Wednesday, December 8, 2010

NY Times Op-Ed

I got a call from Alexandra Zsigmond at the NY Times last week, with an opportunity to do a small piece for the letters section. The fun thing about doing Op-Ed work for the Times is that you usually only have a few hours to do it. OK, so it's fun AND very challenging. This particular piece was to accompany letters written in response to a recent article that showed that hospitals have not made many improvements in safety over the past decade. The basic idea: how to fix the hospitals. My solution:

I like it because it's very simple and graphic. Simplicity is especially nice when you only have a few hours, start to finish. Thanks again, Alexandra!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Not your average dinner conversation...

I finished this illustration for Grant Staublin at Boston Globe Magazine a few weeks ago. The issue ran yesterday, in the Sunday paper. War correspondent Anna Badkhen writes about a meal she shared with an Iraqi woman, during which they recalled some of their experiences with war, in graphic detail.

Although the act of retelling incidents of death and injury during dinner seems strange to most of us, she explains that they saw it as a way of realizing how lucky they are to have survived. Here's the article. Thanks, Grant!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Great show at Indy Ink!

Friday night was a pretty big success! By the time I stopped by Indy Ink, half my pieces had been sold. I don't know how many are left, but I believe the exhibition of Andres' and my work will be up all November. Stop in to have a look, and if there are some pieces still available, the Holiday season is just around the corner... I wish I had taken some pictures Friday night, but the thought of bringing a camera didn't occur to me until just now. Rats. Thank you to Chris Huth, Indy Ink, and everyone who came down. And a special thank you to everyone who purchased art. It's a great feeling knowing that someone enjoys your work enough to not only pay for it, but hang it on a wall in their home.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Progressive assignment, and ready for Indy Ink

Here's a recent illustration I did for Nick Jehlen at The Progressive. The article is about Palestinian rappers in Lebanon, and Gaza. The story featured Mohammed Turk, aka TNT of the group Invincible Voice, so I modeled the figure in my piece on him.

Nick was one of the earliest art directors to give me a shot when I was first starting out, and is always great to work with.

I've also framed all my pieces for display at the upcoming Indy Ink show on Friday. Andres Guzman and myself will be sharing the walls of the screen print shop on South Broadway, so come down and have a looksee. I have ten in all: two originals, and eight high-quality giclee prints. All for sale (except my sweet Three Stooges poster seen in the photo)!

Monday, October 25, 2010

NY Times Op-Ed Piece

I got a call from Alexandra Zsigmond from the NY Times last week, to do a quick illustration for the Op-Ed page. My piece accompanied the letters in yesterday's Sunday Times, responding to a recent article on the culture of poverty. Alexandra thought it would be best not to focus on the roots of poverty, but instead show the struggle to escape it. Read the responses here. Thank you again, Alexandra.

I also had an illustration in the Boston Globe Magazine last weekend. The article's author, a Republican, is torn between supporting her party and her best friend, who is running for office as a Democrat. I worked with Grant Staublin on this job. Thanks, Grant!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A piece for the L.A. Times Op-Ed

I did an illustration for the L.A. Times Op-Ed page the other day. It's a very touching story of a woman's pride in her father, a cab driver originally from Afghanistan.

A short synopsis won't do the article justice, so read the whole thing here. Wes Bausmith art directed it, and was especially helpful, as it didn't have a straightforward message the way most op-eds do.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Playing Ketchup

Sorry, bad pun. I've been pretty busy lately, but now that I've got a second, it's time to play catch-up on the 'ole blog. I did a piece for Columbia Law School Magazine a while back, and as far as I know, the issue is out! It was a whole page for an article examining the recent Citizens United case, that says that if you've got lots of money, give it to politicians and they'll probably get elected and do your bidding! Actually the article gave a few different points of view.

The editors wanted the image to correspond with the perspective that the decision won't do much, because our elections are already flooded with rich people's money. I worked with David Barnett for the first time on this one, and it was a pleasure.

I also just finished the cover of the Health Section of the L.A. Times. It should be in today's paper, so pick it up if you're in Los Angeles. The cover stories explained the importance of social networks in people's lives. Remember when your mother used to tell you to stop hanging out with those hoodlums? Well according to recent studies, she had good reason. Behaviors like drinking and smoking and bad diet are practically as contagious as germs. However, the articles focused more on the positive aspects of social networks, and how healthy and beneficial friends can be.

I worked with Joey Santos on this, who was a great help when I was making things too complicated.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Boston Globe Magazine Piece

I just got back from a fun, and very relaxing vacation. It had been too long since I had taken one, so I REALLY enjoyed it. I finished a couple jobs before we left. The first was for Grant Staublin at the Boston Globe Magazine. This piece accompanied an article about Alzheimer's disease. The author's family has a history of the disease, and with new methods of detecting genetic likelihood he poses the question: "If you could learn in advance you're getting the disease, would you want to find out?"

