duet, Au fond du temple saint in my head. What a perfect visual complement to the opera.

Hundley is certainly carving out a new path in poster design...far more intricate and needing closer scrutiny than posters of the past.

Perhaps I have been hasty in pronouncing illustration being dead and filled with those derivative sci-fi and garish fantasy illustrators. This is a hopeful sign...and such a good colorist! Thanks for the introduction.

1/26/2009 3:37 PM  
Anonymous larry said...

A superstar right out of the gate.

1/26/2009 3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well executed visual trickery does not a great artist make.

1/26/2009 9:46 PM  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

The marat sade poster really took my fancy, with it's bird's eye view on the painting "The death of marat" by Jacques-Louis David.

1/26/2009 11:09 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

One measure of the richness of Hundley's images is that Matthew recognizes the reference to the famous "Death of Marat" painting and Rob Howard hears Bizet's gorgeous aria as the soundtrack to Hundley's clinch. Such connections are one way that thoughtful art enhances the art experience for cultured people.

Anonymous, you write that "Well executed visual trickery does not a great artist make." I agree, but are you suggesting that Hundley's images are "visual trickery?" If so, why?

1/27/2009 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coffee table cod surrealism {a la Max Ernst} beloved of pretentious Art Directors who want to add spurious value with a well-crafted 'enigmatic' image to their production or high-end publication.Just because 'people of taste' get it doesnt mean it's good.Remember the Emperor's new clothes?

1/27/2009 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry,meant to say a la Rene Magritte.

1/27/2009 10:45 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Anonymous, I am going to chase you for an answer here. You have twice used unassailable general principles ("Well executed visual trickery does not a great artist make" and "Just because 'people of taste' get it doesn't mean it's good") but I would ask you to go a step further to explain how those principles apply in this case. If you think that Hundley's work is mere "visual trickery," why? And art may not be good just because "people of taste get it," but I assume you aren't claiming that it is necessarily bad either?

I like to think that my own taste is as subversive as anyone's. Most people would consider my taste to be hopelessly low brow and erratic. But I think that people who are intellectually curious bring a wider range of associations (both high and low) to art, and that gives more breadth and depth to their experience. Some art, such as Hundley's, is layered enough to reward that kind of attention, while other art is not.

1/27/2009 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glib pictorial solutions seductively presented, appealing to to the pompous.Re:
"Perhaps I have been hasty in pronouncing illustration being dead and filled with those derivative sci-fi and garish fantasy illustrators. This is a hopeful sign..." Yuk.

1/27/2009 12:11 PM  
Blogger cEwald said...

wow anonymous, you sure do talk a lot without saying anything. you criticize the work and label it pompous without giving the argument any weight. when asked, you speak evasively. i respect your opinion even if i do not share in it. i really am curious to see what it is about sterling's work that has you so on edge. i for one believe that sterling's work is very approachable, thoughtful and not pretentious. eagerly awaiting a reply that is not made to impress yourself with your own flowery language.

1/27/2009 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi cEwald. Do you have any difficulty understanding the English language? Buy yourself a dictionary and all will become clear.Or must we converse in words of one syllable.

1/27/2009 2:44 PM  
Blogger cEwald said...

again, you take the time to post a response and again you avoid any real answer regarding the work. i am not going to waste my time or yours by attacking one another back and forth. i would love to hear your opinion on the work not your assumption that i have a poor grasp on the english language.

1/27/2009 2:53 PM  
Blogger Andrew R. Wright said...

Sterling's work consistently displays an extreme understanding of: composition, color use, design, drawing, value, shape, execution, craft, control, restraint, mood, etc., etc., etc. The list could go on for ever.

The great thing is, with every new image, you can see that he is consistently trying to grow, and succeeding (even though he is already at a level that most artist would consider a dream to be at).

I urge you to look beyond the "trickery" you speak of, and see the image for what it truly is: beautiful.

1/27/2009 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cEwald,let me show you how wrong your thinking is here and then you might actually apply yourself to understanding my words.Quote"you criticize the work and label it pompous" your words.My words,"seductively presented,appealing to the pompous" aka pompous people NOT the artwork and then illustrate my point with a quote.Comprende? Now go back read and understand.Mr Wright.When I say "seductively presented" this is a kind of shorthand for saying I recognise Sterling Hundley possesses those technical skills you refer to.

1/27/2009 3:42 PM  
Blogger cEwald said...

i apologize. i did misspeak when i said the artwork was labeled "pompous". how about "Coffee table cod surrealism {a la Max Ernst} beloved of pretentious Art Directors"? and i believe you misspoke and corrected that statement with Magritte. So as far as that goes, we are both human. now, if you are done with the language lessons i believe you have yet give any argument with reference to any of sterling's pieces. we have received generalized statements regarding his "visual trickery" and "Glib pictorial solutions seductively presented" and you went so far as to presume that the positive comments are left only to follow suit with mr. apatoff with your "emperor's new clothes" comment. i wish to say again, we are entitled to our opinion, and i respect yours. my only wish is to have an intelligent discourse on the work, not generalized statements with no real substance. criticize the work, it the context of the work.

1/27/2009 4:16 PM  
Blogger Francis Vallejo said...

Anonymous: Why must you remain anonymous? I assume you knew your opinion would not be a popular one, and decided that you would rather type from behind anonymity, then own up to your words. If you can't stand up to you words, why should we even consider them?

But I digress. Sterling is an example of an artist's artist. His understanding of the wide array of marks that can be made, and art history, are clearly evident in his work. In an age where a marketable style and a consistent look is almost required, Sterling will try out radically new techniques, even without a past history in the medium. The way ink, acrylic, transfers, oil, etc. is used in unison to create a unified image is truly inspiring. Isn't art about the search for a perfect mark to display a truth? Right now, if art was a database, there is a certain amount of techniques and marks in that database. Sterling is adding to that database with every piece. The fact that he is a renowned teacher adds a new layer of respect for pushing the medium of illustration.

Anonymous, you are not a fan of the "visual trickery?" So what is it that you are looking for:

A narrative? (an obvious narrative is obvious in all of his work)

technical ability? (you already admitted that he is very skilled in this aspect)

concept? (Mr. Hundley sets the bar for conceptual image making)

So I suppose you are the child of the Emperor's New Clothes. But in this case, no one agrees with you.

