While in New Orleans for a weekend a few months ago, I stumbled upon the work of Joe Badon at the Frenchman Art Market. His colorful and spirited illustrations of some of my favorite horror and science fiction icons grabbed my attention. While talking to the artist, I found that the nighttime art market is one of several venues around the art-loving city where Badon sells his work. He lives in nearby Slidell, Louisiana with his wife, two teenage daughters, and their maltipoo dog.
After getting to know his portfolio of work, it’s hard to believe that Badon has had no formal training. The artist has been drawing his whole life and started taking his illustration skills in a more commercial direction about seven years ago. “I drew a portfolio, put it up online and began to respond to ‘artist wanted’ ads on sites like craigslist.com, deviantart.com, and comicbookclassifieds.com,” he explains.
Badon says he derives inspiration for his style from several sources. He has undeniably developed his own signature style, but art enthusiasts may recognize the influence of some of his favorites like cartoonist Marc Hansen and Josh Agle (Shag). He has an appreciation for certain forms of graffiti art, modern art, fringe art, naive art, 70’s hippie comix, 60’s cartoon and collage. He says he enjoys Surreal film and anything that breaks the norm of where storytelling is concerned. He admires the films of David Lynch, Wes Anderson, and Jared Hess. Some of his musical creative influences come from the Boredoms, John Zorn, John Cage, and John Coltrane. The medium of comics has unquestionably had a huge influence on his aesthetic. Badon says, “Understanding Comics [a book by Scott McCloud] blew my mind and gave me real insight on what it’s like to tell a story in comic form.” The artist credits the graphic novel Maus with teaching him what a comic should be and the impact the art form can have.
Relying on traditional tools to create his pieces, Badon ‘s process is straightforward, but by no means simple: He starts with a rough thumbnail, then a pencil sketch. He then puts ink on top of the sketch, fills in the flat colors, and adds shading and highlights. Finally, he adds ink splatters, paint drips, and various textures that give his body of work his signature look.
Since he began selling his artwork at local markets in New Orleans, Badon has met people within different creative industries who admire his work like film directors, animators, producers, and cartoonists. “It’s always cool when other professionals dig your stuff because it lets you know that you might be on the right track creatively,” he relates.
The artist is currently working on new pin up and lingerie art, as well as experimenting with collage art. He has recently completed two personal comics: Terra Kaiju and The Man with Ten Thousand Eyes. Future works will include a new comic book he’s writing now as wells as a card game he’s in the process of creating.
You can find Joe Badon’s amazing illustrations 4-5 nights a week at various art markets in New Orleans, and online at the following links:
Art Blog: joebadon.blogspot.com
Etsy Store: www.etsy.com/shop/joebadonart