Douglas Fraser
January 2008
Wintering Summer Sports
It's winter here, damn! January in the northern hemisphere, but down south, or the other up, it's summer. The Australian Open is underway, and the final rounds are closing in. Being from Canada, and married to a tennis addict, I've watched more than my fair share of matches. One of the big assignments in the world of sports I've had is the honor of working on the art for US Open in New York. Watching the power of the contemporary players, it becomes apparent that tennis today has definitely left it's genteel roots. For a while American players really changed the game especially in the women's division. It was back in 2001 that I was approached to do sketches along with others for the potential of working on the US Open. I was not awarded the assignment. Then a year later the opportunity presented itself again. On reflection I felt that I had let the opportunity intimidate me somewhat the first time round. So I focused on the power element that I felt was so much a part of the American game. I presented my sketches, and was picked for the final. The resulting odyssey from my sketches to the finish was episodic, akin to struggling with a multi-headed hydra. Needless to say that in the world of professional tennis egos are large, and the US Open is not a small affair. I was educated in the game of power.
Sketches from the first round in 2001
Second round of sketches for the 2002 US Open
After chasing my tail, I was told that actually my old sketches from the first round held more promise. I was directed to develop a new direction based on the passed over group from a year early. Yeesh, at this point I was not feeling the joy. Still you dig down deep and give your best. Second serve is never as strong as the first.
One of the uses for the final was the cover of the program guide. Also huge banners were printed up, T-Shirts, and many other usages. It was exciting and frustrating to have had such an honor. At the moment down under Serena, Venus, Roddick, and Blake are out maybe a symbol of the present American game. Federer resides as a god, he makes it look so easy. It's summer somewhere out there.
The Rothmans Man's long run
Back in late 1996 the masculine tone of my work was thought to be fun and appropriate by art director Andrew Dalsass. He wanted to create a theme for a local Manhattan clothing store targeted at the male white-collar work force of New York. I was sent fabric samples and told verbally the direction and theme. The upper negative space of this image was often for type, which spelled out the Rothman’s Man’s many abilities as well as his fondness for power tools, and other adventures. The campaign has been well received and continues today. The image is a hybrid of socialist propaganda and comic book. The owner of the store, Ken Giddon, has become much more of an influence on the more recent images in the series. What follows are a few of the illustrations that span the last eleven to twelve years. Pant widths, and chunky soles have changed, but the idea of the branding has been maintained. Ken Giddon has been a loyal client.
The very first one
Bus press
Pushing away from the gate
Renewable energy
Tinkering in the garage
Coffee break
Biking to work
Helping out on Park Avenue
Detailing the Ducati
Driving a bucket
Office guitar hero
Texas Monthly small run
Something to get the ball rolling. A little while back I was doing a regular page for the Texas Monthly magazine. It was a kind of currents events page. It started with TJ Tucker as art director. Then quite quickly I was working with Rachel Wyatt. The last few were done with Andi Beierman. Most were done with Rachel Wyatt, and she was very easy to work with. I usually got an email near the end of the month that outlined the subject. The subject or themes were were varied. Which allowed me to move around some with the feel of each piece. I also was encouraged to try and vary my technique for each. The page was titled "The Filter: Events". Sadly it became ground down somewhat over the last few assignments due to heavier direction. My experience lasted about a year and half. The experience I enjoyed over all.
Texas Rodeo
Essence music festival
Shakespeare festival
Indy car race
Exhibition of Lucy's bones
Review of the Menil modern museum in TX
Japanese culture
Construction of a new contemporary museum
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