"I want to express absolutely no expression," says Evangelos Viglis, the artist who illustrates our POINT AFTER column in most issues, including this one (page 100). "The idea of my drawing will give the feeling, not the drawing itself."
Viglis's dagger-sharp ideas have been showcased in our pages since last January, and few escape his flaying vision: Greedy team owners and self-absorbed athletes, for example, have been impaled on his pen. Viglis will give his subjects legs that are too short, heads that are too big, strange eyes and even stranger mouths. "I always wanted to draw political cartoons," he says. "And there is lots of politics in sports."
Viglis's work came to our attention when New York City's School of Visual Arts sent a book of student drawings to SI design director Steven Hoffman. Of the dozens of students' work presented. Hoffman and his stall' quickly picked out Viglis's illustrations. "His talent was obvious," says Hoffman. "His work had a very particular voice, and his style was so simple that it added to the delight."
It's no surprise that the 23-year-old artist lives a simple life, sharing an apartment in Queens, N.Y., with his parents, Sophia and Gerasimos, who emigrated from the Greek island of Cephalonia in 1968. Across the street from their home is the Triboro Bridge, a sight that unleashes Viglis's imagination. "At night the bridge is so very beautiful," he says. "The white lights are on one side, the red lights on the other. When you stare at them, the lights look like stars moving up and down." And despite his burgeoning success as an artist, Viglis continues to work weekends at a local bakery, sweeping the floor and cleaning the oven.
Viglis grew up drawing robots and monsters. Many of his creatures had 100 fingers and two thickly veined, bulging eyeballs, but, Viglis says, "I'd give them checked shirts to make them look nice."
Viglis began to expand his vision when he entered the High School of Art & Design in Manhattan in 1985, but it was not until he enrolled in the School of Visual Arts four years later that he refined a style suited to satiric illustration.
Recently he began working with a writer and other illustrators on a book, Color: Out of the Closet and Off the Wall. "The book is about how colors affect people," says Viglis. "For instance, red makes people angry. There's an essay about a family that painted its dining room red. Soon after, the family began fighting."
It's no wonder that Viglis often uses red to illustrate conflict. In one of his earliest drawings for SI, he painted a quartet of baseball owners touting a salary cap for the players. Not only is Viglis talented; he may also be prescient. He had the owners standing on a red floor.