Growing up I dreamed of being an astronaut. They always send up scientists and engineers. Why not an artist? Someone who could observe and document the experience on a personal level? Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has been taking a series of amazing photos from the space station, capturing some of the amazing vistas of earth that can only be seen from space. An inspirational document of our planet.
Watching the unmanned rovers poking and probing the surface of Mars looking for signs of life has been amazing. I find the images of snow and ice and from the satellites circling the planet to be beautiful and captivating. When you get down to the surface of the planet, however, it gets very cold and bleak and barren. Imagine waking up on that cold and distant planet every day. So remote and inhospitable. Like the moon with an atmosphere. Could humans survive on Mars? If we go, chances are those who do will never come back. Could you live there for a year, or a decade? Or for several generations?
I loved working on this story, it asked those questions and came up with a lot of surprising answers, and unusual twists. Take the time and see for yourself.
Big thanks to Irene Gallo for sending this one along. Always great to work in these cover illustrations, I get to take my work in new directions and explore distant horizons.
Here's a little tribute to words that have ceased to be, rung down the curtains, and joined the choir invisible. It's called the Dead Words project.
I spotted this collection online last month and jumped right in. Karen To has gathered a list of antiquated words and combined them with designers who give their own spin on the topic. I like to dig around old manuscripts and encyclopedias to discover obscure references and outdated research, so I found this project appealling on so many levels.
Here's my contribution:
Mecography (mi-kop-gruh-fee) n.1603-1890, measurement of the dimensions and weight of body part.
Ex.The condom company used mecography to obtain necessary data about its clientele.
It's an excellent word, isn't it? How could we let it fall through the cracks? Couldn't you imagine an urgent call going out the the mecographer in one of those gruesome forensic prime time shows? Or perhaps in a sporting environment, consulting with bodybuilders or fitness gurus? " My mecographer recommends...."
I received a couple of assignments recently - new territory, unfamiliar subject matter. I am a pacifist and have never used gun images in my illustrations. But this issue has forced its way into the collective consciousness in brutal and unimaginable acts, inflicted on the innocent. It has sparked debate and demanded action in terms of gun awareness, gun ownership and gun control.
Kory Kennedy at Entertainment Weekly commissioned a series of illustrations from some incredible artists, including Gary Taxali, David Plunkert, Eddie Guy and Dan Bejar. The article examined the role guns play in the whole entertainment market, from television to movies to video games. I was given the topic of guns and television. Here's my contribution:
I was really honoured to be a part of this series. Here is a couple of spreads from the magazine. When it comes to an issue like this, the illustrations are so amazingly effective and have a real impact.
Schools should be a safe place for our children. We have to do everything we can to prevent what happened in Newtown from happening again. Gun violence has cast a shadow over these places. Something has to be done.
This piece was commissioned by Phoenix Magazine.
On a personal note, the lettering for this illustration was taken from the school where my son attends and my wife teaches.
I created this colourful firefly image as part of the print and identity collateral for Kingston Arts Council's Fiftieth Anniversary celebrations. The Kingston Arts Council was founded as artists and performers united in saving the historic Grand Theatre from demolition.
The anniversary celebrations are ongoing and the images will be used throughout the year. There was an opening gala at the Grand Theatre last month. It's great to be involved with a thriving, passionate and involved community, drawing from the visual arts, music and theatre. I worked with president Greg Tilson and designer Lucas Huang in creating the following variations. It was a challenge, but I liked conveying a sense of movement to the butterfly.
I finished off the year with a flurry of assignments. Here's a cover assignment for Anvil Press, featuring Albert Einstein. I have worked with them on a number of projects. I proposed a series of sketches, the publisher loved them so much they opted for 2 versions of the Atomic Storybook, first one here:
The plan during the Cold War by the U.S. to set off a nuclear explosion on the moon received some press last month, with a great segment by Colbert. Crazy, unbelievable stuff, but given the times, anything could have happened. I did an alternate version of Einstein for the other cover. Love that face. Here's a detail from the second cover
While I am on the topic of Anvil Press - they publish SubTerrain Magazine, which I illustrated from cover to cover (Issue # 61). I received notice from the Society of Illustrators that my artwork for the short story 'The Red Mouths' will be in the Annual Editorial Illustration show (January 26 opening) and the 55th Illustration Annual. I am so honoured and thrilled to be a part of this.
I'll be framing this one up and getting it off to the show this week. I had a bit of time in December to frame up some prints that I wanted to get to for a while. Nice to take some time and get my house in order.
Digging out from a major snowstorm, getting back to the studio after a lot of Holiday traveling. Looking forward to 2013. Best of luck in the New Year!