1/27/2009 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Firstly I am anon because I dont have a Google account and anyway I dont see how you knowing my name should alter my opinion, originally expressed in a 10 word comment and only elaborated upon at David's request.I haven't spoken evasively I've tried to express my view somewhat obliquely in an attempt not to create too much fuss.Unfortunately it seems I'm to be shouted down for going against the concensus.But I will grant you that Mr Hundley is indeed a better artist than Messrs Ewald and Vallejo.In my opinion,that is.

1/27/2009 5:21 PM  
Blogger EL Gato Negro said...

There is no need Anonymous to downgrade fellow artist in such an insult-full manner, your point was made without the unnecessary remarks, Francis is my friend and we were students of Mr. Hundley so the knowledge he presented to you is from valid observation of the artist and direct quotes from him. And the whole thing about "Visual trickery" is boiled down to interpretation, every artist achieves there own way of portraying what they see..

1/27/2009 5:46 PM  
Blogger Francis Vallejo said...

Mr. Anonymous you know there are a number of options for people without a Google account. And Mr Hundley is a far superior artist than myself. But as a student, he is a valued mentor and inspiration for all those pursuing art. We need role models like Sterling to push us to create new and exciting images. And please don't pretend like you are innocent with your comments, you could have easily posted nothing or simply said you don't care for his work, with a concise explanation. But on a thread discussing the positive nature of Sterling, you chose to make offensive remarks towards his work, and the people enjoying it. The only reason I am responding is that Sterling deserves all the accolades he has amassed. The illustration community needs artists like him, and for someone to disrespect his work, that offends me.

Please articulate what makes a great artist? Try to not describe Sterling......

Sorry Mr. Apatoff for taking up so much space.

1/27/2009 5:58 PM  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

Sterling Hundley is an illustrator, and therefore must illuminate ideas, text etc. From my understanding he has been given commissions to illustrate posters for specific operas. He has done this quite well, visual trickery included. To compare him to a surrealist (la Rene Magritte) makes no real sense.

1/27/2009 6:17 PM  
Blogger Kenn said...

Firstly, David thanks so much for putting into words (so eloquently) the strength and beauty of Sterling's work. Secondly, sheesh Mr Anon, you don't like debate? People are going to push you to clarify your opinion if it is as inflammatory and dismissive as your postings were. Besides, last time I checked illustration is all about adding value or illuminating a text. If Sterling's work fails in that respect in your eyes, then fair enough but I think it's pretty reductive labeling him 'Coffee table cod surrealism'.

1/27/2009 6:18 PM  
Blogger Andrew R. Wright said...

Anonymous, why do you insist on personal attacks? No one here has done the like towards you (even when you).
Back to the original point:

Define in Sterling's work what you see as "visual trickery" and why you view it as so?

Also a student of Sterling's, and one who truly admires his work, I am curious to hear someone's opinion that goes against that grain.

Please, set the thesaurus and personal attacks aside, and state your opinions in Lehman terms so that there is no more confusion.

1/27/2009 6:22 PM  
Blogger Eric Orchard said...

The ability to appreciate all the qualities in a work of art without ideological blinders is the mark of a great eye I think. No one one is shouting Mr. Anon.These are wonderful pieces.

1/27/2009 6:23 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Anonymous, it's fine with me if you think that Hundley is "glib" or "tricky" and it shouldn't matter much that nobody else seems to share your view-- lord knows I've been in the minority often enough. I have generally found that readers of these posts, and sometimes even the artists that are the subjects of these posts, are pretty open minded about different perspectives when commenters offer reasons rather than conclusions. I encourage you to point out an example in one of these pictures, or identify another artist who exemplifies what you think Hundley should have done, or share the basis for your conclusion in some other way. The last person who successfully used Ipse dixit as a justification for his views was Pythagoras of Samos, who claimed that he acquired his insights from the music of the spheres-- and even he wouldn't have gotten away with it if his theorem hadn't worked in the real world.

Personally, I tend to agree with Andrew W. Wright-- these seem to be well thought out pictures with excellent composition, color use, design, drawing, value, shape, execution, craft, control, etc. I also see in them multiple layers of meaning that are (as you put it) "seductively presented" so that it becomes worth my while to linger and pursue them. Are you saying that's bad?

I have never met Hundley, as some here apparently have, but I can tell you that I met the original painting for the Pearl Fishers up close and personal. It reminds you of that part of your humanity that makes your heart race and your nostrils flare. Can't ask a whole lot more from art than that!

1/27/2009 6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok this is my final post from what started as a simple truism.Let me illustrate {no pun intended,and this has nothing to do with technical skill}. The Death of a Salesman image. I see no suggestion of Death here,I see a statement that could be about life/work identity but I see no image here as evocative of Death as ,say, Saul Bass's cutout paper graphic image for Anatomy of a Murder.Please dont say the red in the limited palette stands for 'blood' Willy Loman wasn't hacked to death as I recall.Magritte was able to juxtapose incongrous images 70 years ago when it was a new idea and this stuff does the same thing, however beautifully rendered. And El Gato I concluded with that comment just to underline the fact that I am aware that Mr Hundley is an artist of talent.It's just that his images don't float my boat.

1/27/2009 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quit badgering the dumbass about his opinion, who cares what he thinks. It's not worth the time and all that's been built up nagging anonymous for an answer. In the end, whatever the person tries to say in another bunch of egotist self satisfying bullshit which wont equate to any of your fulfillment. Wither he gives in or has another round of comments, obviously he has nothing more enlightening to add to the conversation or he would've came back with more "witty" comments instead of off the cuff bashing of two others who posted their opinions.

1/27/2009 6:55 PM  
Blogger Artpolice said...

Sorry I'm late, I just got the call.

Anonymous; dont be a douche.


1/27/2009 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2,so eloquent.Heard the phrase "scratch a liberal find a fascist?" Probably not.Never mind.Good Bye.

1/27/2009 7:19 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

El Gato, Francis Vallejo and others-- it sounds as if half of Mr. Hundley's class is here. I envy the opportunity you had to learn from him. (However, I also now feel like the least qualified person on this post to talk about him. I just know his work; I wasn't aware he had such an active fan club.)

