Dale Stephanos
June 2007
Information Week
The Good, The Bad, The Filthy @#%!!! Rich!!
I did this cover for Information Week. The AD was Mary Ellen Forte and Michael Gigante. I like working for them because it seems as though they trust me to do a good job, which makes me want to impress them.

For this, a story on how Bill Gates is a ruthless businessman AND one of the most generous philanthropists in the world, Michael suggested that we try to communicate some movement into the piece, like Gates was smiling at us and suddenly turned his head to show us his other side.

I took some pictures of myself turning my head so I could see what the blurred motion would look like and then gave it my best shot. I like how it came out. I'm glad it wasn't what I started, which was similar to that Time magazine George Bush(Sr.) man of the year cover many years ago.
Life on the dock.
My mother’s house is smack dab on the side of a lake in a quaint little western New England village. She refers to it as SturBuffalo during the harsh winters when the lake has over 2 foot thick ice. But summers there are splendid.

The drive out there is just long enough to make you commit to a full day visit, whether anyone likes it or not. Once you’re out on her dock with it’s small armada of paddle boats, canoes, rowboats, inner tubes and oh yeah, a carbon fiber rowing shell (Mum is a rowing fanatic!) time slows to a crawl, and then before you know it, stops altogether. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat at the end of that dock fishing and floating with my kids for what seems like forever, and at the same time, just a fleeting moment.

Time stands still on the dock and that’s the way I like it.

Here’s a sketch I did last week of my son Liam, after several hours of swimming and catching fish. Probably the same fish over and over. It looked pretty tuckered out by the end of the day. The routine is usually fish for 10 minutes, swim for ten minutes, then repeat, and repeat…

 Liam is in the High Summer of his boyhood. His world is all about baseball, riding bikes, drawing, fishing, swimming, and hanging out with his Dad. I realize these days are numbered and the world with its endless fascinations will lead him onto his own exciting path. While I look forward to see what kind of man Liam will become, I’ll miss this particular time of his life.
My drawing reminded me of my favorite Andrew Wyeth painting, "Roasted Chestnuts". I relate to Wyeth's sense of time without neccesarily being nostalgic in his paintings.
Belly of the Beast
Fenway's left field wall - The Green Monster.
It’s not often that you get to visit a legend, much less hang around with one. It’s even less often that you actually get to go and poke around it’s insides. But that’s what my family got to do last weekend at Fenway Park’s famous scoreboard/left field wall – “The Green Monster”.

The Monster’s scoreboard is one of only two manually operated MLB scoreboards in existence today. When you enter the inner workings of the Monster through the secret door on the scoreboard, you feel as though you’ve entered an alternate dimension. One second you’re out in left field of Fenway Park, sun shining, American flags waving, and the next you’re in a dimly lit hallway, half concrete support wall and the other half dark metal wall with sunlight blasting in through slits.

As your eyes adjust to the dull yellow light, you notice that the concrete walls are filthy. Wait, not filthy, just littered with signatures. Thousands of them. You’re told that players have been signing the walls here since the park opened. Ted Williams, Carl Yaztremski, Roger Clemens, too many to name and yet you keep recognizing more names the longer you look. It is to baseball what the dressing room at CBGB’s was to punk rock.

The numbers and team’s city names are all painted on sheets of metal that are inserted into their slots from behind. The scorekeeper has been the man behind the Monster for seventeen years now (Aside from being an actual member of the team, it’s the most coveted job at the park).

We entered into this amazing little world during batting practice before the game. Barry Bonds was taking his practice swings while we were behind the wall and as we heard about the history of the place and how it all worked, every few sentences were punctuated by the loud POP of the ball hitting the scoreboard. While we all jumped, the scorekeeper and the camera guy hardly noticed. Just the same old sound of a day at work for them.

I didn’t know if my kids would be impressed with all of this or not, being too young to have the perspective that hard bitten, often disappointed, but always loyal old Sox fans like their parents do. So I was pleasantly surprised when they seemed to have the same sense of awe that I did. And that’s when I realized what’s so cool about this kind of thing: It takes you back to how you felt when you were a kid, when the world seemed like a huge magical place with secrets that would sometimes reveal themselves.

I tried to take a lot of pictures. Many were out of focus. I was disappointed at first, then realized that it’s fitting, because the photos will match my kid’s memories of this special little treat.
Liam proves he can play left field better than Manny Ramirez.
We had to wait between batters to run out to the wall. The balls were coming in like bombs.
Checking out the view from inside the Monster.
The view from inside.
Layers of player signatures through the decades. If you can think of a player who's been a Red Sox, his names is here. Imagine what you could get for these walls on EBay.
I put mine on the ceiling. Always have to be different.
Liam and Bella put their names up there as well as their best friend's.
I always sit behing this guy where ever I go. I think he's stalking me.
For me, there's no more beautiful place than Fenway on a nice summer evening.
Tough Guys
There's a train of thought that says we are attracted to our opposites. That must be true because if you crack open any of my sketchbooks you'll find that they're full of Tough Guys. Like this one here, Yvon Chouinard.

Yvon is the founder of Patagonia clothing. He started out as a hard core mountaineer, surviving on whatever equipment he could sell out of the trunk of his car. Today, Patagonia is a huge Fortune 500 company.

I'm not sure why I like drawing Tough Guys. Maybe it's because I'm lazy and it comes easily to me. Maybe because it gives me a chance to show whatever humble ability I have in a showoffy way without actually showing off.

But it's probably because I'm not really a Tough Guy, and it's a chance for me to climb into their skin for a few minutes like a Halloween costume. When I close the sketchbook I'm Peter Parker again, or worse, whoever Aqua Man's alter ego is.

I used a photo from Outside mag for reference. The photog is Jim Herrington. Thanks Jim.
Ralph Ellison
Here's a portrait of Ralph Ellison, author of "Invisible Man", done for AD Michael Hogue at the Dallas Morning News. Michael suggested that we try to work in the idea of an "Invisible Man" somehow, so I thought that having the head fade in and out of the book's pages might be a good idea.

On the technical side of things, I messed around with some of the charcoal papers and brushes in Painter X, but that program is so slow that it started to drive me crazy. So I finished painting in Photoshop using a bunch of different brushes.

One of the things I like about doing portraits of authors is that I usually get sucked into their work and discover some great writing. I'm embarrassed that I hadn't read this great work before and I'm enjoying it quite a bit.
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