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Eisner Winner James Jean Thrills Art World and Comic-Con

Dive by James Jean
Dive by James Jean

James Jean is probably best known at Comic-Con for his tenure as a cover artist for DC Comics and his cover work for other series, for which he's won seven Eisner Awards (the Oscars of the comics industry). But outside of the comics world, Jean has forged an impressive career in fine art. This past January, he had a sold out show at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York and worked on a major campaign for Prada. Between gallery shows and blowing up the art world, Jean has returned to his roots this weekend and will be at Comic-Con.

His work is the stuff of dreamscapes, with imagery that seems so delicate it could fade before your eyes, while other images are heavily populated with beauty and disruption – an obvious comparison would be Hieronymus Bosch.

In a 2004 interview, Jean talked about where he gets his inspiration:

There are so many things that are visually incredible, like the bright colors of kids running around, beating each other up in the park, or that indecipherable white in the clouds in a dry, night sky. So the hardest part, for me, is getting over a sense of smallness I feel in the face of the beauty we are confronted with every day, and mustering up the nerve to do something halfway meaningful.

One of my favorite things on Jean's site are his slideshows of sketchbooks and their contents. Beware, some are NSFW. The whole site is well-designed and you could spend hours there.

Chronicle Books just released a book of his prints called Kindling and it's beautiful! Advance copies will be on sale at the Chronicle books booth #1506. He'll also be featured in a "Spotlight" panel on Saturday at 1pm in Room 7AB.

Jean also did the cover art for the 2008 Eisner winning comic "The Umbrella Academy."

Jean will be at the Scribble.08 premiere Thursday night where his work is part of the exhibit so you can check him out there. Also, look at this funny little video of Jean at last year's Comic-Con:

James Jean at Comic-Con