Second anonymous, it's great when everyone agrees on a particular artist, but I love it when people with sincerely held and informed views joust about the merits of pictures on this blog. No one ever capitualates, but sometimes the distance between positions is reduced and very often the participants are educated in the process(especially me).

1/27/2009 7:35 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

First anonymous, thank you for the explanation. I agree that Hundley's image for Death of a Salesman does not focus on death in the literal sense, but perhaps you would be intersted in Hundley's own commentary:

"A travelling salesman wears himself away in the pursuit of his dreams...[the picture]invokes the haunted imagery of a used traveling salesman who has given his life to his industry. His open brief case reveals dreams unrealized (the house, the car...), while the hanging suit, the do not disturb sign, and the hotel room door hint at the indiscretions that would send his life into a tailspin."

I would urge everyone to visit Hundley's web site, to learn more from the horse's mouth.

1/27/2009 8:08 PM  
Blogger Larry MacDougall said...

Thanks David
This artist is new to me. Now I'll have to google him and learn more.


1/27/2009 8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good one. I have loved Sterling's work for a long time now, and was fortunate enough to have him do a piece for a Tori Amos calendar I did each year for awhile (as a benefit for a non profit called RAINN), as well as meeting him when he came to SCAD here in Savannah for a lecture. Great guy, great talent.

Ken Meyer Jr.

1/27/2009 11:17 PM  
Blogger Josh Burch said...

I can't add much that beyond what has already been said but I will say this. Not connecting with someones work is very different from attacking and refusing to attempt to understand it. I don't really connect with the work of Rothko or Andy Worhol but I still have taken the time to study and understand what other people see in them. If Anonymous had simply stated that they didn't connect with the work than none of this would have happened. Instead of flat out saying what wasn't working for him he dismissed Sterling's work as "visual trickery" Sterling is an amazing artist and an inspiration to illustrators everywhere, studying his work and talking to him has helped me, and many others, grow as an artist.

1/27/2009 11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On anonymous' Death commentary:
One who saw the original Death would agree that concept and execution were equally great. The painting is beautiful, dammit.
If someone is intended to find any parallels with art history – since we are using authorities to strengthen our reasoning on a subject – Joseph Beuyers’ Felt Suit, 1970 might restore ones faith in great art.

Sterling is illustrator of the highest order and very fine artist. Top talent out there and great visual thinker.
The energy of his linework, pattern-arrangements, mix of abstract and representational qualities resembles Boccioni and Jean Miotte.

1/28/2009 3:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a passer by, I suppose Anon might say that if you have to visit the artist's website to get an explanation of an image then in some sense its failed to communicate the idea it was meant to illustrate.Just a thought.

1/28/2009 3:51 AM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/28/2009 4:13 AM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

I am always amused with sports fans who cannot hit a ball or have ever faced a 300 pound nose tackle, speak about the flaws of athletes who are vastly superior to what they will ever be. Likewise, these passionate attacks seem to always come from people of the periphery of art, never from those knee-deep in the field.

Entertaining the concept of "visual trickery" points to a paucity of real experience...from someone in the audience, not on the stage.

Of course it's visual trickery. When someone applies colored paints to a flat surface and manages to make the viewer perceive space and depth, heat and cold, sadness and joy...that is a rare magic trick, a trick mastered by few. It is certainly not mastered by those non-participants in the audience who carp about the performance but have neither the talent nor wit to perform the trick themselves.

I have met a few professional athletes and some had little hand/eye coordination tricks that appeared simple but were impossible for us non-pros to duplicate. They were very special human beings...nothing at all like the fans whose only function is to cheer or boo. The same can be said about working artists. We can do things the average art fan cannot do. Most have the good grace and intelligence to recognize that fact. Sadly, there will always be those who have not developed the eyes and skills (as well as the winner's attitude) to allow them to see that very real gulf.

This is not arrogance, just a statement of simple fact...when it comes to talent, we are not all created equal. We can, however, strive to learn more about the subject of our passions.

1/28/2009 4:31 AM  
Anonymous Gops said...

Really good work..

1/28/2009 5:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Mr Howard has missed the point completely.If you read the posts the "visual trickery" refers to subject matter, just like an MC Escher picture or a Magritte or Dali visual illusion.Its important to read what people say not jump in an unload your own personal issues.
Edward Sands.

1/28/2009 8:02 AM  
Blogger Dustin dArnault said...

Anonymous give it a rest man. You are completely entitled to your opinion, that much is true. But the manner in which you are voicing your option is in high disrespect to Sterling as well as the rest of my colleagues. I do not appreciate that!
Sterling is an exceptional illustrator who is entitled to every bit of the admiration and respect he has received from his students and supporters. I had been privileged to be a student of his, along side a few of my fellow posters. I can honestly say he is not only an exceptional artist but an amazing and inspirational individual. An individual, who has worked very hard to get to where he is today and DESERVES RESPECT. It is obvious that your opinion is not share through out this forum of discussion. So many people have made great points while you keep talking in circles bringing absolutely nothing to the table. So why keep going?
I think secretly actually do enjoy his work. Why else would you be up at 5:02 in the morning writing about "visual trickery". It sounds like some one has a little artistic crush or is envious in some way. At the end of the day Sterling's work did connect with you, since you feel so strongly about it. I mean hey he got you talking.

1/28/2009 10:04 AM  
Blogger Andrew R. Wright said...

If all you see in Arthur Miller's play is the death of the main character Willy(salesman), then you completely missed the point. Just like you have with Sterling's work.

If blood had been placed in the image then THAT would be cheaply executed visual trickery and, like yourself, would have completely missed the point.

Sterling's explanation was referenced (I am assuming Mr. Apatoff, correct me if I am wrong) because it explains the essence of the play.

1/28/2009 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've rarely seen someone draw hands so poorly and yet draw so many of them...

1/28/2009 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another Anonymous (no Google account--sorry!) who thinks that this guy is not so special.

What's the point of saying that somebody is entitled to their own opinion, and then when that someone makes a criticism of Sterling's work, you mischaracterize that as a personal attack on the artist?

If you like it you like it. But if you don't like it, then that's okay too. This isn't an echo chamber (at least I don't think it is).

1/28/2009 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really impressed by this artist. I recognize his "Death of a Salesman" illustration as the gold medal award winner from the society of illustrators, but I didn't know anything about him before. I followed the link to his web site and am really impressed with his range. That guy sleeping on the couch of stars is beautiful. What is the story behind that one?

