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Victor Juhasz
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July 2010
Climate Bill, R.I.P.
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At your stands now, in the current issue of ROLLING STONE, with a very pensive Leonardo DiCaprio on the cover, a pretty disheartening article in the National Affairs column on how politics and business work in America and how big polluters continue to reign supreme contrary to all the upbeat rhetoric from the Obama Administration. 

 

The sketching/idea process went through a number of morphings as we went back and forth looking to say something new visually about a very covered topic.  But the emphasis had to be the White House ducking the hard fight with the special interest polluters.  The final idea, which coincidentally popped into all our heads almost at the same time independent of one another, was to do a spoof of the iconic Charles Atlas kicking-sand-in-the-face advertisement.  It printed beautifully and made for a strong image.

I thought maybe we could play with the notion of the Prez as Clark Kent ditching his suit as the world burns. No go.

Too small a rescue net, too far off the mark. All Warner Brothers.

Using the globe as a bowling ball and Obama's famous gutter throw as a way of addressing the administration's failure to address the real issues of climate legislation.

Obama sunburned y the pols and business interests. This actually was the seed for the quantum jump to the Charles Atlas ad.

The editors felt that the image needed a more confrontational attitude. Subtract the elephants and donkeys and the focus would become cleaner and clearer.

Bingo.

Original finish. Too much sand in the face, it was decided, was making it harder to read the globe. Towards the end I thought it might be a good idea to hint at Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" in Obama's hands. Which is what he has been trying to do and consequently getting everyone mad at him.

The adjustment allowed me to get deeper with the color- in part to cover up the prior concerns- and in turn come up with a richer image.

The Jock's Guide to Getting Arrested
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The same week that I did the illustration for ROLLING STONE of Karl Rove in drag SMB&D garb riding Michael Steele, the draft for the monthly column in MEN'S JOURNAL, written by Matt Taibbi, showed up.  It was too coincidental but as I was in the zone, a madcap twisted sexual image was completely in line.  Matt's writing, once again, was cutting and funny at the same time.  Not a guarantee for a fast solution.  I have the same problem occassionally with David Feherty in GOLF.  The copy is so funny that landing on an image to encompass the humor can become problematic, especially when the humor touches on a number of images.  This one was an easy solution.  Just throw in the kitchen sink (ironically, the one thing not in the image).  The sketches just kept adding side gags on each go around.  My inspiration was via Kurtzman/Elder from the early days of MAD. 
Now on your favorite magazine stands (with Brett Favre on the cover).
The final rough.


STEINBRENNER
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I'm feeling quite confident that most of us here on Drawger have had at least one opportunity to illustrate the late George Steinbrenner.  There's no point here in adding any commentary or personal opinion about this man who generated such controversy in his lifetime, at least not now.  He's not even in the ground yet.  But I did manage to find an illustration I did for the NEW YORK TIMES back in 2006 for an article that I believe ran in the Business Section, concerning the financials of constructing the new Yankee Stadium.  Again, no extra commentary necessary.
Robert DeNiro's great scene in THE UNTOUCHABLES was probably in the back of my mind when I added the baseball bat to the image.

What I Did on My Summer Vacation- Part 2- This One is for Hunt
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Robert Hunt's postings of his plein air paintings were some of my favorite Drawger reads.  Not only were they tour de force landscapes that were a joy to look at but they were inspiring as well- in the “ You always say you want to be doing this as well, so get off your ass!”  I was inspired enough to go out and buy a plein air painting easel which then sat in the studio as I wrestled with assignments and deadlines and a slew of other commitments, all the time asking myself- “So what’s your excuse for not going out and doing something for yourself?” 

 
Well, one small step for Vic… This past July 4th weekend, instead of just swimming in the lake (which I still did) where our weekend house is in Salem, NY, I brought the entire set of acrylics and a fistful of brushes, unpacked the easel, and found a nice spot off the road not far from the family gathering.  I had thickly gessoed a couple of panels, not canvas, to play around with slipping and sliding the brush on the smooth surface.  By the end of the first three and a half hours on Saturday I was pleasantly surprised enough to want to return to the same spot at the same time and pick up where I left off, or rather re- investigate the scene.  The weather and lighting conditions were consistent and while I would have preferred some clouds in the pure blue sky, the lack of drama up above allowed me to focus on all the shapes and variations of colors in the trees and field changing every ten minutes, Great fun.  No grand statements made.  Not looking to say something new about painting or the subject of landscape.  Just having fun and enjoying the calligraphy of the brushstrokes.  It’s an interesting observation how our way with the brushstrokes is very similar to the marks, the language, of our drawing styles.
Thank you, Robert.  Your inspiration finally took hold.  Hopefull more to come.



What I Did on My Summer Vacation- Part 1
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My re-acquaintance with acrylics has turned into a romance that has allowed me to work- fume free- in a manner that mimics watercolors when I wish and heavier duty painting when a thicker application and plasticity is called for.  Acrylics also allow you to work over unsatisfactory sections almost immediately- a welcome change from the long waits with oil paints, regardless of the speed of the drying medium mixed into the paints.   It’s been great fun and I look forward to the possibilities that might spring out of it.

 

I’ve been addressing my personal commitment to creating as many worthy additions as possible to the USAF Art Program due at the Society of Illustrators by the end of July for the formal presentation later this year in September.  Besides a number of drawings, many of them posted here on Drawger, I’ve carried the sketches and photo reference to larger scale images in color paintings.  Dry mounted on acid free board these sheets of either large size moleskin pad paper or heavy weight watercolor paper become the perfect- well, near perfect- surface to draw on before proceeding to the painting part.  I say near perfect surface because the fact is that 300 lb Arches paper, unlike evena good quality bond paper,  is not cheap and getting to a certain level of relaxation with the drawing phase requires quite a few sheets to be tossed to the side as failed starts.  Drawing on the spot and trying to replicate a reportorial style in the studio are two different animals.  Studio work almost invariable, and somewhat involuntarily in my case, directs one to the details in a way that fast reportorial work doesn’t permit.  With on the spot work, you’re striving for the gesture and the essence in as quick a time as possible.  Nothing is a complete loss however when working with the heavy weight Arches, as the failed drawings are gessoed over for future painting use- something I'm looking forward to as so far the papers have been unprimed and absorb the initial washes pretty aggressively. 

Each painting has been a learning experience presenting enjoyable challenges in working on different papers surfaces, as opposed to canvas, along with trying to get the colors, brushwork and approximation of spontaneity to gel together.  I’ll continue playing, and it is indeed play in the best sense of the word,  as there are still a few more weeks to get some more finished images done in between assignments. 



The image in the background on the easel is still being scanned at a studio. I'll post it when I get it back.


This was a drawing from my large sized moleskin pad- 2 11x16" sheets dry mounted on acid free heavy weight paper.


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