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Saturday
Jan032015

Auld Acquaintance

To ring in the New Year, here's a few fond memories. I discovered these mementos while moving my studio this past year. I have always wanted to document the labels designed for Hillier Wines and Glenora Springs Brewery. These companies were pioneers in the incredible success and development of Prince Edward County, now a trendy tourist destination and home to a thriving wine-producing region.

Work like this is about the people you deal with, the relationships you develop, and the passion and interest that underlies the product. Dan Taylor commissioned the Hillier Label designs, his efforts focused on Pinot Noir varietals. Prince Edward County has long been a productive farming area, and was a long-time producer of canned fruits and vegetables. We worked together to create a visual tribute, reflecting the design qualities of vintage canning labels.

My friend Ruth Gangbar put me in touch with Christopher Gentile, who photographed the bottles. He has a masterful eye and did an amazing job with these.

I also worked with John McKinney at Glenora Springs Brewery. His feature product was Triple Chin, a rich, dark, full bodied ale with a light finish. I play hockey on Mondays with a group of players John put together over the years. Here's to hockey and a good pint!

Sad to say both of these companies have changed hands and the bottles are a relic of the past. But we can raise a glass to those who have paved the way and made the sacrifices. In days of Auld Lang Syne.

 

Thursday
Nov202014

New & Notable

 I posted earlier about the image created for the Land Gallery in Portland. It was a group show called Work & Play, and it was a commentary on the life of an illustrator. Sometimes the balance tips, towards work most often, but I found the right balance this summer. The jurors at the Society of Illustrators liked the balance too - I am honoured to be included in the 57th Illustration Annual and show. I've been inspired by all of the great pieces posted online this week, the medals awarded went to the best talent in the business. My piece will be in the January show (Uncommissioned and Institutional). Third year running!

Work & Play - Digital collage

This week I also resumed my regular gig for the New York Times Science section. I do a monthy contribution to the Raw Data column, written by George Johnson. This month he wrote about a huge monolithic radio tower erected by the Soviet Union in the 80's, on the doorstep of Chernobyl. The echoes of the Cold War still reverberate in many ways and the nuclear threat has never really disappeared. Great read!

 

I took a few different approaches to this piece, but settled on a graphic approach. The red background speaks to Soviet design, but also reinforces the message of danger and threat.

There's always a little room for experimentation too. I'd like to find more time to develop ideas and collect images for new collage work, but I have two book projects on the go right now. Here's the latest creation from the collage labratory:

 

 

'Power lacks moral or principles. It only has interests.'
- Horacio Castellanos Moya

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Monday
Nov172014

A Season of Change

I've had some time to settle in, to establish new routines. Change is good - we lived 16 years and established strong ties to our previous community. But we also felt restless - new opportunities and living in a larger community were a big draw. My family is changing quickly - my oldest son is getting ready to go to University and my youngest is always looking for new sports to get involved with. They have been thriving, going to a good school and getting involved, volunteering and making new friends. 

I also gave up my studio, which I designed and built myself. It was a beautiful space, but over the years was burdened by clutter. Putting things into their right place is a good process to go through, even if it means filling a dumpster or two. I now feel motivated to make new things and explore new directions.

I've had an incredibly busy fall, with two book projects on the go and some fantastic editorial work (more on this later). 

Here's an inside view of the studio. North and South facing windows. Nice, bright and open space to work. I have a lot of art to frame and hang, but the essentials are there - the light table, computer desk and flat files.

Here's a view of my cluttered desk.

And a few knicknacks and books from my well-curated collection.

 Time to get to work!

Monday
Oct132014

Leurzer's Archive

A quick post to show my page from Leurzer's Archive 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide. This landed on my doorstep a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't have time to open it until now. Honoured to be a part of this - so many incredible talents and a great cover by Brian Stauffer.

I don't get to illustrate fiction very often. This image was for SubTerrain, and I illustrated the entire issue, from cover to cover. I posted about the project here. This piece won gold in the Western Canada Magazine Awards. Nice to have work out of the realm of my usual purview recognized.

On another note, my work was paired with Richard Borge in the spread. I am a huge fan of his work and he's a super nice guy! (I met him at ICON in Portland this summer).

The image was for a short story titled 'Detachment' - about a remote RCMP detachment, a stray dog, and the struggles of a young family, from the viewpoint of the oldest daughter. It was written by Lee Kvern.

Here's a full version of the image:

 

 

Monday
Oct062014

Raw Data

I posted earlier about my regular feature with the New York Times science section, a monthly column written by George Johnson. It's called Raw Data, and it asks the big questions that are integral to the advancement of scientific knowledge and research. I enjoy reading these and, of course, illustrating the series. Brilliantly written and thought-provoking. Please click through and take the time to read these.

The first piece shown here was created while I was on the road, in Idaho at the time. I drove out to Portland this summer and decided to take this on just before I disappeared into Yellowstone Park for three days. Squeaked out the final somehow (the joys of being an illustrator), but I was thrilled with how it turned out. Sometimes the pressure cooker situation produces great results!

 

Beyond Energy, Matter, Time and Space. Humans might think we can figure out the ultimate mysteries, but there is no reason to believe that we have all the pieces necessary for a theory of everything.

The Intelligent-Life Lottery: With billions of stars in our galaxy, there must be other civilizations capable of transmitting electromagnetic waves. By scouring the sky with radio telescopes, we just might intercept a signal. But if we want to 'win' these sweepstakes, we will have to buy more tickets.

A Future as Cloudy as Their Past: When the Anasazi abandoned the cities they had worked so long to build on the Colorado Plateau, it had something to do with climate, but drawing lessons from their opaque past may be as difficult as predicting our clouded future.


Thanks to AD Peter Morance for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this!

_________________

The upshot is a great running feature in the NYT. A lot of great thinking and surprising observation. I recently illustrated a piece on the influence of money and sponsorship upon scientific research. Some interesting and disturbing findings.

To get more out of science, show the rejected research.

Nice to be a part of this, thanks to AD Luke Shuman!