1/28/2009 3:24 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Can I make two suggestions for the anonymouses, both pro and con?

1. You don't have to have a google account in order to enter a name, or some kind of identifying code word. Even if you just describe yourself as "the artist formerly known as Prince," it will help maintain some connection between comments and responses.

2. If you think my esteem for Hundley is misplaced, that's OK, I can take it, but you're not likely to persuade anyone with mere adjectives like "glib" or "poor." The least you can do is offer reasons for your beliefs, or point to some supporting example. I only began to understand the fourth anonymous when he explained why he felt that Hundley's treatment of Death of a Salesman was not evocative of death as successfully as the famous Saul Bass image for Anatomy of a Murder. We have a different notion of the underlying concept of death, but we are at least speaking the same language.

1/28/2009 3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful work! His designs are really nice.

Jonathan B.

1/28/2009 5:07 PM  
Blogger Josh Burch said...

What do you find about the hands that makes you think they are drawn badly? I find that Sterling conveys emotions with hands just like artists such as Kathe Kollwitz. Expressive hands aren't for everyone, but that doesn't make them any less well drawn

1/28/2009 6:19 PM  
Anonymous kev ferrara said...

I'm with Rob Howard... its all visual legerdemain. "Well executed visual trickery" indeed! Oh, you mean that nutty thing we call Art? Quelle horreur!

And furthermore an artist who is able to command Visual Wit besides all the rest of it, that is something truly special. It is very very rare that an artist comes along who is able to be witty on canvas while retaining all the other aesthetic qualities a work may possess. (Which reminds me to say that there is no requirement that each hand must be painted to match the example of Raphael... mimetic integrity is only one knob on a vast dashboard of aesthetic tools)

And if, for some reason, you don't like wit in art, don't look at it. And if you can't even appreciate it, even if it is not to your taste, there is still no need to denigrate it in public using such vindictive language. Unless of course, denigrating it in public serves some emotional need. In which case, by all means, make a spectacle of yourself.

Francis, I dropped some images for you on your Dean Cornwell thread on CA.


1/28/2009 11:48 PM  
Anonymous Klaus said...

I like this Salesman picture alot.Nice colors and design but why is the suit hanging in the hallway? I think it would be hanging up inside the room, but this cannot be because the door handle notice would be on the inside of the room.
Also i see a toy car in the suitcase but I am not sure what else.Sorry if my English is not so good.

1/29/2009 6:57 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Klaus, I always try to be careful about reading a picture too literally-- one of the advantages of a picture over words is that there is more creative ambiguity in the symbolism. You cannot simply look up the definition of each element of a picture in a dictionary and find its meaning, the way you might look up a word from a sentence (and that's a good thing).

Having said that, to me this image means that the salesman was nothing more than an empty suit, someone whose only value to society was his handshake and his clean tie for selling merchandise. It seems that his mind, his face, his individual personality were of no concern to society, and once he was used up he was simply hung up someplace out of the way. Anonymous thought there should be more overt referemces to death here, but I think Arthur Miller's point was that Willy Loman had a long, slow, living death, and that he died in the eyes of his son long before he died physically.

I think a good picture will give you a variety of themes like this to ponder without leading you down a particular linear path. For a better view of the symbols in Hundley's picture, I would urge you to follow the link to his web site. He has more close ups there than I could include here.

1/29/2009 9:01 AM  
Anonymous K.K. said...

What makes me think the hands are drawn badly is that they are. Period. Interesting how nobody here seems to notice; just look at picture #5 from above (bends.jpg): 6 hands of which not a single one seems to look halfway correct, let alone as expressive emotionally as the hands of, say, Käthe Kollwitz...
I really wonder, how anybody can't see this: it's not that these hands just don't "match the example of Raphael", they are badly drawn, very badly indeed...

1/29/2009 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, this Hundley is definitely a step or two above the average illustrator. But is that really saying a lot?

Reading all the praise for him I imagine some poor starving man stuck on a desert island jumping for joy when he finally figures out how to crack open a little coconut.

Anonymous #789378

1/29/2009 11:54 AM  
Anonymous Klaus said...

Thank you David for explaining this picture.You are most kind,I think in Germany we look for things to make sense but this also maybe our failing.
I presume the car is a present for this man's child or is he selling them?

1/29/2009 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Klaus said...

Also I meant to say i spend many hours studyig the real drawings of Kollwitz and I must say she is drawing hands far better than mr hundley.She is one of our greatest artists and it is offensive for your contributor to compare these two artists.i'm sorry to have to speak in this in this way.

1/29/2009 1:20 PM  
Anonymous JasonK. said...

Nice.But this stuff just wouldnt cut the mustard in London illustration.We've got young cutting edge talent with plenty of attitude, this has got cobwebs on it.

1/29/2009 1:59 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

K.K. (thank you for the identifying initials) I'm afraid I just don't know what it means to say, "What makes me think the hands are drawn badly is that they are. Period." (Unless of course you are that New Pythagoras I referred to in an earlier comment).

I do understand the second half of your comment, that the hands in picture no. 5 don't look "correct." That tells me that we have reached different conclusions because we are applying different standards. As far as I am concerned, once an artist has demonstrated that he or she has acquired the technical skill to draw accurately (which Hundley clearly has) then "correctness" become less interesting than the aesthetic choices that caused the artist to distort an image. Steve Ditko's hands were famously incorrect, but they were an intentional part of the elasticity of his drawings.

Personally, I wouldn't even presume to say what the "correct" hands were for a blue mermaid, or a deep sea diver's glove. All I would ask you to consider is this: do you think that anatomically meticulous hands with correct bone strucure and fingernails painted in my distract from the central focus of the picture (what's going on inside the diver's helmet) and from the general tone of the image (which is magical and illogical and not one bit "correct"?)

1/29/2009 2:12 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Can I make a suggestion to all? I wrote this post about Hundley because I deeply admire his work and I see many lovely things in it. Some readers seem to have taken this as a personal challenge to see if they can name another artist that they like better. We have now gone global; the German contingent insists that Kaethe Kollwitz is better; the London contingent insists that "London Illustration" (which I have been unable to locate using google) is better. In order to avoid an international incident, can I suggest that we all agree that the world is full of wonderful artists, and that they are wonderful in many different ways? When I wrote in an earlier post about how much I loved the work of Kaethe Kollwitz, the Sterling Hundley fans out there (of which there are many) had the good taste and judgment not to write in and say, "oh yeah? well what about Sterling Hundley?" They understood that to compliment Kollwitz was not an insult to Hundley.

