Archive for the ‘Illustration’ Category
I recently completed a fairly magnificent portrait of someone who eats at a Taco Bell somewhere in Ohio so often that they became the ‘Mayor’ of that Taco Bell on Four Square. It was quite possibly my finest moment.
Taco Bell just posted a YouTube video of the subject being presented with her likeness as part of her Very Special Day. And here, for your edification, is a remarkable screenshot of that very moment.
The show opened this weekend and is being held in conjunction with Gnap! Theatre Projects upcoming 44 Plays for 44 Presidents stage production which will be opening at the Theatre on October 5th. The exhibition features 75 portraits, one of every contender who has lost the U.S. Presidential Election.
My subject of my portrait, Hubert Humphrey, lost the the 1968 election to that that delightful character Richard Nixon. Humphrey was Lyndon Johnson’s Vice President at the time, and “Hubert who?” was allegedly Johnson’s response when, because he was unable to attend Winston Churchill’s funeral, an advisor suggested he send Hubert along as his representative. Humphrey did not attend the funeral. The other quote is from HHH himself, and seemed appropriate considering the forgettable outcome of his Presidential ambitions.
I Just completed this illustration for an article entitled Jim Allison’s Long and Winding Road which will appear in the upcoming issue of UC Berkeley’s California Magazine.
To cut a long, and extremely scientific story short, the aforementioned Mr Allison, the subject of both article and illustration, discovered a protein called CTLA-4 in his Berkeley lab way back in 1993. This protein attaches to T cells and acts as a brake for the immune systems, something that seemed to be of little interest to the majority of the scientific community at the time. But because he is a very smart man Jim understood the significance of this discovery, and went on to develop an antibody to the protein – a drug to block its action. His theory being that if the new drug did its job, it would free up the immune system to identify and attack cancerous cells, even those that have resisted chemotherapy.
Unfortunately for Jim this new drug then had to enter clinical trials – which went on and on and on and…well you get the picture. The good news is that after 15 years and clinical trials involving 6,500 patients the drug is finally available to treat melanoma. And it offers a completely different approach to cancer treatment that has been proving extremely effective.
All which makes for a fascinating tale, but was bit tricky to translate into in an interesting illustrated portrait. Luckily for me there was a ‘human angle’. Because as well as being a scientific super-hero, Jim was also a South Texan, harmonica playing, country music aficionado.
And so the Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Trial Blues was born.
I’ve been making my my dubious presence felt in a few otherwise worthwhile publications recently. First up is Issue 2 of InPrint magazine, who’s theme is ‘typography’. Aside from the fact that I have a bunch of stuff in it, it’s well worth checking out if you’re interested in typography and design. It’s also available as free PDF download, so you really have no excuse not to, other than your understandable apathy.
The next publication is Portals Zine – the lavishly produced, 44 page, saddle-stiched ‘Art Journals’ issue to be specific. You’ll have to pay for this one I’m afraid, but needless to say it’s well worth every penny of the $20 in question, featuring as it does the only four page, full-color interview with Yours Truly in existence. Want to know what inspires me, or where I create? Then choke up the twenty bucks right here, my friend. You won’t be disappointed. Well, you may be, but please don’t complain to me if you are. I got no money for this and did my best to appear at least partially interesting.
Now let us continue our jaunty amble through this leafy literate alleyway until we alight upon the estimable Rückenkälte zine. This, as the teutonic title would suggest, is a Germanic publication. It features both short-stories (mostly in German, nor surprisingly) and, for the amusement of non-German speakers, illustrations. Apparently artists such as Mariana Abasolo, Mitch Blunt and David Shrigley have contributed to past issues (although out of that trio Shrigley is the only one I’ve actually heard of). The theme of the issue I contributed to is “forms” which, as you can see, I interpreted as obtusely as possible.
Anyways the good news (or gute nachrichten) for you is that Rückenkälte is a free zine. The bad news (or schlechte nachrichten) for me is that instead of getting paid for my artistic efforts I received a vague and fairly unconvincing promise of “immense popularity among Germans (and Austrians) for your work”. We shall see. We shall see.
