Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Guy, A Girl, A Gun and a Stiff...Drink

That seems to have been the formula for success for this series of covers by Robert McGinnis.

Yesterday I made a point of noting how many more hits a Google Image Search for "art by Robert McGinnis" turns up than does one for some of his other very fine contemporaries. Why is that? Why has McGinnis' art struck such a cord with the general public where so many others have faded into obscurity? It would be incorrect to suggest McGinnis is simply better - he's just not.
Certainly he's had the benefit of working on a large variety of genre fiction that would expose his work to audiences that might otherwise not see it. If Coby Whitmore, whom McGinnis admired so much, had done long series of detective novel covers or James Bond movie posters, would he now be more widely collected than McGinnis?

Not necessarily. I think something about McGinnis' stylization has set him apart and made his work so widely admired. For me its something about the eyes. Art Scott, long-time McGinnis collector and author of a chap book on the artist writes, "The McGinnis woman looks to have a brain behind those eyes."

I don't know if that's it, but certainly there is a consistent quality to the way McGinnis draws his characters' eyes... they stare out at the viewer. They seem to make contact. Perhaps that's why so many people find a connection with McGinnis' work.

These images and three more from the same series are available at full size in my Robert McGinnis Flikr set thanks to a generous donation from Ken Steacy.

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