Amazing Everything: The Art of Scott C is the name of a collected edition of Scott Campbell’s work. It is also a proper descriptor of said work. The guy is just plain awesome, even Jack Black says so in the intro to the book:
“I loves me some Scott C. His paintings are like precious little gems. So cleverly and skillfully executed. Touching and hilarious.”
Well put, Jack. Scott C’s work is undeniably charming and more than a little whimsical – the happy-go-lucky attitude of his work is infectious. I mean, just look at these guys on the right, they’re adorable, right? Wrong! They’re killing machines, just look at those unicorns blobs rip into those rainbows with unbridled abandon! It’s Scott C’s kind eye which paints these terrifying creatures in such a pleasant light, it is his gift – to see nothing but the best in people. Or perhaps he has a magic pen that does that. Regardless, Scott C is a gift to the world with his pop-culture iconography and cheerful scenarios that we should all meditate upon to become happier people, a goal which Scott says in his book that he has always been conscious of:
“I was not a tormented soul that must paint to stay sane. I had a Leave it to Beaver upbringing with a pleasant family. I just liked to make jokes and be happy… I like making people laugh and point and nudge one another.”
Ghostbusters print made for the 30th anniversary
of the franchise. Click to enlarge.
It’s refreshing to have an artist who is not only talented and untormented but also deeply rooted in the nerd zeitgeist. He worked for years in the video game industry, developing the world and characters for Double Fine’s Psychonauts and Brütal Legend before branching out and becoming a juggernaut of charming art in his own right. He paints primarily in watercolours, a process, he explains in his book, is as relaxing as the art itself:
“Why do I use watercolor? Because it enables me to have a muted and noncommittal palette with an airiness that relaxes me. My colors start out quite faint, but as I gain more confidence, the colors become more vibrant and contrasting. I start out by doodling on sheets of scratch paper and scanning them into the computer to compose in Photoshop. I have grown accustomed to the Undo button. I print the compositions out and trace them onto my watercolor paper like magic.”
Adventure Time, come on
grab your friends!
The airiness he speaks of permeates his entire body of work. The lines he paints are defined yet wavy, and his use of watercolour adds levity in the way his colours bleed and waver in density through his backgrounds and characters. It’s a very distinctive style that blends the nuances of high art with the wackiness of cartoons. The overall theme of his work is generally one of cheer and general childlike imagination. When he’s not painting a smiling Ghostbusters’ Stay Puft or any of his movie/tv-land brethren, he’s creating worlds in which have comically overcomplicated umbrellas, baby carriage cannons, cross-sections of amusement park-like homes for mummies and soldiers, actual amusement parks for skeletons and zombies, a floating bar for sea monsters, and of course, lumberjacks. His work has all the feel of a child dreaming up the coolest thing he can think of with the artistic sensibilities of a slightly larger child (which of course I mean in the most complimentary way possible). As adults we so often lose our sense of childhood play, and it is precisely that feeling of nostalgia which Scott C is able to tap, allowing us to remember what it felt like to lie on our stomachs in the kitchen sketching dinosaurs battling tanks.
With three published comic collections, two children’s books, and a slew of commercial clients including Criterion, Laika, Macmillan, New Line Cinema, Nickelodeon, and Vice Magazine under his belt, it’s a wonder Scott gets any personal painting done! Yet amazingly he still has time for his own projects. One subject Scott C loves to work with are characters from movies and television portrayed in true Scott C happy-style. One of his larger ongoing endeavours, Great Showdowns, is a series of amazing pop-culture paintings on the topic of conflict in movies and television showcased online, that have since been published in two separate volumes and is still going strong. In an interview with comicbookmovie.com, Scott C explained where the idea came from:
“The Great Showdowns began at the very first annual Crazy4Cult group exhibition at Gallery 1988 in 2008 or so. All the the artists created work inspired by cult films. I just started drawing my favorite films… Usually just people standing there with each other from films that I dug. I liked how they looked just standing there enjoying each other and I liked the idea of all these little moments of tension being seen as a group like a party… I created 10 of these showdowns for that show and super enjoyed it, so I made 10 more for the show the following year.. And eventually, I started the website as a way to motivate myself to make them on a more regular basis and have them easily accessible to people. And that’s how it all went! An epic tale.” 1
Epic indeed. Scott C is able to take what we all love about pop-culture and truly make it his own. It’s inspiring to see enemies transformed into best buds, and seeing a new showdown pop up on my feed always brings a smile to my face. While deceptively simple in its scope, this series is great because it reminds us that there is always a chance for peace and reconciliation even in the most destructive of conflicts. Who knew you could learn something AND have fun?
I really love the work of Scott C because he’s not afraid to show off his inner cute and create art that reflects a happier side of life. If we were more like the characters in his paintings, the world would be a much radder place. He is a cool dude that everybody should check out because he is amazing and he’ll make your life exponentially better just because you know OF him.