I am always eager to hear about new artists, and JasonK, if you write back and tell me how to see the work of London Illustration, I will react to them / it / him too. However, I will tell you up front that in my view, "attitude" can be either a good or a bad thing.

1/29/2009 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, David, that's because when people look at the work of Kaethe Kollwitz they tend to forget about other artists. But when people see Hundley's work, other artists spring to mind immediately. At least, this is what happens when I and a few people I know look at their work. Also, Hundley's work recalls the work of other contemporary illustrators which some would say isn't a good thing, especially if you want to elevate "mere illustration" to the level of "high art".

I'm not playing favorites here. I think they're both pretty cool as far as artists go. At least they're not boring like that Adrian Gott--- heh heh... never mind. :p

Anonymous #789378

1/29/2009 3:48 PM  
Blogger Francis Vallejo said...

well said David!!!!

I do not enjoy Raphael. But if I see a forum on Raphael, I'm not inspired to write how terrible of an artist he is. We have something to learn from everybody (I do respect Raphael's color very much). If you do not enjoy Sterling's hands...then so be it. But then try and take something from his handling of an eye, or his composition. A pure artist will be able, and open, to learn something from all art. Being so close minded will only reflect poorly in your own work.

1/29/2009 3:56 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Anonymous #789378 (thanks for the identifier-- you aren't by any chance an inmate at a federal penitentiary, are you?)

Finally, this is a conversation I can enjoy. You and Klaus seem to share my admiration for
Kathe Kollwitz which is great, but we part company over whether a mere illustrator such as Hundley can compare to a "high" artist like Kollwitz. You may think that Kollwitz produces "high art" but during her lifetime Kollwitz was derided for being a mere illustrator and even worse, a propagandist. She was criticized by all sorts of experts: the government denounced her art as "decadent." Roving Nazi bands bombed her work because of its unhealthy (communist) message. The "high art" experts in galleries and museums were by that time sold on modern art and criticized her "tired, old style" the same way that JasonK now criticizes Hundley: "cobwebs."

So while you and Klaus may believe that Kollwitz's quality is indisputable, it wasn't so long ago that her work was considered hackneyed and lowbrow.

If this blog is about anything (and I'm not sure that it is) it's about stripping away the pretension and the politics and the economics and the hypocrisy and the cultural imperialism, and giving images a fresh look on a level playing field. I don't believe what the director of MOMA tells me about illustration art any more than I believe what the Nazis tell me about Kollwitz. All the images on display here have to justify themselves from scratch.

Right now I am looking at an original Kollwitz etching and an original Hundley painting. As far as I am concerned, they are both beautiful and could fit very well together on a wall, side by side.

1/29/2009 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Klaus said...

David.You mention Kollwitz again i think in a respectful way i appreciate.But Frau Kollwitz had a life scarred by tragedy of her son peter's death in WW1 she also felt great grief in her heart for ordinary people what you might call the nebbish.She was not a magazine illustrator construkting pictures for entertainment.This is why she is so important to us.

1/29/2009 5:31 PM  
Blogger Francis Vallejo said...

Klaus. It's up to the illustrator if they decide to let the illustration begin and end at entertainment. But the best illustrators, and I consider Sterling in this category, take the illustrations beyond the initial purpose and into the realm of truth and evocative imagery. Yes, sometimes entertainment is the initial purpose, but countless timeless images have been created from simple illustration jobs.

I imagine if this conversation continues, then it will evolve into another fine art vs. illustration argument.

But I invite you to take a look at the image Sterling recently posted on his blog: . It is quite possible to be an illustrator, but still communicate as much emotion, and have as much of an impact, as a Kollwitz.

1/29/2009 5:49 PM  
Anonymous K.K. said...

Ok, David, then would you please explain to me what, in your opinion, were the "aesthetic choices" that caused Hundley to "distort" the hands in picture #5? Why would he want that not one of the 4 hands, that hold the helmet, actually looks like - holding the helmet? Or doing anything at all? No action there, nor any expression. They look like rubber gloves glued to the helmet's surface. Sorry...

1/29/2009 5:50 PM  
Anonymous Klaus said...

Mr Vallejo,I have looked at many original drawings of Kollwitz and many times I think I see her tears on the paper,This is vey moving i think.I do not disrespect Mr Hundle but I do not think i see his tears there but i will look at his webpage as you command.Thank You Sir.

1/29/2009 6:03 PM  
Blogger Andrew R. Wright said...

David your mind is magic and responses are twice as fantastic. I share very similar views to yours. If I ever disagree with anything you say I will be sure to speak up though. I promise.

Kollwitz was a magazine illustrator. She actually became quite popular through it. It was called Simplicissimus. Her work appeared among such greats as Edward Thony and George Grosz.

1/29/2009 6:48 PM  
Blogger Andrew R. Wright said...

Also if illustrators merely make pictures for entertainment value then why have so many "fine artist" looked to "illustrators" for inspiration? (I put quotes around the titles because I do not believe the labels accurate. Good art is good art without the labels.)

Andy Warhol's favorite painter was Maxfield Parrish.

Many successful impressionist contemporaries of NC Wyeth viewed his work to be masterful in the sense of color.

Malcolm "Skip" Lipke. Enough said.

John Sloan began his career wanting to be an illustrator.

The list goes on.

1/29/2009 7:11 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

K.K.-- Fair question. Here is the way that I would think about the hands in picture no. 5:

Most importantly, I think the artist intended to create an abstract design of earth toned shapes, patterns and textures swirling around the blue center of the picture. Those hands are geometric shapes that chop up the striped shirts and fragment the background so that it makes a better design. They also make it harder to recognize or read the background literally, so it won't distract from the center of focus. If those hands were rendered with more precision and detail, the eye would fix upon them and they would lead you on a path away from the focus of the picture. (we discussed this in a recent post about why an artist has to be selective about what is detailed and accurate and what is just vaguely suggested. The artist needed just enough definition of the hands so that they were recognizable as hands, but not so much definition that they disrupt the priorities of the picture.

