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Carl Wiens
Escape
posted:
I am about to escape the studio - 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.

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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. Creative freedom and a fun subject. John Dykes posted his piece the other day & mentioned the eight medals have been awarded by the Society of Illustrators. It was a real honour to have been invited.
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.
A Fork in the Road
posted:
New directions, new assignments. Here's a healthy portion of recent assignment work. Calorie-free!

This past month has been incredibly busy. I would have liked to post more work but I haven't had time, so here's a few recent pieces.
The first illustration is for a monthly column for the New York Times called Raw Data. It's written by George Johnson and raises questions about statistical analysis and scientific data. Interesting topics and a potent mix of science, data and our common preconceptions. The latest challenges all of the warnings we have been given to eating red meat. Long-term studies refute the findings of earlier conclusions.
An Apple a Day, and Other Myths - the gap grows between food folklore and science on cancer. Art director Peter Morance is always great to work with.

Just finished this spot for Daniel Smith at the Wall Street Journal, about the FCC auctioning off low-frequency bandwidth to a pool of four wireless carriers.

A portrait of Enrico Fermi and the development of nuclear science. For a book review in the Christian Science Monitor.
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Did I mention I just sold my house and studio and will be moving this summer? And I am planning a trip to Portland for ICON8. Emerging from the wilds of Prince Edward County. Hope to see my illustrator friends and catch up.

Season Opener
posted:
I am excited to participate in this year's Season Opener, a group show at the Steamwhistle Brewery in Toronto, opening on Wednesday, April 2. The show features 30 bats customized by a diverse & talented group of illustrators and designers.

I reimagined one of the beautiful Garrison Creek handcrafted hardwood bats for the show. My piece is titled 'Moonshot'
In baseball, a moonshot is referred to as a home run that is hit a long distance at a high velocity and deep angle. Moonshots normally range in the 410–660 foot area. Home runs hit farther than that are considered moonshots, but none farther than that have been recorded (or estimated). The name "Moonshot" comes from Wally Moon. Whenever Moon would hit a home run, these home runs would be referenced in newspapers as "Moon Shots". His home runs mostly came at the L.A. Coliseum, but his home runs gained more recognition for being mostly opposite-field home runs, as he was a left-handed batter, and the fence in right field was 440 feet from home plate. (from Wikipedia)
I once saw Reggie Jackson hit the ball right out of Tiger Stadium. A Moon shot. I was also obsessed with the Apollo Missions growing up, and the shape of the bat reminded me of a rocket. So I based my design on the Saturn V rocket, the workhorse that carried the astronauts to the moon. I added stabilizing fins to the bottom of the bat and had some fun with the aesthetics.

Here's the final. I decided to screenprint the type onto the bat, I wanted to get the squarish NASA look just right. Glad it all came together.
So much hope this time of year, a new season underway and spring just around the corner. Looking forward to it all.

Medicine meets Genetics
posted:
Every week, it seems, biopharmaceutical companies announce new breakthroughs in “personalized medicine” – customized health care where the goal is to tailor drug therapies to individuals. Competition between gene sequencing businesses to catapult us into the age of the $1000 genome drives much of the hoopla. Gene-based companion diagnostics, for cancer drugs especially, promise to help doctors discern which patients are likeliest to benefit from which treatments, curtailing the need for mix-and-match, trial-and-error, one-size-fits-all chemotherapies.

But what if every new drug – however much more effective than current treatments – works only for smaller and smaller numbers of patients? And what happens to those minimally beneficial but mega-profitable blockbusters that now dominate cancer treatment when it becomes clearer that only small percentages of the people taking them will truly benefit, people who now can be identified prospectively?


The Cure for Some Could Cost Us All - by Barry Werth
Interesting topic - I was given the chance to work with a half-page layout by art director Heather Hopp-Bruce for the Boston Globe Op-Ed page.. It's a complicated, modern issue, tied to human genomes, customization, medicine and economics. It was a challenge to dive in and cover the topic in a nuanced manner. Miracle cure or another burdensome expense for consumers to carry? Here is a detail:

Here is the full Illustration. This ran from top to bottom on the page.

I worked on a number of concepts, here some of my other sketches:

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