Aubrey Beardsley was quite the controversial illustrator. His illustrations were grotesque, erotic and taboo. He contributed to the development of Art Nouveau and poster styles. Aubrey utilized the themes of decay, death, and eroticism to shock viewers out of their complacency. He consistently critiqued and commented on concepts of sexuality, beauty, gender roles and consumerism. Beardsley’s works were block prints which allowed for them to be easily reproduced and widely circulated.
Aubrey Beardsley is quoted saying, “I have one aim — the grotesque. If I am not grotesque I am nothing.” Which an interesting quote due to his complete flip of character after converting to Roman Catholicism. He ended up begging his publisher and close friend to destroy all copies of his “bad” drawings. Luckily both men completely ignored his wishes.
Before I knew about Aubrey Beardsley I knew about this artist named Bill Crisafi. Who is obviously influenced by Beardsley. I like both of them for similar reasons, how they can really pull off lots of detail and still have this clean minimal look. Atheistically that really appeals to me. Another reason Beardsley and Crisafi appeal to me is their attention and love of the grotesque. In Crisafi’s case it almost feels on brand but in Beardsley’s case it feels honest.