Two posts in two days! Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you. The last 48 hours has seen a virtual torrent of online activity unleashed. I’ve even been tweeting and I uploaded a whole butt-load of last year’s drawings and paintings to my Behance page. Soon you’ll look back longingly on the days when I would go for weeks, nay months, without a digital utterance.
Anyhow, the purpose of this particular rambling update is to vaingloriously brag about a recent illustration commission for the Washington Post. The cover of the Local Living section no less.
The article I was asked to illustrate was about the big differences in the way that men and women exercise – men going berserk lifting weights, generally overdoing it and injuring themselves, and women doing stuff like yoga and pilates and taking it too easy to actually get much benefit. As well as the cover there was an inside illustration that appeared alongside the article. I thought the humor would come from contrasting the two approaches side by side – so my challenge was to work out a way to do that in both pieces, and tie them together as well. The result was this approach, kind of based on an exquisite corpse drawing, where the picture of the man and the picture of the woman were ‘torn’ in half and reassembled as one figure, comparing the characteristics of both to comic effect.
As you can no doubt tell I was responsible for hand drawing most of the type too. It was quite a work out.
So we’re officially halfway through March 2011 and I have yet to muster a single post. There must be a good reason, right?
Well yes, there are several. Procrastination, lameness, avoidance and denial to name but a few. It’s hard to remember my personal resolution, made back in January to update this blog more regularly – at least twice a month I vaguely remember muttering to myself as the festivities subsided. I’m not exactly sure why I find this task so daunting, but I am sure I’m sick and tired of starting every post with an apology, so remaining true to my procrastinators heart, my New Year’s resolution is officially taking effect in Spring and this post will be the first of a veritable torrent of fascinating information that will forthwith be outpouring from my headquarters here at Fullarton Acres.
News? You want news? okay well lets start with two, yes 2 illustrations for the illustrious Utne Reader. The first, below, is already appearing in the current issue, and illustrates an article entitled ‘The Art of the Police Report‘. It’s currently languishing at number one in the ‘most read’ list on the Utne website (not that I’m letting my handiwork take the credit for that) which means my work is being viewed by literally tens of people! It’s actually a fascinating article about how one LAPD patrolman manages to imbue his supposedly subjective police incident reports with a very distinct point of view – worth a read if you have some time to kill.
Next up we feature an illustration that will appear, in satisfyingly linear fashion, in the forthcoming issue of the Utne. This one, which I have only just finished, will be used to illustrate an entertaining little little bio piece about a quirky and charming near-octogenarian who goes by the excellent name of Vernon G. Bandy. Mr Bandy is a Dowser – a man who plies the inscrutable art of finding objects or liquids with a divining rod or stick. Actually where I come from they are known as Diviners, and mostly they spend their time finding water, but apparently old Vern can also locate, with something approaching regularity, just about anything: water (both pure and contaminated), gold, drugs, oil, dead bodies, and snakes. Hence the visual.
Astute readers will notice there are no words on this one. You can’t say the winds of change never blow through my vast and unimaginably luxurious studio!
As always I have been remiss on my updates. I have, however, managed to fit a bit of paid illustration work into my hectic procrastination schedule. As well providing me with deep creative fulfillment this allows me to put food on my families plates and a roof over their heads. And it has also allowed my 7 year old son to give up his job as a chimney sweep and return to school.
Here’s a couple of the latest efforts. First up, for ‘Go’, the inflight magazine of AirTran, an illustration for an article about ‘Literary Death Matches’, which sound fascinating but are really just literary readings with some gimmicky showmanship added to make them slightly less tedious.
Next we have an illustration for an Alumni magazine published by Suffolk University in Boston. This one was for an article in which the author was bemoaning the fact that she had turned in a below par performance as a guest on Oprah’s TV chat show. Knowing that she was feeling bad about messing up her 15 minutes of fame, her husband then did what any caring partner would do in those circumstances. He sent her a fake letter, supposedly from Oprah’s production company, stating that she would not be welcome back on the Oprah Show because her performance had been so stilted. The author was not pleased.
I laughed. I cried, I drew a picture.