Interestingly, Kathe Kolwitz is a great example of this phenomenon. If you look at Kollwitz's image of a mother looking for her dead son in a battlefield, the hand is carefully rendered because it is the focal point of the whole picture, but the rest of the image-- including the mother-- is like a soft lumpy cloud. It is far less "correct" than Hundley's hands in picture no. 5.

Next, I think those hands were treated this way to convey a flurry of activity from panicked sailors trying to rescue the diver. I get a sense of motion from this picture, that the "earth" world is a scramble of activity and sunlight and buckles and snaps and busy hands while the undersea world is a place of calm isolation and cool colors and slow motion and long seductive kisses from some force that doesn't want to give the diver up. In such a painting, I think the hands served their highest artistic function by being little more than a blur.

Finally, I think the way that the colors and shapes and lines of the hands play against each other make the painting more visually interesting. I assume you object that the outline of the hands doesn't reflect correct bone and muscle structure. I think the artist is telling us that the structural outline of the hands is perhaps the least important way the hands are conveyed; notice how some of the fingers are outlined in places, but in other places they are just painted thickly and opaquely, and in still other places they are painted so transparently that you can still see the stripes of the shirts showing through. Surely this is not because Hundley doesn't know how to apply a coat of paint? If he were simply filling in the lines, or painting like Norman Rockwell, then JasonK would be right, Hundley's approach would be old fashioned. But he is taking liberty to play with the pinks and oranges and myriad flesh tones, and with transparent and opaque colors, and with lines and molded surfaces, some flattened and some three dimensional. He does it very deliberately and, I think, very well. Look at the sensitivity of that hand to the left of the helmet, especially that great mottled coloration, and measure its success the same way you might measure the success of a Rodin water color or a Matisse painting.

1/29/2009 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Klaus said...

Mr Wright.Twice you try to trivialize frau Kollwitz by implying she was an illustrator and therefore her pictures were motivated by money.First time i ignored this sleight against one of our most important artists, then you repeat the offence in a second communication.I see you are trying to downgrade her to the level of your kamerad Mr Hundley.
Do you not realize the horrors Kollwitz saw around her husband of women raped and brutalized and the struggle to demonstrate this tragedy on paper?There were workers she made studies of who were not Nazis but fighting against them.This was our tragedy.You do not realize the damage you are doing.I thought this was a good forum.

1/29/2009 7:48 PM  
Anonymous JasonK said...

Personally I'd give this stuff a swerve if you know what I mean Dave.

1/29/2009 7:56 PM  
Blogger Andrew R. Wright said...

First, what I say has nothing to do with the quality of this forum. Mr. Apatoff has a magnificent forum here, in the fact that a conversation like this can occur.

Second, you speak as if Kollwitz was the only artist to see war (Harvey Dunn recorded atrocities in the first World War that are just as moving). I respect her work to all ends. I am not classifying her as anything. It is a fact that she produced work that was published in Simplicissimus, therefore being classified in popular culture as "illustration". Just like work hanging in a gallery is classified as "fine art". I don't agree with it but that is the way it is.

So, if you are offended, did you ever consider that I may be offended by your comments on Mr. Hundley's work?

1/29/2009 8:01 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Klaus, I hope you have had an opportunity to read my earlier post about Frau Kollwitz and the "majestic example" that her life and her art provide to today's artists. If you have, then you know that I am aware that she lost not only her son but her grandson in war, and that she was a true friend of the proletariat.

The very first piece of art that I ever bought was an etching by Ms. Kollwitz. I was a student, surviving by working as an artist and a janitor in my spare time, and it took me a whole year to pay for the etching with installment payments from my wages. I borrowed the downpayment from my girlfriend. It is framed on my wall today and I still get fresh inspiration from it every day. So please don't think that I am being disrespectful, and I don't think Mr. Wright is being disrespectful either. Frau Kollwitz's work was beloved by the people, but like many other great artists of the 20th century she was scorned by the critics of her day, as well as by the government. And technically she was an "illustrator" because her graphic work was regularly published in the satirical magazine Simplicissimus, as well as on the cover of at least one book. This is not a bad thing in my view. Daumier's work was also regularly published in a French satirical magazine. I think the important lesson here is that we have to be careful about assigning artwork to a lower class simply because it is labeled as an "illustration." Let the pictures speak for themselves.

1/29/2009 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Klaus said...

I respect the memory of agreat man Harvey Dunn and his experience of WW1.Kollwitz? A war she lost her son Peter and then the long struggle in the Weimar years i mentioned earlier.But you do not seem to have sympathy for her plght because an artsts work is shown in a publication she becomes an illustrator? Then all artist shown in a magazine must be illustrators.Also Simplicissimus is not a magazine like Saturday Evening Post of cosy Americana.This magazine was feared by the Nazis who would try to purge them.

1/29/2009 8:35 PM  
Anonymous Klaus said...

David you are a thoughtful and kind man with a good understanding of things. I apologise if I have offended you.

1/29/2009 8:39 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Klaus, I am glad to have you participating. I love having different perspectives from different countries, and if I were the kind of person who took offense to comments, I would have given up this blog long ago!

1/30/2009 2:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

It almost seems unfortunate for Hundley that he didn't have to survive through the two great wars.

Hundley and Kollwitz are both great illustrators (and applying the term illustrator to Kollwitz is no insult, as she does simply what any good illustrator would do, and that is shine a light on their subject matter). They both depict their subject matter with skill and soul.

I suspect that Kollwitz would be happy to see that Hundley's work doesn't display the raw grief that is apparent in her work. While it gives her work a certian obvious power, it also means that Hundley hasn't had to suffer in the same way.

If Kollwitz hadn't had to survive two world wars, the loss of sons and grandsons, and the oppresive nazi regime, she would have been painting fantastic opera posters.
And like Hundley, she would have been giving it her all.

1/30/2009 9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know who Hundley's real artistic influences were. His posters are different than the posters that artists like Maxfield Parrish and others did during the golden age of posters, and different than the posters of Kollwitz or Norman Rockwell. I don't want to say they're smarter, but there's more symbolism and ideas. They are very good!

1/30/2009 10:10 AM  
Blogger Carlos Killian said...


1/30/2009 2:38 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

I'm a huge fan of Sterling's work. I've been lucky enough to hire him for a project and I hope to do so again.

