Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What goes up...

This illustration for Bloomberg Markets is for an article about the housing market taking off around most of the country. Sounds like good news, right? Maybe. But many economists are warning that if prices keep rising the way they are, we might be in store for another bubble.

Many are optimistic, especially people able to get out from an underwater mortgage. However, economist Dean Baker (whom I referenced in a previous post), among others, is warning that this could be dangerous if the market continues to rise too high, too fast. Baker warned about the last housing bubble, when so many were convinced (or at least tried to convince the public) that the party would last forever.

The article referenced the virtual feeding frenzy of the current housing market, with some homes for sale receiving fifty bids, despite almost a million dollar price tag! I tried to show that idea of frenzy in some of the sketches. You'll notice my original kite sketch shows a nearby lightning storm, but the situation isn't quite to that point yet, so the clouds are a little milder in the final.
Thank you to Corliss, who was a pleasure to work with!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Pool Party!

I received an email a little while back from Ben Jones at Image Brew, a production company here in Denver, to do a poster for a party they were hosting. The bash was a Kegs with Legs event, a monthly or so party in the design/advertising/marketing community. The cool part is that there's a pool on the facility of their office, at the Taxi Campus north of Downtown. Most people hosting the parties make a poster for the event, but being a production company, they felt it would make sense to also make some videos. They filmed comedian Nathan Lund preparing the pool for the festivities, and invited me to come along and watch.

 I had free creative reign designing the poster, granted it reference the pool party. I had only the next day to work on the poster, and spent most of it working on something I ended up scrapping in the afternoon. I decided to instead reference a comment Ben made jokingly during the filming, about a pool party full of pale creative/designer folks. I had a little fun with the stereotype of the average "creative hipster," just to amuse myself:

The party was last night, and I stopped by for a bit. It was a lot of fun, and I'm glad I was able to work on the poster and watch the filming of the videos. Be sure to check those out here.
Also be sure to look at some more of Image Brew's work on their site here. They're the guys responsible (along with Eric Hines at Honest Bros) for the "Rainbow Chasers" video (also featuring Nathan Lund), as well as the Amazon original series "Those Who Can't."
Thanks again Ben and Evan!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Espresso yourself!

I'm expressing with my full capabilities. This illustration is featured in the current issue of Institutional Investor. The article discusses a recently imposed financial transaction tax in Italy.

I'm glad I was able to come up with something other than an Italian flag for this illustration. An espresso cup slowly leaking a Euro stream worked out great.

 There are the usual opponents saying that the tax will cause volatility, less investment, and the end of the world- as all taxes do- and those that say that the tax is necessary to discourage high-frequency trading, reduce risk and create revenue. According to the article, so far it's too early to tell what exactly the effects are. My two cents (as if you care): I've read some great stuff from Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot at the Center for Economic and Policy Research on the subject of financial transaction (speculation) taxes. Here's a recent article by Weisbrot on the Harkin/DeFazio "Wall Street Trading and Speculation Tax Act of 2013."

Thank you so much, Diana!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Paging Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard

The Summer 2013 issue of the Harvard Law Bulletin is out now, and it features some of my illustration. The cover story is on a pretty important topic for this country- healthcare! Apparently medical tourism is all the rage these days. Those without insurance, and even those with it, occasionally travel to other countries for medical procedures that are simply too expensive to get here in the U.S. Sometimes the insurance companies will even pay for patients to travel, covering airline tickets and hotel stays, in order to save the company money. Who needs single-payer when you can get frequent flier miles?!

I was really excited to work on this assignment. There were so many angles I could approach it from, as evidenced by the almost dozen sketches I turned in:

 Hey, I didn't say they were all good. But guess what? The AD liked another sketch so much that it ended up being the cover:

We both really liked the sketch with the patient in the hospital gown carrying his luggage, but ass cheeks might be a little racy for a Harvard publication. Maybe if anybody else needs an illustration on medical tourism... Playboy, I'm looking in your direction.
 Thank you again, Ronn!

Speaking of healthcare, I saw a great story on Democracy Now the other day, featuring a book out now that details how austerity policies impact health. The book is called The Body Economic, Why Austerity Kills. Just food for thought for anyone interested.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The MOOCs are coming!

I did this illustration for The Chronicle of Higher Education a couple weeks ago, on a tight deadline before the Memorial Day weekend. The article discusses MOOCs, Mass Open Online Courses (Wikipedia link here), and how they are a natural progression of how higher education has been evolving over the last few decades. The author explains that colleges, once very localized, are now universal in their departments, courses, standards, and almost every way they function. Instead of offering an education designed around the school's location, all schools are now basically the same. In the author's opinion, this leaves them vulnerable to the MOOC trend. He states in the article: "As any botanist knows, a monoculture is highly susceptible to a single pathogen."

That analogy helped to spark this idea, of the MOOC trend- in the form of binary code- overwhelming a college, much the way ivy has overwhelmed many school buildings over the last couple hundred years. The author likens this situation to the way big department stores closed in the wake of Wal-mart. Most colleges, he forecasts, will eventually be replaced by online courses- "the Wal-mart of higher education." But just as there are specialty, artisan shops for just about any product you might want, so too will there be niche, artisan schools.

 My sketches focused on the idea of these digital, online courses affecting the physical, brick and mortar institutions, or that the traditional setting of the class is a thing of the past. The article is online here, but requires a subscription. Thank you, Ellen!

Still to come: Harvard Law Bulletin, Institutional Investor, and Bloomberg Markets.