Edel Rodriguez
July 2009
Hopes and Impediments
This is a new cover for the series of books by Chinua Achebe I've been working on.   The book is a collection of essays about the reconciliation between blacks and whites after centuries of fighting in Africa and the New World.  I'm also doing the hand lettering on the titles for the series.  Working with Helen Yentus and John Gall at Random House.  More sketches below.

Hopes and Impediments is a collection of essays that spans Achebe's writing and lectures over the course of his career, from his groundbreaking and provocative essay on Joseph Conrad and Heart of Darkness to his assessments of the novelist's role as a teacher and of the truths of fiction.  Achebe reveals the impediments that still stand in the way of open, equal dialogue between Africans and Europeans, between blacks and whites, but also instills us with hope and they will soon be overcome.

Sketches for Hopes and Impediments
Final art
Obsessions show at NY Times
I'm showing a lot of drawings from my sketchbooks at this show put together by Leanne Shapton, Nicholas Blechman and Kim Bost.   Opening is this Thursday, July 16, 7-9pm, NY Times Building.  Please RSVP:


Peter Arkle, Karen Barbour, George Bates, Nicholas Blechman, Blex Bolex, Loren Capelli, Josh Cochran, Matt Dorfman, Sara Fanelli, Nicholas Gazin, Steven Guarnaccia, Eric Hanson, John Hendrix, Matthew Hollister, Emma Houlston, Erik T. Johnson, Nora Krug, Pascal Lemaitre, Jason Logan, Ted McGrath, Rick Meyerowitz, Chris Silas Neal, Kate O'Connor, Mike Perry, Leif Parsons, Alain Pilon, Emilano Ponzi, Jason Polan, Brian Rea, Edel Rodriguez, Jonathon Rosen, Leanne Shapton, Seth, Shoboshobo, Rachel Solomon, Tamara Shopsin, Ward Schumaker, Holly Stevenson, Jillian Tamaki, Mark Todd, Aude Van Ryn, Andrea Ventura, Henning Wagenbreth, Esther Pearl Watson, Jeremy Zilar

Thursday July 16, 2009, 7:00-9:00 PM
The New York Times, 620 8th Avenue, 7th FL

Some of my drawings in the exhibit.
Show at Giant Robot
This is a small piece for a big show at GRNY.   The show will open next Saturday, July 18th.  The full list of artists is here


Dime Bag 3 is the ninth in an ongoing series of events by Isip and Stevens, bringing together over 200 artists from New York City and beyond representing an extraordinary variety of disciplines. Painters, illustrators, graphic designers, filmmakers, photographers, product designers, and others have been invited to create artworks specifically designed to be exhibited in 3-inch plastic bags: dime bags. Each artist was sent one of the symbolic baggies and asked to fill it in any way they wished.
"15", pencil and gouache on chipboard.
Interviewed by Yuko!
Yuko interviewed me for a new feature in Japan's "Illustration" magazine.  The interview will be published in Japanese but is now online in English here at Illustration Friday.  Please check it out, Yuko worked hard on it!

I first noticed Yuko's work years ago when she was just getting started.  She had a wonderful suite of work right off the bat.  I was immediately caught by her contemporary take on Japanese themes and culture and her unique combination of those themes with Western subjects.  Soon, her work started appearing in the pages of The New Yorker alongside mine which always tickled me.  It's been a real pleasure to get to know her over the years and to see how her work has developed.  She's wonderful, funny, strong, smart, and a great representative of our industry.   I'm very happy to call her my friend!

Work Selected by CA & 3x3
Communication Arts, poster for ICON
These are a number of images from the past year that were selected for the Communication Arts and 3 x 3 illustration annuals.  I just got the 50th Anniversary issue of CA's illustration annual and it's very good.  There's also a nice timeline with images and artist's quotes from the past 50 years of the magazine's coverage of illustrators.

Communication Arts and 3x3, poster for Caroline or Change by Tony Kushner
3x3 (Gold Medal) and Communication Arts, poster for Marriage of Figaro, Vancouver Opera
Communication Arts, poster for Madame Butterfly, Vancouver Opera
Communication Arts, poster for Nixon in China, Vancouver Opera
Communication Arts, poster for Norma, Vancouver Opera
Sergio Makes a Splash! selected for the 3x3 Children's Book Annual
Today's Op-Ed on Honduras
This is for today's New York Times Op-Ed about the coup in Honduras.  The article is online here.  One of the points made is that many people in Honduras are not bothered by what's going on, they distrust politicians in general and don't like how the country is moving the way of Venezuela.  Many of them support removing a president that was trying to change the country's constitutional laws, others just don't care either way.  I tried to use the height of the page and came up with these ideas below, worked with Kim Bost at the Times on this one.

Rough Layout
Portraits for VH1
Clockwise: Gene Simmons from KISS, P. Diddy, Madonna, Rihanna.
These were four portraits that I did for a book published by VH1.  They go at the four corners of a large map that describes all of the different genres of music.  The portraits are meant to look somewhat like the small heads on old maps that show the different wind directions, weather currents, etc.   I worked in a tighter and more graphic manner to get the feel of some of those old maps but keep it contemporary.  I worked with Emily Oberman at Number 17 on the project.

With all the stars that have been passing away lately I'm starting to feel we should start giving props to people while they're still alive!  Lets hear it for Madonna.  Still around after all these years.  She's got the hits from the 80s and 90s but for some reason I like this one that didn't get much play from 2005.  Maybe because it samples ABBA.  Bold move with the tacky outfit, socks, and high heels.  Yeah, I just admitted to liking Madonna and ABBA.  Whatever.

I still have a fondness for KISS.  One of the first American rock bands I had ever seen back in the early 80s, I assumed all rock bands in this country painted themselves like demons and cats and performed with loud pyrotechnics blasting behind them.  I had no idea what they were singing about at the time, but this was my favorite song:

And this would be me circa 1982 on 'drums'.  The old guy behind me is my grandfather visiting from Cuba and likely wondering what the hell had happened to his grandchildren.  The 'drums' were made out of cardboard boxes, painted with latex house paint by yours truly.  The symbals were hubcaps tied to a broomstick.  Rock. On.

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