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Scott Bakal
Jaw Breaker - Tuft's
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Tuft's Cover | 11x14 | Acrylic and Ink
This was a cover and full page interior job for Betsy Hayes at Tuft's Dental Medicine Magazine.  A first time client and she was amazingly spirited and immediately easy to work with.  The magazine uses illustration on its cover only maybe once a year so I felt honored that they called me to represent the magazine.

One of the tricks for this project was trying to visually balance such simple elements with the requirement of so many different colors which was their request.  Some colors needed to be repainted because areas got too heavy or saturated.  Also, there were some notes about text placement for the cover which I needed to make sure that the type was readable as they were knocking it out in white.
Tuft's Interior | 11x14 | Acrylic and Ink
When I got the PDF's of the layout, I was very excited.  I had a pretty good sense of what the cover was going to shape up to because of prelims that showed text placements, but I really loved what Betsy did with the spread.  I really like looking at these pieces in context.  A very good marriage of art and design.
Cover in context.
Interior spread in context.
The article was about the people who have trouble sleeping are having this trouble because of issues relating to their teeth and jaw. 

Full article here: Snooze Control

Doing this project, finishing up this year's Student Scholarship Competition, recently stumbling upon a photo album dated from 1990 to 1994, having lots of conversations with my intern who is graduating this month, about being worried about starting her career all at the same time thinking about turning 40 next year got me thinking about my teeth and jaw and when I was in college and just after.

I recall in the last year of college and a few years right after, I'd wake up in the middle of the night with a locked jaw. After getting to a dentist, apparently I was grinding my teeth and biting down quite a bit that when I woke up, my jaw was immovable. It was scary. I'd wake, and my jaw was like a block of cement.  I had to relax my body and face and eventually, the muscles loosened and I could move my mouth again and hope to fall asleep again.
c.1990 | the Pentax K-1000 is the best camera ever.
Reason this happened?  Stress.  I'd worry if I was going to be able to eat that week, put more than $5 of gas in my car because I had to pay the electric bill or be able to buy one new brush to paint with. Worry, worry, worry.  All the while, trying to figure out how to get this illustration business off the ground.

I remember lying in bed many times all night, unable to sleep just wondering if this whole art thing was possible and whether I made the right decision to pursue it and spend 4 years of life in art school.  I imagine thousands of graduating art students are thinking the same thing right now.  It sucks.  Of course now, I wouldn't change a thing.

For the last 6 months, I started having those jaw pangs again.  No lock-jaw, but definitely a soreness up toward my ears and I knew I was clenching down or something when I was sleeping.  I found myself stretching my jaw a lot lately.  I know it was from the huge changes in my life since last year and I think some of the negative issues had their way with me.

In a way, like when I was graduating college, I've been starting over again and going through the worry about the "what ifs".  Except now, I have the benefit of experience and can look at issues a bit more objectively and how they relate to the big picture.  Within all this change comes decisions that need to be made.  Now I have to decide which details are the important one's and which one's will make for a happier life to try to remove the negative issues.  Once I started making these decisions, the jaw thing eased up a bit.

This photo was taken around the time that I started getting the lock jaw in my second year of college that was on the first page of that photo album I found.  The album was mostly shots of me and my band playing at various clubs. It was also the time of my 'Syd Barrett is cool and I go to art school' look.  That photo was taken 20 years ago.  I was 19.  I stared at this photo for quite sometime and started wondering who that guy was back then and wondering if he had any idea of where he would be.  I remember flashes of what I was going through at the time, who my friends were at the time, what was going on in school but at the same time, sort of detached from that person.  Its been a long time and we all change to some degree.

I just had my last classes for the semester this past week and at the end of our final critique, I asked the students if I am supposed to have some sort of profound statement for them.  After a laugh and nodding of heads, I started talking about life.  What it means to be alive and think about the possibilities.  I told them when I start getting worried about things, especially things that I have no control over and about assholes that try to make my life difficult, I think about my age.  Then I think about my average lifespan.

"You know, you're going to make some great decisions and piss-poor decisions but you'll do what's right for you in the end.  Don't dwell on the shitty ones because it'll just hurt you more.  Enjoy life.  It's too short.  I look at it this way, I've got about 40 years left to my life.  That means 40 summers, 40 Christmas', 40 birthday parties....and that's if I hit 80.  Keep that in mind when you start feeling things are overwhelming and going bad."

I think if I had the chance, I would tell that 19 year old me the same thing...and not to forget to brush and floss.
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Bakal is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!