1/30/2009 5:42 PM  
Blogger Tyler said...

David, I absolutely love your thoughtful responses to everyone's comments.

Regarding Klaus's position: I think the discussion could benefit from a denotative understanding of the term "illustration." It seems that there might be cultural understanding (or some other subjective factor) derailing the term's effective use..... lost in translation, so to speak.

Again, David, great input and moderating here.

1/30/2009 10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

first of I'm going to say "Art" is a visual stimulus that erodes our emotions and makes us ask questions whether it be good or bad, to me that makes the piece already successful. So who cares if someone labels Frau Kollwitz work As "illustration" just because its printed media despite its nature. Illustrator's are not just about making money, we make art to depict what we see and analyze it and slave over a piece to reach out to the public. I gather if Mr Hundley was making art during the world wars it would depict so much that you would not be able to handle it, so stop comparing artist from past times to current artist were in 2009 man show me some current people that can take on this man. Artist's like Frau Kollwitz and Every other Artist of the past have left us there pieces of art to educate, fill us, and show us there take on the world. But this is an Epic debate which should continue because different points are being presented and thats the fascinating part of being able to speak our minds, one for the ages I would say. Im also curious about the london illustration comment, I know a few british artist but I wonder if england has an illustration annual or blog so I can see all these so called cutting edge artist you speak of . well I put my rant at an ease, thank you David for a great Blog I just discovered it a few dayz ago and I have been waiting for the time to have my voice heard. take care people love art and love making it as "Artist" we are a minority we need to stay united.

Jeramy Bloom
Montreal, Canada

1/31/2009 12:22 AM  
Anonymous JasonK said...

What is London illustration? I'll tell you what it's not. It's not old fossils knocking out this type of old pony.Come on guys get in the loop put down your quill pens and get on the case,

1/31/2009 7:24 AM  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

You are a funny twat jason k, you make me giggle.

Unless you can point us in the direction of this wonderful illustration i.e. names of illustrators who work in this glorious new world without quill pens and cobwebs, we can only continue to think you are a funny twat.

1/31/2009 7:41 AM  
Anonymous JasonK said...

Funny twat? Isnt that an anagram of...oh yeah, Matthew Adams.What's wrong mate cant you use a search engine.What a monkey!

1/31/2009 8:16 AM  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

I did, but couldn't be bothered trawling through a large amount of boring agency rubbish just on the off chance that there might be a worthwhile illustrator in there.

Obviously you can't support your boast, or you would mention some names.

Cheers mate

1/31/2009 8:28 AM  
Anonymous JasonK said...

So in other words you want me to do all the work for you ...and anyone represented by an agency is producing 'boring rubbish'? Your basis for that conclusion is?

1/31/2009 8:59 AM  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

Yes jason, that's exactly what I would like you to do. As you are the one who keeps boasting about this magical london illustration I think it is only fair that you are the one who provides the proof.

I am certian that not all agency illustrators are boring (even good illustrators need someone to represent them if they wish to make a living), but the few examples i saw before I gave up in disgust didn't support your boast.

You might win this debate by providing proof to back up your statement, but seeing as you continually avoid doing this, one can only assume you are talking out of your arse.

Maybe we should continue this discusion on my blog so that dave and his other readers don't have to put up with our immaturity

1/31/2009 9:20 AM  
Anonymous JasonK said...

It might be because I work in the Industry and I dont want to put any individual illustrator in the position of having a no talent like you say "Well its not traditional illustration like I'm used to".
Bottom line :Agencies get people work, alot of people (not all) who slag off agencies arent good enough to get representation.I've just come out and said it the way it is.Deal with it,

1/31/2009 10:30 AM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

JasonK, do your friends at London Illustration have any idea that you are humiliating them this way? Perhaps they are hoping they can safely hide amongst the 4,140 hits for "London Illustration" on google.

Look, I am glad that you are proud of your organization and I'm glad that there are people in the world young enough to still believe that having "attitude" or being "cutting edge" is by definition a good thing. But if you want to advance your cause, you might want to watch that rudeness part, because there are people in the world who will jump to the conclusion-- however unfairly-- that just because you are rude, you must be ignorant as well. Fortunately, I have spent enough time around teenagers to know better, and you have a friend in me.

1/31/2009 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, talking numbers: 1o2, that's a new highscore, isn't it? Congrats for that, David! Curious with what post you're gonna try beat this...Porn?

1/31/2009 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

104, that is...

1/31/2009 12:08 PM  
Anonymous Kyle said...

As an illustrator working through an agency,I do bridle a bit at the assumption that my work is 'rubbish' unless proven otherwise.
I hope there's room for both digital and analog -horrible term- in the industry.
I've heard there are Art Directors who try to save money on production costs by cutting out the cost of scanning artwork.
Is this so?

1/31/2009 1:22 PM  
Blogger EL Gato Negro said...

hey Matthew I was able to find a company in england called I love dust they have some sweet illustrations but there based in the south coast of England but I could not find individuals. jason K I really want to see illustrators from london why wont you share some name with us?

1/31/2009 4:12 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Barnett Newman famously said that "art criticism is to the artist what ornithology is to the birds."

I was surprised to discover that, while we have been having this discussion / food fight here, the artist himself, Sterling Hundley, has been conducting a far more thoughtful analysis on his web site. I urge each and every one of you to visit Hundley's advice column for young talent on his web site to see how an admirable artist responds constructively to all the honking and clucking of the marketplace.

1/31/2009 4:53 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

To the latest anonymous with no identifier whatsoever: whether these 102 comments qualify as a new "high score" depends on whether you are talking about quantity or quality.

As for whether I might attract more readers with porn, I doubt it, as I restrict my explicit work to a very small circle.

1/31/2009 5:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

Sorry Dave for cluttering up your blog with what basically amounts to silliness.

I am sorry if i offended anyone with my remarks about agencies (in australia we don't have them, but I am aware that in america and england illustrators find them incredibly useful, and I wish we had them in australia). I wasn't trying to slag agencies, or artists who work for them, my main issue was that looking through the work presented by these agencies (and i did look rather quickly, so I am aware this is not completely fair), I did not find anything that made Hundley's illustration look old and out of date. In fact, I didn't find anything to equal hundley's work. Thats not to say that there isn't any illustrator in london that isn't as good, I just didn't find it.

