For article about the research into the psychological link between violence in films and violence in real life
I was commissioned by The Los Angeles Times to create a series of images about violence in the entertainment industry and its link to the current gun control debate, to appear in the paper this weekend. The stories ranged from the good aspects of violence on screen and theater, the psychological release of fantasy, to the negative aspects of gore, video games, and pop music lyrics. It made for a strong topic to work with at length since it brings up so many issues. Above is one of the main images and below are sketches and the rest of the entire series. Thanks to art director Paul Gonzalez for the assignment.
Grouping of thumbnails and sketches for all the different topics. Wanted to see how I could use one color in a variety of ways, as background, highlight, tone, etc.
Article on why film violence is good, a reflection of what happens in real life, how to learn to appreciate it.
A writer on why he can happily play violent video games but be appalled by violent films.
Article on why it is that horror directors have the frankest understanding of how violence works on screen.
On violence in drama on stage, its long history, its crowd-grabbing power and its slippery nature.
Interview with an author about his new book "Gun Guys: A Road Trip"
On the issue of gore and graphic violence in films and forensic tv shows like CSI and Law and Order. CBS, for example, has no problem with showing body parts of crime victims in autopsy rooms. But a bullet hitting a crime victim? That's forbidden.
On violence tinged lyrics in hip hop and pop music
'Victoria', 16" x 20", acrylic on paper mounted on wood
Here are a couple of recent paintings. The top one is for a group show opening this Saturday, Feb. 16, 7-10pm. Gallery Nucleus, 210 East Main St., Alhambra. Please contact the gallery with inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org. Some details of the painting below.
Self Portrait, 11" x 15", acrylic on paper
This painting is a self portrait I was asked to contribute by TASCHEN for an upcoming book they're publishing titled 100 ILLUSTRATORS. The portrait will accompany a selection of work by each artist in the book, which is edited by Steven Heller. A two volumes hardcover in slipcase package, publishing date: Summer 2013. Painting details below.
I was asked to create an image for The New York Times Op-Ed page to coincide with today's inaugural. This is my contribution, appearing in today's paper. The story focuses on second inaugurals and how Obama's legacy will be cemented by the direction he takes the country in during the next four years. The traffic signs came to mind as I thought about this theme. It was great to see in the paper that, to go with the theme in the art, the editors went with the headline, "Are We There Yet?". Very happy to have the work published on this day. The article is online here
The art was published in color online at The New York Times website.
I'd also like to add here the inaugural poem by Richard Blanco. Being of similar immigrant Cuban background, my family was very proud that he was chosen to be this year's Inaugural poet.
One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.
My face, your face, millions of faces in morning's mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper-
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives-
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.
All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the "I have a dream" we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won't explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.
One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father's cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.
The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind-our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day's gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.
Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,
buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me-in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.
One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.
One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn't give what you wanted.
We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always-home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country-all of us-
facing the stars
hope-a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it-together
Last month I got a call from Leah Purcell, art director at Newsweek, to create the international edition's last print cover. The topic was their annual issue looking at the year ahead and would be at the newsstands for an extended time since Newsweek was moving to digital from then on. Their annual issue always uses a metallic color for the logo, silver or gold, so I was asked to keep that in mind.
These are some random thoughts I jotted down while trying to figure out a direction. While sketching I wondered if the image could use some of the gold ink from the logo and asked Leah if the spot color could be used as part of the image. Usually when a page is being run through a press you can use that color throughout the page so she said yes. Leah was a colleague at TIME magazine while I worked there so we have an easy shorthand about design solutions, inks, etc. We spent many nights over the years working out problems late into the night.
With that in mind, I tried a variety of solutions taking advantage of the gold ink and sent the ideas to Leah. She liked a couple of directions and we agreed that the eye sketch seemed to stand out.
As I looked at the arrows pointing in different directions, the idea popped into my head that the arrows themselves could point to the "issues" covered inside the magazine. I worked up these rough ideas for type placement, sent them off, and got the o.k. to go ahead with this concept. Something like this is hard to work out because it involves a lot of back and forth between myself, the AD, and the editors. Arrow and type placement, how they go in and out of the typography, etc., took a while to tighten up.
This week, the issues arrived in the mail in full metallic gold glory, there's just something to print. It was great to work with an old friend on this cover and to see the care taken to get the final Newsweek International print issue done right.