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A Map of the Known World

APRIL 19, 2009
Here is the cover for the recently published "A Map of the Known World" by Lisa Sandell.  The way I did this cover is a bit different from most of my work.  My wife, Elizabeth Parisi needed an image of a heart  constructed out of objects.
The story by Lisa Sandell, who is also an editor as Scholastic, is of a girl whose older brother dies and she tries to come to grips with that and understand more of who she is as she learns more about her brother.  In the story Cora, the young girl, finds out her brother was an artist and made sculptures out of found objects.
Elizabeth imagined that the iconic cover image might be a heart (Cora) made up of objects.  In the town we spend our summers in, Eagles Mere, PA, there is an artist who lives there in the summer and is just such a sculptor.  The deadline would not allow for one of his works to be created and perhaps the budget wouldn't allow for it either.  However, on his property he has a huge apple constructed of red metal objects.  This could be the basis of a heart piece.  
The artist is Leo Sewell and he's really amazing.  
With his approval and a cover credit, I shot his apple from several angles and used it as reference for a heart illustration.  When you draw something out you have to look at and figure out what you are drawing.  I found his work to be deeply textured and quite clever.  The final cover was designed by Elizabeth with an almost black map behind the heart and hand drawn type.  I love it.
This cover was three artists working together to arrive at a wonderful solution.
This is about 7 feet tall and it is made up of all metal objects.
Leo is truly an artist for a 'save our planet' world.
From his website: "His sculptures are composed of recognizable objects of plastic, metal and wood. These objects are chosen for their color, shape, texture, durability and patina; then they are assembled using nails, bolts, and screws. The outdoor sculptures are constructed of stainless steel, brass, or aluminum found objects which are welded together."
I think this one would make kid crazy with discovery. Check out the little soldier on his front leg.
Some of the works are grand in scale and I'm sure this piece was stunning in person.
My original is about 12 inches square. I did it on white because at first the cover was going to be on white with a faint image of a map tinted out. The inverse had more power.

Lisa Sandell's   'A MAP OF THE
KNOWN WORLD received a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "Sandell
creates a satisfying tension by juxtaposing Cora's grief and anger at
her parents with her developing attraction to Damian and her growing
sense of possibility about her own future. Sandell's...fluid phrasing
and choice of metaphors give her prose a quiet poetic ambience."

Congratulations Lisa.