Art Director Bryan Gray contacted me to do this full pager for the next issue of Liberty Magazine.
This was a tough article to read because of all the horror surrounding it. The heart of the story is religious percecution and how it goes on in today's world. We're not talking about shouting at each other in the streets who have conflicting views of religion, we're talking about out and out murder in the name of whatever God/view one deems more important.
It is largely an ignored issue in popular media so the article is to help try to bring this issue to the forefront and describe what is being done with past legislation and if any new laws or international rulings that can help stop the atrocities.
"[In 1997] China, 85 house-church Christians were arrested in two dragnet operations on May 14 in Zhoukou. Christians reported brutal beatings resulting in paralysis, coma, and death. Other methods of torture reported include binding detainees in excruciating positions; hanging them from their limbs; tormenting them with electric cattle prods, electric drills, and other implements; and crushing the ankles of victims while they are forced to kneel."
I am an atheist and don't believe in any God or think one exists. Still, in my opinion, whether someone wants to believe or not, they should not have to suffer these sorts of persecutions.
In the final print, Bryan came back to me with the idea that maybe we should take out most of the lines within the bird. He thought that it was a bit of a distraction for the image. While I didn't think it was much of an issue, I think it could've worked either way and agreed that the lines can come out. When I was painting the picture, it felt pretty good with it empty but I just went with my original vision.
This piece above, which I simply call 'Jailed' was done for Stephanie Glaros at Utne Reader.
I did it quite a few months ago but I haven't been too good keeping up with the blogging recently. It was for a first person story that an inmate wrote about getting old in jail. "Sentenced to Life"
In my studio typing this up tonight, I paused a minute to enjoy a moment of success that I haven't really thought about...at least success in my mind. Many years ago when I first started illustrating, I always wanted to work for the Utne Reader, in large part because I wanted to be part of a magazine that used so many illustrators. They have interesting articles and stories which are ripe for imagery. I am glad that I have had the opportunity to do so. It's nice to accomplish goals here and there throughout life.
I am also happy to say that the 'Jailed' piece will be featured in the new upcoming Communication Arts Illustration Annual #52 and the just released Luerzer's 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide book along with 5 other paintings.
This piece here is the most recent job I did for Utne which I call 'Repetition'. The article focuses on one's own spirituality and in order to succeed in any disipline, one must continually repeat whatever you're learning. "Pray It Again....and Again."
Thanks Stephanie for the continued opportunity to work for the magazine!