When I was in art school, during my senior year, I would always use articles from Mother Jones magazine for my editorial illustration assignments. From essays on the Crips/Bloods truce in L.A. to Zimbabwean migrants, to child exploitation in Cambodia, I always found great reporting on hard-hitting topics in this publication. Exactly the kind of assignments I was hoping to get once I graduated. I'd been looking forward to a chance to work with Mother Jones since then, and a few weeks ago it finally happened.
I got the email from Ivy Simones, the AD, while in a pet store looking for a replacement fish, after our daughter's beta, Fang, had passed. The story was on people serving life sentences for marijuana, despite the fact that states around the U.S. are decriminalizing and legalizing it (being in CO, I could even drive over to a nearby shop and buy fresh buds, canabis-candies, wax, and even fruit drinks, all legally, and in quantities far exceeding what many people are serving decades in prison for). I was supremely excited to get the assignment.
At first, one of my sketches using joints in a baggy to begin a lengthy procession of tally marks, signifying years spent in a cell, was chosen for the final illustration. However, it was decided that my sketch with a pot leaf cobweb (or "cobweed," as Ivy termed it) would work even better.
Thank you so much to Ivy, a very talented AD I've worked with since soon after graduating, when she was at Miami New Times, and continued to have the pleasure of working with through her subsequent posts at the Village Voice, and New York Observer. Go pick up a copy and check out all the great stories. Coming soon: a multi-page project for USC Dornsife Magazine.