Richard Downs
July 2011
This was a fun technology assignment for Art Director April Montgomery at Computerworld. With YouTube's ease of use, compatibility and cross-platform relevance corporations and their employee's are now using the YouTube interface for most in house video. This has become one of latest IT challenges in creating a safe and accessible network for all of this video. We had discussed one design direction being the taming of a YouTube Hydra beast. The Hydra research was so much fun that I have included some of the creative images that I found. Thank you, April for picking my favorite design.
On a personal note I looked back on the amount of Illustration that I have created for the fine folks at Computerworld. Peering back was a sweet walk through the dot com era up to today and It could be safe to say that Computerworld has supported a bit of the Downs style since 1997. My antiquated record system shows jobs for Janell Genovese, Nancy Kowal, Amara Harari, Susan Cahill, Julie Quinn, Owen Edwards and Stephanie Brockway. I enjoyed every minute of creating this piece for you, April! I have had a great history of collaboration with Computerworld, thank you guys!
Computerworld designs
The Hydra!
What is Art?
The box with its contents including the rubberband. Box 6x9"x2.5"
When I was a student at Art Center College of Design in the early 1980's I had the pure joy and opportunity to take a class taught by, Eugene S. Fleury (1913 - 1984). It was rumored that he was the character study for Jiminy Cricket and I am not kidding you, this man looked like Jiminy Cricket and he was funny,  and as sharp and witty as all hell. During one class meeting we had a debate over what constitutes art? It was unanimously decided that any mark made by man, animal or machine on a substrate of any material was a form of expression and therefore a work of art.  Photography aside, and video was still in it's infancy and the internet had yet to be invented. Eugene told some great stories.
Today, I received through the post my promised box of art that I passed on to Jeff Dodson without expectations other than I knew that Jeff was into recycling and producing a zero waste lifestyle and studio and that my work was subject to fair game. All of my tube contents of art sent to Jeff have been recycled and then compressed into 3 small hand bound books and a box along with a transporter tube (taped to his camera lens) used for his documenting of the project. This must be a composted work of expression, worms and all, I am thinking. :)
Thank you, Jeff!
*below are a few of my favorite pages
It appeared as if Jeff reinterpreted some of my mark making but scaled it up in width and many times flopped and connected the mirrored forms.
Jeff painted and drew on both the front and the back sides of my monotypes and utilized every square inch of my sheets.
This is one of my favorite pages. the face that I drew was covered with gesso or something and then he redrew the features but flipped the facial design.
I provided several sheets of random color fields as divider pages between the wet and drying prints. I Can't tell which are my marks or his.
These pages are paintings and drawings on tracing paper and kraft wrap that I used as divider sheets. These pages are Jeff's work alone and they are very cool. Complete recycling of my packing materials.
Mr Universe and The Man in the Moon
Boyz n the Hood
Boyz n the Hood | 15x19" | 4 color Soft and Hard Ground Etching with watercolor | 1991
Twenty years ago this week "Boyz n the Hood" was released. I was commissioned by Entertainment Weekly to watch the film and create an illustration in response.
The success last year of Boyz N the Hood was a signal event in modern Hollywood history: Directed by a first-timer, telling a sad, hard story of black life in the inner city, the film overcame opening-week violence to spread to a mass (i.e., white) audience almost solely by word of mouth. It turned out to be not only the highest-grossing black-themed film ever released but the single most profitable new movie of 1991. And now John Singleton has been nominated for a Best Director Oscar. Ty Burr | Mar 13, 1992 Entertaiment Weekly
When I got the call for the job it had already become widespread gossip that if you go to see this movie you might get in a fight. Well, I heard the same rumor in 1979 about  "The Warriors" movie and it didn't stop me from watching it in rough and tumble Eagle Rock, my friends and I were just kids and a  bit on edge standing in line but nothing happened.
When "Boyz n the Hood" was released I was living in Murrieta Hot Springs which is inland and halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, it is basically the desert. Our daughter was just about to pop out into the world so there was a lot of excitement around the house. The movie wasn't playing yet in our white suburbia but it was playing up in Riverside and I needed to get the job sketched out so I found a matinee that afternoon after the call came in.
So, I get to the theatre late as always. Pay, run in and the movie is just starting. I look around and there is just one other guy, a white guy and he looks at me and we just laugh. It was a great movie and a real fun assignment. No internet reference material with only the memory of the film to create the piece. Art direction at EW in 1991 Joe Kimberling
The Uzi, the roving gangs looking for a victim or a recruit. One message in the film, you can become one or the other.
The most memorable part of the movie was the love between the father and the son. All of the broken families and all of the pressures pulling at this young man and it was the fathers advice of strength and maturity that held his son together.
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