Is flu season over yet? Just when you think spring has arrived, and you are out of the woods, it hits you. Like that last winter weather event, just after you took off the snow tires.
At this time of year, it's a matter of recharging the batteries, gearing up for spring. Can't wait for the warmer, friendlier weather, and the sense of purpose and energy that comes with it. I've been busy with a lot of editorial work so far this year. For some reason, most of it has been health related.
Yes, I am fine, thank you. Doing well. But this kind of work can make you start self-diagnosing.
So here's my recent medical history, illustration-wise.
Becoming Bionic, for the Robb Report, about advances in transplant technology. Art director Lisa Lewis.
And lastly, here's a full-page illustration for Reader's Digest Canada. It's a testimonial of a woman who endured two years of a debilitating spinal condition, suffering misdiagnosis, confusion and then a full resolution of her health problems. Not really my kind of story, but my Mom was totally impressed by seeing this published.
'Power lacks moral or principles. It only has interests.'
- Horacio Castellanos Moya
Here's an assortment of oddities and orphans. I don't keep sketchbooks, but I do a lot of experimental collages. So I put together a handful of recent pieces. The power piece found a home in an upcoming issue of The Baffler. Thrilled to connect with Patrick JB Flynn.
Startup! A new piece for The Baffler.
More in the Mecanismos series...
Selfie - this was part of the portrait exhibition at the Pictoplasma conference.
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.
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. So allow me to share some experiences along the way.
Windsor/Detroit border, supercells in DesMoines, cornfields in Iowa, a long & lonesome road east of Omaha
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 thought about driving out to the the venue, 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.
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? 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. 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
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.
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.