Joseph Fiedler
Chandeliers and Prozac: Salon des refuses.
The "Masterpiece" for Flaunt magazine.

"I got me a date with a pretty little girl from Greece
She promised, she'd be there with me
When I paint my masterpiece"

When I Paint My Masterpiece Levon Helm and The Band
Recently I had an especially good run at the fortune thing.  Good fortune, not the economic one but the professional artist's practice/performance one: two jobs pretty much in a row that hit my creative "sweet spot" dead on. Fortunate. The first was for a new client out of DC and involved the use of inordinate and excessive force by local police enforment officers conducting raids or serving warrents for relatively incocuous offenses such as lawn matinence infractions and minor drug related crimes. This "militarization" of local police appears to be on it's way to becoming the norm in such instances according to the manuscript. Flawless!

The second was feature spread for Flaunt magazine. Although awash in high end advertising, Flaunt is apparently cash poor, however, the content of their pieces is unparalleled in my opinion based on 40 years hard experience. In this case, there was no manuscript or, at first, not even a synopsis beyond " a massacre in a restaurant" and a rather crude attempt at a location sketch. Then there was: 7 figures, 2 male the rest female -all chefs and  " should be some spilled food and wine, glamorous cuisine and a bunch of dismembered people." Apparently a rogue chef had killed 7 celebrity chefs at a banquet.  I have no idea if this is fiction or not. Oh, yeah, the people were all killed with kitchen utensils too. For whatever reason, I immediately got panic stricken due to the obvious complexity involved.  If this had been the analog days, I would probably have punted. But, undeterred, an image sprung to mind almost full formed in the dark recess of my minds eye -the IMAGO. It was only a matter of gathering the appropriate source material and I was off on a roller coaster ride that was surely one of the most fun of my professional life. The AD, and I quote, "LOVED-LOVED" it and so did the editorial staff.  All they said was "the more gore, the better". These are the days you hope will come and rarely do as we slog along, subborn, relentless, clouded by ennui and often confused, lonely and sad -until..."a massacre in a restaurant!"

Both projects were so much fun that I'm almost embarrassed to expound.  I felt like a schoolboy who caught his first wiff of fish on the drive home. In each case, the "sketch" WAS the piece -unaltered beyond personal tweaking [not twerking] -but I feel that it's the right thing to do: to celebrate when we are happy and love what we do when it loves us! If only for awhile. Sad part: All three pieces were bounced from the SOI juries. Over the years, I have trained myself so that whenever I see a shooting star, I wish SOI. I don't usually consider the sayings of my mother but she had a particularly good one that was often repeated;"Wish in one hand, Shit in the other!"
As Bob Dylan tells us in Time Out of Mind, "I'm on everything but a roll!"
Detail L

Detail R

A full page feature for The American Interest about the increasing militarization of local police and the SWAT tactics that are employed for relatively minor infractions.


An ambitious experimental piece exploring interior space. Recently I created the PMS Quarterly -a totally bogus entity that lends an air of legitimacy to what used to be referred to as "samples" back in the day. This is The Dinosaur in the Room. It is largely made up from cannibalized sketchbook images. One thing strikes me: I've been having fun putting chandeliers in pictures! Maybe it's the Prozac? ;)

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Fiedler is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!