1/31/2009 8:52 PM  
Blogger Traven said...

Mr Apatoff, you conduct the communication with commenters very admirably. I almost always find myself to be the most moderate in my social surroundings, but you are no worse.

Sterling Hundley is a real discovery.

2/01/2009 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been a fan of this forum for quite some time now and I have been a fan of Sterling's work for some time as well. One thing I think one can agree on when looking at his images is that he has truly found his own voice. Of course nothing is original and everyone is inspired and influenced by something or someone. But when you look at some artist's work, you know right away who they're looking at or sometimes blatantly knocking off. I've never got that from Sterling's Illustration. And for the artist's out there, we all know the challenge of finding your own voice. Now this could be challenged and I have noticed that in this arena you better back up your answers. So when I say that Sterling is unique (but not 100% original, naturally), I can only support this by my own knowledge of illustration. If he is ripping someone off, I've never seen em. But I know he's not, because he has something in his work that no hacker can ever rip off: CONFIDENCE!


2/02/2009 4:42 PM  
Blogger Kyle T. Webster said...

Sterling is humble, generous, approachable, and smart. His art stands out as some of the best stuff in our field. I'm proud to know him and I hope he continues to inspire illustrators, young and old, for many years to come.

2/02/2009 11:41 PM  
Blogger Rob Howard said...

"I hope there's room for both digital and analog -horrible term- in the industry.
I've heard there are Art Directors who try to save money on production costs by cutting out the cost of scanning artwork.
Is this so?"

Kyle, that is becoming increasingly true. Illustrators are being asked to supply digital files. That's not all that bad, even for old brush and paint guys like myself because we can scan or photograph the painting and, if need be, tweak it in Photoshop. The big advantage is that we get to keep the originals.

Forty years ago, we submitted the paintings and never saw them again. Only the big name headliners, like Rockwell, ever got their work back. So what happened to the original paintings? At one publisher's Christmas Party, 108 of my originals (along with other illustrators) were given away as party favors, perhaps to be used as coasters and placemats by the receptionist and janitor.

I recall seeing baled illustrations being loaded with a forklift onto a truck to make room in the storage area of one firm. So there, you spend time and effort making the best art you can only to see steel baling cables and a fork lift cutting into that pristine surface. Nowadays, the illustrator gets to keep the art. This presents its own problem of storage. In fact, we were sorting through lots of art in the studio and, once again will be offering it for sale. We simply don't have the storage space, but at least its final disposition is now left up to the artist, not some traffic manager in an agency or publishing house.

In that sense, this is the better way to go. The AD gets a digital file to plug into the page and we get to keep the original. It's a good deal all around.

2/03/2009 4:42 AM  
Blogger Nathan Fowkes said...

David, thanks for posting these. It's remarkable work.

2/03/2009 3:23 PM  
Anonymous Kyle said...

Thanks Rob,I hadn't thought about it that way before, I had assumed the pressure would be on to produce digital artwork, but I suppose there IS an upside to the situation.

2/03/2009 6:40 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

great blog!!!

2/04/2009 5:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and kind of a dead one... What's going on, David? Still thinking about which of your friends to throw to the wolves next?

2/04/2009 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, all you anonymous posters out there...if you don't have the balls, to paraphrase Stephen Colbert, to sign your oh so clever and scathing missives...don't waste our time or yours by posting them. David may have the patience of a saint, but I think most of us think many of you should just find another place to vent your spleen.

Having vented my own self, regarding the digital/analog thang, a classmate recently coined a term I thought was clever. It goes to the reality that there are many of us that work in both media, separately as well as combining the two. His term is 'tradigital,' and I think it is pretty descriptive.

Anonymous only in that I am a dolt in trying to get my google identity to work,

Ken Meyer Jr.

2/04/2009 12:33 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Nathan-- thanks very much. I can't tell you how gratifying it is to hear how talented artists respond to these kinds of pictures.

Anonymous no. ______: you ask, "Still thinking about which of your friends to throw to the wolves next?"

You raise a good point. I don't know Mr. Hundley, but I may have diminished my chances of ever becoming his friend by subjecting him to this unruly crowd. Kinda makes me think I should focus only on dead artists for a while. You are also correct, I am overdue for an update, but my day job has been particularly challenging recently. I promise I'll add something fresh today for you to take pot shots at!

2/04/2009 2:34 PM  
Blogger Tony Shasteen said...

Regardless of whether you're a fan of Hundley's work or not, it's nice to see a lively discussion about an illustrator's work. I'd take it as a compliment that he can get such an emotional response from his work.

Can't say much about the cowardly anonymous posts though. Looks like a lot of e-courage to me.

2/14/2009 3:30 PM  
Blogger faeorain said...

These images are beyond amazing...would love to have some for my collection.

2/15/2009 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

too bad the guy is an ASSHOLE.

2/19/2009 11:31 PM  
Blogger Robert Hunt said...

I am somewhat amazed to observe the tone of the comments from "annon" re Sterling Hundley's work. Mr. Hundley has gone down his own path, developing his own style and approach while building on a base of traditional illustration knowledge. He did this in the last 10 years in a time when the tide was against this type of work. He is tremendously respected by his peers in illustration, myself included.
Appreciation of art is always a matter of personal taste, but I would like to suggest that there is no basis BEYOND personal taste upon which to attack Mr. Hundley. Setting aside the probability that you have no conception whatsoever of the kind of pressure this kind of work is done under, personal attacks and put-downs are not professional, not cool- just wrong, Anonymous.

2/23/2009 3:05 PM  
Anonymous Kevin Sprouls said...

These are stunning images. I was heretofore unaware of Sterling's work. Thanks for sharing this...

2/23/2009 11:09 PM  
Blogger David Apatoff said...

Faeorain, Tony, Robert and Kevin-- Thanks very much for writing in and sharing your views. I agree with your remarks, and I'm glad to see people with a feeling for this kind of art connecting with Mr. Hundley.

3/01/2009 8:29 AM  
Blogger Gringo said...

Thanks for the post David, I discovered him through here. So thanks for having that excellent eye. Keep on the lookout.

5/13/2009 1:33 AM  
Anonymous techzarinfo said...

nice blog david thanks for sharing

6/29/2011 3:06 AM  

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