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Tuesday
Sep202016

Big Data

Squeaking this update in on the last day of summer.

Things ramped up quickly this September, I have some exciting news I am waiting to announce on a national poster campaign. More to come on that in the coming months!

I started teaching again this semester at Sheridan, I work with third and fourth year students on courses related to information-based illustration. I have asked my fourth year students to consider where art and science intersect, and the workshop has been dubbed 'big data'.

We are surrounded by big data and live in an age of information. Understanding and being able to communicate knowledge and ideas visually is critical in business and media. This workshop explores illustration, science, observation, and data visualization through a series of research-driven exercises. Students are encouraged to foster creativity and curiosity, defined accurately and effectively through different media.

I took it upon myself to illustrate some technology-driven collages. How do we relate to our digital devices? How does it serve us and/or control us? All of our likes, searches, purchases and comments are tracked and quantified, packaged and traded. At what point does social media reward us for our patience and commitment? More and more, the fruits of our labour feels tainted. The new iPhone 7 was launched while I was working on these. Not much of a wave, or movement, or ripple. Just another costly upgrade.

Here are some images from the series.

'Status Update'

This piece is about digital surveillance.

'Interface'

'User Persona'

Here's a little doodle that summed things up nicely: Concept Engine

Tuesday
Aug162016

Summer Sketchbook

I've had some time this summer to work on projects around the house, ride my bike, relax at the cottage and go swimming. But anyone in this business knows that the wheels don't stop turning, the flow of creativity doesn't shut off. Here's a piece that I created reflecting my creative wandering this summer.

This summer has been hot and dry, and trying at times, and the news cycle doesn't lift your spirits. I tried as best I could to ignore the election cycle in the U.S., but it never stops pounding away. So here's a series of images influenced by politics and power.

I drew this portrait during the Republican Convention. I wish I could say it was cathartic to complete this, but I just felt like washing my hands afterwards.

Polling Fatigue

Systems Rigged

Coping Mechanism

___________________________

We suffered through an extremely long drought for our area, with leaves on the trees turning brown and dropping off. It's unnerving to see record temperatures across the board this summer. Here's another response, called Heatwave.

I will be putting together a number of screenprints for an upcoming show, but for now I will be heading for the beach. Get outside and stay cool and don't forget the sunscreen. Summer is almost over!

Here's a parting shot from the cottage dock. Wish I could have stayed longer.

Tuesday
Jul122016

The world we live in

I get to work on a lot of scientific and research-based illustrations, which I love. We live in a beautiful, complex, and troubling world. Everyday, in a way, is a miraculous thing. If we want to continue to enjoy the things we have, the things we take for granted, we have to have our eyes open to what is happening locally and globally and be willing to adapt, make changes, and preserve what we can.

The first illustration was for Science magazine, a new client, for an article on an Environmental Film Festival, covering human, local and global topics. There were a lot of interesting and intriguing subjects like biodynamic food and farming, urban gardeners in L.A., wild bird egg poaching, women and water, as well as larger global and climate change concerns. Art director Michele Chu invited me to do an overview, taking in some of the broad-ranging topics and weave them together in the illustration. I adopted a clear and simple vector style to allow a balance and flow in the spread.

 

Here are the sketches:

I also got a call to work on a Cap and Trade proposal for the Province of Ontario, aimed at reducing carbon emissions. I wanted to convey the idea of change and transition over a period of time. Areas of focus included industry, transportation and energy. It all comes down to individual choices and the way in which we approach the economy. Finding the right balance between jobs, progress and sustainability.

Here's a shot of the cover, produced by Hambly and Woolley.

Saturday
May282016

Off the top of my head

It's been a spring with a lot of energy and momentum. This year has been a blur of covers, features and compelling projects from a lot of great clients. It's hard to know where to start, so I will kick it off with Abe Lincoln's brain cavity. I have received some strange assignments over the years from the incredible Irene Gallo at Tor Books. I seem to be the go-to guy for exploding heads, midnight cthulhu encounters, and now time travel. The upshot of of this story is a time traveller who sets up a one-bedroom apartment inside Abraham Lincoln's head moments before he is assassinated. It's a twisted tale that's skillfully spun out by author Douglas F. Warrick.

You can read the entire story here.

It's interesting how a theme or concept can manifest itself in different ways from completely different sources. I had another time travel assignment land on my desk, from Bill Hunter at Canadian Lawyer. This was a trip in terms of the complexity and depth of the image. The cover image tied future past and present concepts involving intellectual property issues from a legal standpoint. No problem.

The inside feature was based on three different articles about legacy and genetic heritage issues, educational copyrights and the frontiers of IP in areas like 3D printing and big data. These spots were used as lead-ins.

Monday
Feb292016

Life, the Universe, and Everything

I had the honour of working on this cover image for Queen's Alumni Magazine. Dr. Arthur McDonald was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize for his research and discoveries in physics. This assignment combined my love of science with a challenging cover assignment, to explain the unseen, the subatomic, the Neutrino Breakthrough.

I am not a particle theorist, but I know this. Dr. McDonald and his team of researchers built an observatory 2 km deep in a mine shaft in Sudbury. What they discovered enhanced our understanding of physics and what we are made of, energy and the universe around us. The name of the observatory was SNOLAB, filled with heavy water and removed from man-made electric energy fields and interference.

Every second millions of neutrinos pass through us, unhindered and non-reactive, generated from deep within the sun. So then, how can they be observed and quantified?

Here's a very brief synopsis.

1.      Neutrinos are sub-atomic particles coming from the sun.
2.      There are three “flavours” of neutrinos: electrons, muon, and tau.
3.       Neutrinos switch flavours during their oscillation.
4.      Their oscillations prove that neutrinos have mass.

The SNOLAB observatory was able to record the oscillation of neutrinos. During oscillation, energy is released in the form of a photon. Observing this phenomenon established the mass of neutrinos, and enhanced our understanding of the universe in terms of it's overall mass, which affects how we understand where we came from and where we are heading.

The final illustration depicts a logorhythmic chain of images, from the sun to the earth to the SNOLAB sphere to the inner workings of an atom. A window into what we are made of.

Thanks to Andrea Gunn, Dr. Arthur McDonald, and the people at Queen's. Keep up the good work!