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Archive for September 2012


Artist Influences: Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby Self-Portrait

August 28th would've been Jack Kirby's 95th birthday, so I thought this week's blog should be a little tribute to one of my favorite artists since childhood. Gone, but not forgotten. He was an American comic book artist whose illustrations inspired many fans like myself, and his legacy of creativity still influences artists today. He was basically a pioneer in the world of comics. Kirby was part of the creative conception behind Captain America in 1940. He pretty much created the majority of the cast of Marvel characters, despite an ongoing copyright war between his family and Marvel, who owns all of his character creations. Kirby worked for Marvel, DC Comics, and worked with Stan Lee in co-creating characters like The Fantastic Four and X-Men.

Jack Kirby's Captain America

Just look at this Captain America illustration. It's pretty obvious why Jack Kirby is known as “The King of Comics!” He was an artistic badass! His exciting visual style and illustrative dynamism made his work stand out compared to other comic artists. The angles and consistent action in each panel makes it feel as if you're right there in the story as it's happening. His work has a lot of movement.

Jack's legacy truly does live on, not only in our hearts, but there's a great place called the Kirby Museum. It's got a huge archive of his work on there, where they're doing a really great job of educating the masses about his career, art, and inspirations. Check it out and enjoy!

On Jack's birthday this year, his granddaughter, Jillian Kirby, ran a campaign called Kirby4Heroes. Funds donated to this on August 28th went to the Hero Initiative organization, a non-profit charity which raises funds for aiding comic book creators, artists, and writers in medical or financial need. It's a unique organization with a noble cause.

Another really cool event revolving around Jack's 95th birthday this year was the “Wake Up and Draw” project. On August 28th, fans could keep up with the art on Twitter using the #WakeUpAndDraw hashtag. The Hero Initiative recruited 100 artists to contribute. Check out their art HERE. Furthermore, just this week on September 18th, an auction has begun for the Wake Up and Draw art contributions! The auction runs four weeks. Wanna bid? Register for free at!

Jack Kirby's work is so relevant today in so many ways, it's astounding. There's a new movie coming out soon called ARGO, directed by Ben Affleck. It's based off of a true story about a CIA rescue attempt to save six Americans hiding out in a Canadian Ambassador's home during the Iran hostage crisis. They convinced Iran that those six people were actually part of a sci-fi film crew, scouting for a movie titled Argo! It gets better. The CIA's fake production company used real designs by JACK KIRBY, stolen from the work he'd submitted for a film! It was Jack's art that helped these hostages successfully escape Iran! Nuts! I have to see this movie!!!

I'll finish this post with my painting of Ash. He's pretty much a superhero in his own right. I wanted to convey a sense of urgency in the action, to get that feeling one gets while looking at a Kirby action piece, with the hero in the foreground and chaos exploding around him.

Lastly, I may or may not have mentioned that I've been working on a comic book this summer! Things still haven't been finalized, so I'm not at legal liberty to make any official announcements, but fans of the macabre will enjoy it if everything pans out as planned. I am extremely excited to be working with the people behind this project. Can't wait to tell you guys about it!

Also I would like to go on record to say that my favorite Kirby comics are as follows: The Demon, Kamandi , New Gods, and Captain America!

Evil Dead 2 by Chris Kuchta

HEY! This weekend, I will be in Pittsburgh at HORROR REALM! Hope to meet more fans there!



Artist Influences: Rembrandt

The Artist Influences series is going to be about the top artists who left a great impression on me over the years. I can think of a top ten list right off the top of my head. Let's start with a classic painter.

One of the many artists I took a great deal of inspiration from is Rembrandt. Let me just say that if I had a name like Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, I'd just go by my first name, too! Easier, right? Funny, I have the opposite problem where people have a hard time pronouncing my last name!

Despite being a tortured artist from life dumping endless misfortunes on he and his family, he continually whipped out brilliant stuff. Light, texture, sense of space, and atmosphere are elements he excelled in.

Also it bears mentioning that his process of painting, the dutch -Flemish style, is the one that I have largely adopted to create all of my personal paintings.


The Night Watch

The Night Watch by Rembrandt

With Rembrandt, it's all about the lighting. See how well it works in the Night Watch painting above. Studying his work immediately impressed the notion of how very important it is to capture lighting within a painting. It makes the subjects feel more 3-dimensional and less flat. It's also a great way to highlight your key players in a piece with a lot of characters in it. Shine ’em up to make sure they become the stars of the piece.

Carcass of Beef (Pictured below) is a painting that most closely resembles my style, especially in relation to my sepia paintings.  Mmm...  Dead ox for dinner!

Carcass of Beef by Rembrandt

I haven't really gotten the bug to do a ton of self-portraits like Rembrandt did. I've sketched a few, but for now, I'm more obsessed with painting as many of my favorite monsters as possible. Guess I'm not a monster... Yet!

I'll leave you with a painting I feel expresses my interest in examining light rather well. It's definitely much more colorful, but I'm proud of all the little lighting nuances in my Candyman piece.

Candyman by Chris Kuchta