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Thursday
Jul032014

Escape

I am about to escape the studio.

I am taking the month of July off - I have an epic road trip coming up, driving across North America to Portland (and back) with stops in Salt Lake City and Yellowstone Park. First and foremost is ICON 8. Looking forward to connecting with some old pals in the biz and making some new friends! Then it's off to Yellowstone Park, camping with my family.

It's easy to get weighed down by assignments and paperwork. I have been lucky to have an incredible workspace and studio, in an old barn that I renovated. But after sixteen years, I am sorting through piles of books and old illustrations, filing boxes and recycling bins and getting ready to relocate. I will be moving right after I get home. I scouted out my new space and it looks promising. I will provide some pics once I get settled in. So, I am escaping from my current digs in more ways than one. As an artist change is a force that drives us, spurs creativity and opens up new opportunity. Plenty on the horizon to look forward to.

Here's the latest illustration for the New York Times. Gravity is the least understood of the universal forces, yet it controls us and threatens our well-being in so many ways. I have been working on this series and the writing is top-notch. Challenging and rewarding work. You can read the full article here: Still Exerting a Force on Science, by George Johnson.

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I might as well jump in and talk about an exciting project I recently completed. I was invited by art director Jim Burke to participate in this year's Frogfolio calendar project. The calendar takes the personal interpretations of various artist on one theme: the frog. Artists are given creative freedom to explore and define their vision of the subject, and over the years eight medals have been awarded by the Society of Illustrators. It was a real honour to have been invited. No pressure, right?

Earlier this spring I worked on a collage called Spring Peeper. Winter was so long this year and extreme, I love the sound of frogs in the swamp that come out after the thaw. You can hear them before things turn green, and it's always a chorus of hope for warmer weather, and an explosion of life and activity. I wanted to capture some of that energy in this image.

This year's calendar is available for purchase in September. Details to follow soon. A great lineup of artists including Bill Mayer, C.F. Payne, Victor Juhasz, Wesley Allsbrook, John Dykes, Melanie Reim and more!

I will be blogging photos from the road trip on the ICON instagram feed. See you in August! I am out of here.

Monday
Jun162014

Spot Lights

'Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.'

             - Pablo Picasso

I might be setting my sights high quoting Picasso as an opener, but I think the message holds true for illustration. Spot illustrations might not be something to feature, but they are an opportunity to show what you can do. You are limited by space or time, or both, so make the best of it. I always enjoy working on spots, and you have to bring your best to make them shine.

 

 

 

I taught my illustration students about isometric perspective in illustration and that may have influenced this pair of spots for Scientific American about artificial intelligence as well as potential emotional interaction in software and smartphones. The concept was explored in the film 'Her'. and the article explored the plausibility of engaging in a relationship with technology. I worked with art director Bernard Lee on this pair.

This was a quick turnaround assignment for Pete Hausler at the Wall Street Journal, about smartphone apps that allow the user to remotely control his/her home, adjusting temperature, unlocking doors, playing music or being alerted to incoming mail, leaking pipes or a pet wandering off the property. I passed this assignment to my illustration students to see what they came up with. Working on this, I wanted a simple colour scheme and designed them in illustrator to maintain clean lines.

Here's another set, in the same style for the tech section of WSJ. This one was about apps to help locate or disable a lost or stolen phone. Security and saftey features including location, alarm, notifications and a remote 'wipe' if need be (top left).

 

 

 

I do a monthy feature for UpHere magazine, a business magazine out of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Most of these images are resource-based. So clockwise from top left - oil glut and future oil prices; energy access and mining development; wind-based power; raising pot in former mines.

I'll leave with this image. It's not a spot, but it's a reflection of where I am at right now. I am packing up my studio and getting ready to move. I am organizing a road trip to Oregon for ICON8. Really looking forward to it,  making big changes & moves. I did this for the Work & Play show, organized by ICON. It's about maintaining the right balance, something I am always involved in, feeling like I am winning or losing the battle.

 

 

 

Tuesday
May132014

A Fork in the Road

New directions, new assignments. Here's a healthy portion of recent assignment work. Calorie-free!

 

Here's the latest illustration for a monthly column for the New York Times called Raw Data. It's written by George Johnson and raises questions about statistical analysis and scientific data. Interesting topics and a potent mix of science, data and our common misconceptions. The latest is on challenges to all of the warnings we have been given to eating red meat. Long-term studies refute the findings of earlier results.

An Apple a Day, and Other Myths - the gap grows between food folklore and science on cancer. Art director Peter Morance is always great to work with.

 

Just finished this spot for Daniel Smith at the Wall Street Journal, about the FCC auctioning off low-frequency bandwidth to a pool of four wireless carriers.

A portrait of Enrico Fermi and the development of nuclear science. For a book review in the Christian Science Monitor.

 

Thursday
Apr102014

Now, where was I?

Trying to keep it all together this spring, super busy with so many things going on. Here's a peak inside my head and an update on some recent work.

These are illustrations from a recent cover assignment and feature for ProSales. I worked with art director Sarah Bell at Hanley Wood. It's all about getting the right combination of elements together to build leaders. So I ran with the conveyer belt/factory/industrial aesthetic. Fun stuff (for me, anyways!).

Here's another cover assignment, for Golfworld - Timothy Carr, art director. Now that the Masters is on, I thought it would be a good idea to post this golf-related piece. Love to do covers, and in this case, it's technology meeting sport. I added a little extraterrestrial twist as well, because the golfing universe was altered forever by this strange-looking device.

While I am on the topic of strange-looking devices, here's a little 'selfie' to end things. I submitted this to Pictoplasma, and it will be part of the portrait show in Berlin in May. Mecanismos on the move. Love it!

 

Tuesday
Apr012014

Season Opener

I am excited to participate in this year's Season Opener, a group show at the Steamwhistle Brewery in Toronto, opening on Wednesday, April 2. The show features over 30 bats customized by a diverse & talented group of illustrators and designers.

I reimagined one of the beautiful Garrison Creek handcrafted hardwood bats for the show. My piece is titled 'Moonshot'.

In baseball, a moonshot is referred to as a home run that is hit a long distance at a high velocity and deep angle. Moonshots normally range in the 410–660 foot area. Home runs hit farther than that are considered moonshots, but none farther than that have been recorded (or estimated). The name "Moonshot" comes from Wally Moon. Whenever Moon would hit a home run, these home runs would be referenced in newspapers as "Moon Shots". His home runs mostly came at the L.A. Coliseum, but his home runs gained more recognition for being mostly opposite-field home runs, as he was a left-handed batter, and the fence in right field was 440 feet from home plate (from Wikipedia).

 

I once saw Reggie Jackson hit the ball right out of Tiger Stadium. A Moon shot. I was also obsessed with the Apollo Missions growing up, and the shape of the bat reminded me of a rocket. So I based my design on the Saturn V rocket, the workhorse that carried the astronauts to the moon. I added stablizing fins to the bottom of the bat and had some fun with the aesthetics.

Here's the final. I decided to screenprint the type onto the bat, I wanted to get the squarish NASA look just right. Glad it all came together.

So much hope this time of year, a new season underway and spring just around the corner. Looking forward to it all.