It is with a heavy heart that I report the passing today of Jack Davis, one of the greatest, most influential artists that ever lived.
To say that he was a genius and an inspiration to the cartooning world is a giant understatement. He created a style that was all his own, and was henceforth mimicked by many a frustrated cartoonist- wondering how the heck he could draw like that.
You need only look at the work of artists ranging all the way from the amazing Mort Drucker in his late 80's to Anton Emdin, 40 years younger, to see how many generations his influence has spanned so far. Anton and I had a shared Dropbox folder this last few years that we put Jack Davis artwork in when and wherever we found it, so we could both gawk at it for inspiration before drawing.
It will influence many young artists for generations to come. He truly was a one-of-a-kind artist, and one that left an indelible mark on the art world.
R.I.P. Jack Davis.
I grew up gaping in awe at his amazing work in MAD, on movie posters, on advertisements. If anyone has toured the offices of MAD, you'll have seen the giant original of the boxing page he drew AND THREW OUT AND STARTED AGAIN! Perfection wasn't even good enough for Jack, it seemed to others.
It was an honour to have got to very briefly meet him back in 2012. I had the opportunity to talk to him and have him sign something... I knew that Anton Emdin was such a huge fan, and would have killed to be there to meet him that year. So as he took my paper and started drawing his caricature on there, my feet and hands trembled as I wrestled with what I was going to say when he inevitably asked me "Who would you like me to sign it to?" - I very nearly said "Jason" but then my better judgement kicked in and I said "Anton".
When he handed the page back, I did a double-take... he'd signed it "For Antony". *gulp*...
I sent Anton an official letter along with his Jack Davis original, and some advice on how to open the package. I think I may have enclosed a form to change his name by deed poll. Luckily, Glen Le Lievre sent him a photo, signed by Jack with the correct name.
You can see it here on Anton's blog. http://www.antonemdin.com/blog/2012/07/mad-mail-day?rq=mad%20mail
Read this from Tom Richmond in 2013 to give you an idea of what an incredible artist Jack was. It's great reading: http://www.tomrichmond.com/blog/2013/08/06/you-dont-know-jack/
I've made a public gallery of just some of his work over on Facebook. View it here.