Archive for January, 2011

OC WEEKLY COVER

January 26, 2011

There seems to be a serious problem within the Orange County Prison System, not only with overcrowding, but  negligible behavior (by prison officials), and high suicide rates. The report proposes that the suicide rate is up due to the lack of care and attention for the prison population, especially those at high risk due to mental health issues.

With this concept in mind, I wanted to make sure the art did not just present prisoner suicide, but instead place blame. In this case on the prison itself. Full story here

I am really pleased with the way this cover turned out; my hat goes off to the wonderful art director for her beautiful integration of illustration and design.  Ironically, the image was very close to not running. It was a go at the start, then the editor wanted a photo, and finally at the 11th hour they went back to illustration.  Glad they did so.  Illustration 1, photography 0.

Lastly, it seems relevant to point out that every time I have been hired to work for an Orange County publication the topic has been death, corruption, or suicide. I mean damn, can’t we all get along?

Smile!

THE BALANCE OF POWER

January 4, 2011

Hey, its a new year! To start off with some effort I thought I would thematically dissect one of my recent images.

From time to time,  stories can change and symbols can evolve beyond their origins. “The Balance of Power” began as an interpretation of the David and Goliath story, showcasing a small meager man giving the giant his due. The idea was inspired by an old tale set in the Dust Bowl era in which a poor farmer seeks and delivers revenge on a corrupt, wealthy entrepreneur who stole his house and land. The less fortunate hunts down the privileged, making him pay for his crimes.

However, as I kept working, the characters began to exchange roles; this realization brought up an interesting point regarding contradicting symbols. Traditionally, size represents strength; however, high fashion implies wealth, which is a different kind of power. That being said, who, in fact, has the upper hand in this situation? The physically intimidating “Goliath” or the smaller yet well-dressed and arrogant “David”? Is this giant the bully or the victim? While rendering the giant, I began to sympathize with him more so than the brash, young fighter in the background. He looks beaten, broken, and clearly not as affluent as the gentleman he faces. In my imagination, he no longer is the oppressor, but the oppressed on display for the entertainment of the crowd– a freak show, a circus act.

The image raises numerous questions with answers that could go in either direction depending on how each individual interprets what he or she sees.

It is interesting to reevaluate traditional assumptions about size versus audacity. Is it too hard to see “Goliath” as the victim seeking retribution? These questions, which might have not originally existed, hopefully bring new depth to the story and metaphor.

 

Who do you sympathize with?