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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!

Monday
Sep292014

Shaking the foundations

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
― Andy Warhol

It's been a season of change. I should have posted more work recently, I worked through a huge pile of assignments and worked with a lot of different clients. On top of that all, I relocated my house and studio (more on that in an upcoming post). I think that change is critical - to keep fresh, to see things in a new light and to generate new ideas. I was in my previous studio for 16 years and I needed to sweep out the clutter and open myself to new possibilities.

Work poured in as soon as I set up. So here's a rundown of some recent work, in no particular order.

 

 Cover art for New Trail magazine (appropriately named since I worked on this cover while on the road), for the University of Alberta. I worked with graphic designer Marcey Andrews to incorporate the text and illustration into the cover and inside spread.

Below is the inside feature.

 

I spent July and August on the road, travelling across the US and negotiating the move. Here's a tip from a seasoned driver: Don't text and drive! Don't drive distracted. For Road and Track magazine - Adam McGinn, AD.

 

 

A couple of spot illustrations, for AdWeek (AD Ron Goodman) and Wall Street Journal (AD Daniel Smith)

 

I also had a bit of time for the usual machinations in the illustration lab. More to come!

 

In case you are interested:

My new address is 355 Victoria Avenue, Belleville, Ontario, K8N 2E4

My new phone no. is 613-779-1232. Email remains the same, wiens@kos.net

Sunday
Aug312014

Postcards from the Road

Here are the numbers:

21 Days - July 5 to 25

10,072 km (6,258 miles)

115 hours of driving

1,036 L of Gas (281 Gallons)

2 parents, 2 kids, 2 bikes, one car

They are just numbers. Like looking at a map. If you want to understand something, you have to immerse yourself in it. If you want to understand the country or the continent where you live, you should drive it. You can see pretty mountains from an airplane, but if you climb one or drive through a mountain pass, then you know what they really are. Allow me to share some of my experiences along the way.

Windsor/Detroit border, supercells in DesMoines, cornfields in Iowa, a long & lonesome road east of Omaha     #pectoportland

I've been planning an epic road trip for a couple of years now, but was hampered by a bad back that required surgery and the day-to-day realities of working. This spring I booked my attendance at ICON in Portland, and started to dream again. I pulled out maps and started looking at possible routes: Salt Lake City, Yellowstone Park, Mt. Rushmore popped up and I connected the dots. We all dream of the open road, an empty highway with and endless horizon: freedom. Being self-employed implies that you should have that choice. To pick up and go, and not be tied down. My sons are growing up to be young men, and I know the window for spending time together as a complete family is shrinking. So we decided to bring everyone along for the adventure, Griswold style.

Hey, hey, easy kids. Everybody in the car. Boat leaves in two minutes... or perhaps you don't want to see the second largest ball of twine on the face of the earth, which is only four short hours away?

- Clark Griswold

The first leg of the trip I drove solo. I managed to arrive in Salt Lake City after three days. I was dodging tornadoes in DesMoines, Iowa (no joking) and decided there was no need to stop in Nebraska for any reasons other than food & fuel. After an 18 hour marathon driving session I landed in Utah. I was super road-weary, but Leo Espinosa was kind enough open his house and let me relax for a couple of days. Leo has an ultra-cool house, studio and a fantastic set of cycles. We even went mountain biking and hiking. Man, what a beautiful city and setting. Totally going back there, it's the best, if you are looking to be active.

Mountain biking with Leo, all vertical, hiking the canyon and the fabulous Espinosa studio    #pectoportland

 'Life is short and the world is wide'

       -Simon Raven

Leo and I drove from Utah to Oregon. We took two days to get to Portland, driving across the endless horizons of Idaho. Everything disappears, everything falls away. It's incredible to watch mountains and valleys rising and falling as the road unfolds over hours & days. It was a joy & relief to roll into the green Columbia River Valley and Portland.

What can I say about ICON? If you have been to one of the conferences, you will understand. It's incredibly immersive and inspirational, and you always meet one or more of your 'heroes' in the business. Ellen Weinstein had a great recap of this year's conference, you can read about it here. I logged my travels for the ICON website, and used the hashtag #PECtoPortland (Prince Edward County to Portland) to document the experience on Instagram.

 Brian Rea's tape mural project, Jason Holley's stage sets, picnic on the lawn, Portland Art Musem   #pectoportland

My family flew to Portland on the Sunday after the conference. We took in the food carts, gardens, restaurants and shopping. I could live in this city, the arts community is fantastic! We also took a trip to the Columbia River falls - if you are in the area you have to see this. The weather was hot and sunny, great to be out walking, cycling and exploring. And eating. Lots and lots of eating.

 A stop at the Land Gallery, Bridal Veil Falls, enjoying the food cart cornucopia, Columbia River Gorge.  #pectoportland

The trip from Portland to Jackson Hole is like travelling through two or three different countries. The landscape keeps changing and there was lots of oohs and aahs strung together with long desolate stretches. I like to see everything open up to the infinite. But the mountains are the best. When we got to Wyoming we were truly rewarded. My son Jacob suggested the Museum of the Mountain Man, in Pinedale, so we took a detour. The drive up there alone was worth it - Pronghorn antelope everywhere and an encounter with a large mule deer buck. The next day we took the tram to the top of the mountain when we got to Jackson Hole. Snow on a hot sunny day. I used my panoramic feature to capture the vista.


 

Yellowstone Park is something you have to experience to believe. We loved everything, although the altitude can get to you. We had sunny, clear, beautiful weather. The roads were not as crowded as we expected but the popular spots - Old Faithful and the Prismatic spring, were pretty crazy. See it!!! We drove on the melted road that caused a buzz - happy to report it was a tiny section of road that was quickly repaired. The park is not melting. The bison have not left. We had a standoff with a huge hulking beast walking down the middle of the road. We survived. The kids survived. We made it home. Did I mention we moved three days after we got home? It's been that kind of summer.

Crowds waiting for Old Faithful, Prismatic pond at dusk, the 'hoodoos' and Mammoth Hot Springs     #pectoportland


 

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.

_________

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.