I’m very pleased to announce my Anorexic Unicorn poster illustration from the University Of California’s summer 2013 mental health campaign has been awarded this years AOI Award for Advertising & Design. I posted this project on Drawger as it went live last summer and I'm so happy to see the campaign result in this award. A big thank you to the AOI and everyone at UCSC, JWT New York, and my agents Gerald & Cullen Rapp for making the project happen for me.
Professional or not, I cried when I received notification of this award. It meant that much. The AOI have published an online interview and some background information on the project to accompany the award which can be found here
Below are a few more recent jobs, thanks for reading!
Over the Easter period Morrisons, a major UK supermarket chain commissioned me to produce a clan of 'Cel-EGG'rity' hand painted eggs as part of an interactive Twitter campaign. Members of the public tweeted suggestions for their favourite 'Cel-EGG-rity' pun and I would respond and paint them the same day, documenting the process and providing video footage and photos to post on Twitter. I painted three eggs per day over a 6 day period then photographed and re-touched them in the studio for delivery by 5pm each day.
There was a tight learning curve on this project as I work digitally and I've never painted an egg. Pressure clears the head and working to a tight deadline meant mistakes were quickly weeded out and not made twice. The technical issues with this job threw up some interesting challenges. Blown eggs tended to explode when heat drying paint to maintain the process at speed. Long boiled eggs would often leak moisture droplets at heat too as porous holes opened. I tried ceramic eggs, goose eggs, bantam eggs, duck eggs & chicken eggs of all colours and shapes. I found the most success with white duck eggs as the surface is less porous and much smoother with a little extra size to accomodate the artwork.
Next issue was getting my flat sketched celebrity portraits translated onto an egg shaped sphere. All eggs are a different shape so a universal template for sketching onto was useless. I reverse pin cushioned my sketches in photoshop and then projected the sketches onto each egg with a digital video projector. The reverse pin cushion effect was to counteract the bulging caused by projecting a flat image onto a sphere. This only gave a very rough image for me to mark out the key areas/measurements on the eggs in pencil very lightly. The most part was done by eye. There is no command Z in the real world, no undo so I take my hat off to every illustrator out there who works treaditionally. The pressure to perform without mistake over several days with no hard drive back up and no undo option gave me a completely new perspective on many of the illustrators work I admire. You are truly in another league!
I was commissioned initially on a friday to do a 3 egg project trial over the weekend before the Twitter launch which was to include all photography as well as producing the eggs. I took a gamble and spent hundreds of pounds on photographic studio equipment along with everyting I needed to produce the eggs. As much as it is important to always be upfront and honest with clients about what is creatively possible there must also be moments of complete abandon in the decision to take on a job. These moments are some of the most exciting I ever feel in my work, a commission that scares the hell out of me and the challenge to deliver. The initial thrill of agreeing a budget and getting the green flag are an incredible feeling but I much prefer the shear hell two days later when the fear kicks in. This is the best motivator and I've found this much more productive than inspiration.
Eggy Stardust and Stephen Fried sketches with Fr-EGGy Mercury being painted
Yolko Ono is at the top. The bottom two are Stephen Fried and Fr-EGGY Mercury. John Hen-non was the first egg I painted.
I am currently producing an ongoing series of covers for the Penguin books Women Of Our Time series. I have been making cover portraits of some truly incredible women, two of whom are Rachel Carson and Amelia Earhart who are below. I will post more on this series as it evolves. I especially enjoyed working on Amelia's portrait as that's the exact pose I too retain for several minutes each time I am briefed.