Focus On The Artists: Tim Vigil, Hard times from the Underground.
Few artists command my respect as much as Tim Vigil does, and not all the reasons for my respect are based on his amazing art.
Back in the mid 80’s, when every collector and fan where trying to make a profit out of the comic book bubble (speculatoin), I discovered a very underground series by a then quasi unknown artists that signed his work under the name of Tim Vigil. That work was Faust, Love of the Damned, published by Rebel studios.
Tim Vigil also shares credits with David Quinn on this gory master piece, a master piece that dabbles in demonic deals, loss of loved ones, psychosis and any sexual and violent deviant fantasy you want to dwell on.
We may create a blog entry on this amazing underground series, Faust, Love of the Damnedat a later time, but lets focus on the creator now.
In the late 80’s Faust broke into the comic scene like a hurricane. All the younger crowds where salivating over the work Miller was doing with Daredevil, while the older crowd were being fascinated by Tim Vigil’s tour de force, or maybe we were also busy hunting down the hard to find issues of Larry Weltz’s Cherry Poptart (another comic that should be covered on another entry).
If you manage to find any of these issues of Faust on eBay or by asking your LCS you will bear witness to a couple of different things, and just so you can be thankful you read my blog and continue to refer your friends to our site, I shall take the time to point some out:
Evolution: From issue 1 through issue 13, we get to witness the maturing process, and see how Tim Vigil’s art mutates from good to amazing, and these changes are such that the likes of which you will rarely be able to witness in the world of comics.
Yes, you may get to see how John Byrne or Frank Cho changes from year to year, but to see the evolution and the brilliance emerge from issue 1 to issue 13 that is something that seldom happens in the last couple of decades of comic book history.
Style: Tim Vigil is a master of detail and baroque art. Wether you enjoy his style or not (which is mainly a very subjective matter) he is a magnificient illustrator, as he proved from the start and continues to show us in his current work.
His attention to detail borders the ODD, and he belongs in the ranks of Berni Wrigthson in that both convert environments and surroundings in unavoidable parts of the complex and beautiful canvas.
His inks paint the vellum taking into account lighting, volume, thickness of lines, and uses the bricks of the cities, the stones of the castles, the wrinkles on the clothes, to convey either eeriness, or dread, or lust.
His female characters arch their backs and stick out their wet tongues when they are getting banged, and we feel the steam coming out the drool, and the sweat glistening on thier skins.
It does help the fact that Tim Vigil professes no small amount of love in his homage to Frank Frazetta with the positioning of the bodies, the contorting of the limbs, and he does this without falling into imitation. He adores Frazetta, builds from him, and using him as a reference in order to grow, and establish his own style.
He is an artist’s artist: I’ve lost count of how many of my artist friends (even those of some degree of fame) I’ve asked how they feel about Tim Vigil’s art and they all tell me “Are you crazy? I love that guy!!”
Then, inevitably, they asked me if he has done anything else after Faust.
I’ve managed to approach Tim in many conventions. Let me just say that if I am not sure that I want to go to a certain convention, and I hear that Tim will be attending, I then make an effort to go.
He always treats all his fans as potential peers. And sometimes that’s an double-edge sword, because he assumes they know as much as he does, and when they don’t he doesn’t have a problem making fun of them, and giving them a good ribbing.
In my book, the man has earn it, so don’t expect me to mark this against him. And some fans I see in the expressions on their faces that they don’t know how to handle it.
He is always direct and to the point. If someone asks his opinion about their artwork he won’t sugarcoat it. When I’m around his table, I end up feeling a bit like a stalker, cause I end up enjoying more hearing Tim talking to other people, rather than actually talking to the master myself. I always leave his table having spent more time than I initially allocated but don’t mind when it balances out with the quantity of amazing good tidbits I get from hearing him talk to other people.
Again bears mentioning that I personally know of a good number of published artists (some currently working for one of the Big Two, for those of you who believe falsely that only Marvel or DC publish comics) who have confided on how many aspects of their art came from emulating Tim Vigil.
And some of them can list the items they have emulated, like for example, how he makes the shinny hairs, the contorted body postures, the dramatic expansions of the fingers, the details of the backgrounds, the sliminess of the monsters… the list goes on and on.
Tim belongs to the rare bread of artists that I consider true artists.
Some people define artists in terms of whether they have been published or not. Some define them by whether they made an impact on the medium or not.
I’ve defined artists as those who would still do the art they do no matter what. No matter whether someone pays them, whether they get published, whether they get the public’s adulation.
The true artist NEEDS to express the work they craft.
It is a sad fact that in this day and age artists (and human beings in general) have to eat, and thus commercial art is born.
I may understand the intricacies of the comic book market more than some and less than most. I am of the strong opinion that all artist should get paid to create, no matter what. But that is not the reality we live in.
Artists who want to try their craft professionally, have to learn and adjust to the needs of the markets of their time.
Tim Vigil has always been to me one of those artists who may be making a lot of money, may be in total obscurity, may be highly regarded or completely ignored, he may work as a day-labor at a construction company to pay the bill or as a toll-collector on a bridge, he will always find time to illustrate and do what his soul screams to do.
No matter what, he will continue to illustrate those amazing journeys into the mouth of madness.
And that is the main reason why I respect him so much and I dedicate him a segment in my blog.
In one of those short conversations I had with him during a convention, (I’m pretty sure it was 2011 NYC Comic Con) I asked him about an omnibus for Faust, and he said he is close to striking a deal.
For more recent works that you may still find at the websites of the publishers you may want to peruse the Avatar’s web site, and look for Webwitch and Faust Hornbook.
I can only wish more success and more public recognition to such a great artist.
You may follow Rebel Studios offerings at http://rebelstudios.proboards.com
or follow Tim’s blog at http://timvigil.blogspot.com/