Back when I was in college at the University of Miami, majoring in art, I wrote a paper before graduation called, “Whatever Happened to 2-D Art?” This was back in the late 60’s and the premise was that although there had been a steady progression of art movements and styles in paintings over the centuries, from Medieval Art, Renaissance Art, Baroque Art, Rococo Art, Neoclassical Art, Romanticism, Realism, Pre-Raphaelite Art, Impressionism, Post-impressionist, Symbolism, Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Abstract Art, Dada, Precisionism, Surrealism, Art Deco, Pop Art, Photorealism and others in which groups of artists were influenced by each other and periodically launched a new style. But after a certain point it seemed to me that the advancement of 2-D art as far as new styles or trends had grown stagnant. Paintings and drawings and etchings seemed to be going in many different directions, some repeating earlier styles, some doing different things, but with no bold new direction that gathered a following, while sculpture did seem to be advancing.
In my essay I pointed out one exception to this, one surprising area where something new seemed to be developing. Oddly, it was in the field of comic book art. Will Eisner’s “Spirit” comic book pages featured panels that had sequential action…where A walking figure trailed footstep sound effects (in type—“click, clack, click, clack) in one panel. He turned the title into a building with lights, doors and windows, and added other movie style visual effects. Other artists of comic books and graphic novels followed his lead, adding more innovative touches. Interestingly, today’s movies are being influenced by the style of the comic books that reflected movie styles.
It’s hard to say if a new, cohesive trend-setting style or approach in paintings will emerge and become recognisable enough to label. But it will be interesting to see what develops!