Recently, Brian and I were at the bar Tugboat, and I commented that they had one of those “Classic Sad Eye” paintings on the door of the women’s restroom (like the one above), and he had no idea what I was talking about. I mentioned they were all over the place when I was a kid. Some Google searching shows that the above was painted by Jean Maio. Although a similar genre/aesthetic, the style itself is distinct from “Big Eye” pioneers like Margaret Keane.
Since then I found a few sites (links included below) that can help folks discern who is who in this incredibly specific kitschy painting genre. I’m not familiar with all the individual styles, but there are a few I recognize. Like, Eve for instance:
Goji, whose style is a lot like Maio’s, but inspired by medieval jesters for some reason:
And Lee, whose work bears a ton of resemblance to Eve’s.
There’s a lot of overlap in style and eccentric specializations in the genre. Below are some sites I’ve stumbled across that can help better identify specific painters.