Sunday, February 21, 2010

Art Collection: "Potato Chip" By "Gig"

Click for bigger, print out immediately for your cubicle.

Ah, Gig, the master of the big-eyed puppies and kittens! How I love thee! How I long to know who you are! Indeed, Gig is one of the most elusive of the big-eyed masters, but it certainly wasn't for lack of effort! A dozen or so of Gig's huge, huge-eyed puppy and kitten designs were apparently quite successful, resulting in many different format prints and a series of Milton Bradley puzzles.

This print is quite large, a color litho mounted on thick particle board and with a textured clear top coating (visible in the scan). It's also quite yellowed, owing to the top coating, no doubt, so I've color-corrected it in Photoshop.

The name for this one, Potato Chip, is apocryphal; I got it from the illustrator Mitch O'Connell, whom I interviewed for a magazine feature on big-eyed art*. He saw it called that in a magazine ad.

I've always admired the sort-of "Ashcan school meets Salvador Dali" quality of the background in this one.

*This feature, written in 1994, features interviews about big-eyed art with O'Connell, Bill Griffith, John Waters, and "Tom Tomorrow," and will be scanned in the weeks ahead.

13 comments:

Madduane said...

I felt irresistably compelled to saw "awwww" out loud when this appeared on my screen. I remember seeing the name "potato chip" for this painting, too.

Matty Boy said...

And let's not forget the character Puss In Boots in Shrek 2 has the ability to change into huge eyed mode, so a new generation will at least be aware of this fading art form.

At least I think it's fading. Is there a modern big eyed artist, not counting anime and manga?

Peteykins said...

Yes, http://www.markryden.com/

drew in sf said...

<3

Thanks for the Mark Ryden link.

And... Matty's question makes me wonder, is there any intentional connection between American big-eye paintings and manga/anime character design? Was one originally informed by the other or is it convergent evolution?

[Of course this style of Japanese cartoon design has predecessors in America characters like Betty Boop, so the aesthetic borrowing obvs has a long-ish history.]

Matty Boy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matty Boy said...

Wow, some of Ryden's work is fantastic, like Jesus in the boat with the mascots.

While it certainly counts as big-eyed, it's quite a departure from the huge eyed like Gig. I don't expect them to sell many jigsaw puzzles of his work.

Peteykins said...

I think the Japanese Manga-style big-eyed art recalls the earlier, American example, but it somewhat different and largely unrelated. It doesn't take a genius to enlarge the eyes on an exaggerated character. I like to think of the two examples as convergent evolution.

drew in sf said...

What, Gig and Eden aren't geniuses? *Confused*...

samael7 said...

Is it the upraised paw in conjunction with the furrowed-but-somehow-unwrinkled brow? Or perhaps the long trail of foot (paw?) prints behind on the beach.

Or maybe the ramshakle building? Is it being built, lending us hope for a future and kids eager to adopt this poor abandoned waif, or is it falling apart, the ancestral home of our canine, once a place of grandeur and biscuits, now of rot, decay, and squatters?

Or is it the coke bottle in the foreground: showing us the wages of our wasteful and careless modern age, or a more hopful, desperate attempt by the puppy to reach out, somehow scribbling a message out on paper or maybe even just whining plaintively into the bottle before dropping it back into the sea.

Oh, Potato Chip, what is this hold you have over me?

Mitch O'Connell said...

Thanks for the link!
I fondly refer to him as "'Lil Puddles"!

bunnysmama said...

I used to do GIG jigsaw puzzles when I was a kid. I was a lonely, overweight child. I was teased relentlessly and friends were hard to come by. Those big-eyed animals "spoke" to me. Their expressions summed up my feelings of loneliness.
Though this kind of art is often maligned, I love it. It made me feel less "alone"
I actually have this picture as a puzzle from Milton Bradley, dated 1968.

tiffany said...

how much do you think that puzzle is worth? i have this exact one.

Peteykins said...

Tiffany: whatever you can get for it on eBay? Probably not much.