A well written essay with an extremely sad subject. Thank you again, Grant. The other illustration I finished before I took off was for Columbia Law School Magazine, which will be posted as soon as it's published.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Houston Press Cover

I did this cover last week, for Monica Fuentes at the Houston Press. The cover story is about a teenage girl that went across the border to Mexico, and wound up getting murdered.

Although it appears that the girl may have been getting involved in smuggling, her family is not so sure, and with the case being outside of U.S. jurisdiction, it's unlikely any answers will come soon. The story revolves around this one case, but it also mentions a few other examples of Americans going across the border, and being killed. It was a pleasure working with Monica on this piece.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Legalize It? L.A. Times Op-Ed

I just finished this illustration for Jim Brooks at the L.A. Times the other day. Mark Kleiman wrote a very thoughtful, and realistic essay about the problems with legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in California. The gist of it: a state law ending the prohibition would conflict with federal law, and Uncle Sam wouldn't allow it, due to some unintended consequences.

Although ending the prohibition of marijuana makes sense (it's certainly better than wasting time and money on law enforcement, and incarcerating people possessing a product less harmful than alcohol), it would have to be done on a federal level first. Thanks again, Jim!

Friday, June 11, 2010

"A disproportionate use of force"

I finished a personal illustration the other day, after hearing about the killing of 15 year old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca. Sergio was killed on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, by a Border Patrol agent. The agent has claimed that several people were throwing rocks while he detained a suspect. The Mexican government has called the incident "a disproportionate use of force."

I realize that throwing rocks at a person is not the equivalent of shooting a person with a squirt gun. Neither is a 15 year old throwing rocks equivalent to a trained law enforcement agent using his firearm with deadly force. The issue is "disproportionate use of force," which seems popular these days. Whether it's Palestinian children shot to death for throwing rocks at heavily armed tanks, 9 civilians armed with broom sticks and clubs, shot to death by Israeli commandos, or an offensive operation in the Gaza Strip that kills over 1400 people (while Israel suffered 13 casualties). Glenn Greenwald explains how people justify disproportionate uses of force in his blog post for

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Harvard Law Bulletin Job

I finished an illustration for the Harvard Law Bulletin a while ago, but I just got my issue in the mail from Ronn Campisi, so now I can post it. The article is about a law clinic at the school for online journalists that need legal aid. Thanks again, Ronn!

Monday, May 24, 2010

L.A. Times Op-Ed Assignment

I finished an illustration for the L.A. Times Op-Ed page last week, for an essay about ghostwriting. The piece explained the various reactions to ghostwritten political books, and what the author feels are the real problems with them.

I worked with Wes Bausmith on this, who was great, as always .

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

L.A. Times Health Section Cover

I got an email from Joey Santos at the L.A. Times last Monday, for an upcoming cover of the Health Section. The job also included a black and white interior piece, and possibly a few spots to accompany other essays. The turnaround was quick, so the spots weren't going to work, but I was able to do the cover and the inside illustration.

The first essay was by a man who discovered that reciting Shakespeare's most famous sonnets helps him to keep pace while exercising.

The second essay was by a woman that loves the act of eating salad. Her husband, however, prefers to blend his ingredients, and drink his salad. As always, it was great working with Joey.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

CA Illustration 51 is here!

My copy of Communication Arts Illustration Annual 51 just arrived the other day. As usual, it's filled with the veterans of the industry, artists I've admired since high school, and lots of new talent as well.

I was lucky enough to get a recent project from the Harvard Law Bulletin accepted. Ronn Campisi commissioned me for a piece in the Book Review section, for a novel about the rise and fall of a college president.

It is a great honor to be included among some of the best illustrators in the field. Thanks again, Ronn!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Westword Cover

Last week I did a cover for Westword, the weekly here in Denver. The feature story is about Alan Sudduth, a man from Aurora that's serving a 70 year sentence for the murder of a cab driver. However, evidence points to the friend that was with him at the time of the shooting. Not to mention the friend has admitted to the killing, and testified that Alan did not commit the murder. The problem: if Alan tells the authorities who really pulled the trigger, it's considered snitching, and is a serious offense in prison, and in the neighborhoods where Alan grew up.

The issue is on newsstands around town today (the 22nd), so if you're local, go pick one up! I worked with the very talented Jay Vollmar on this.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dallas Observer Cover

I just finished an illustration for Alexander Flores from the Dallas Observer. The piece was for the cover story on Dallas County judge, Jim Foster, who was recently defeated in the Democratic primary. Check out the story here.

For any Peter Sellers fans viewing this post and finding the cover eerily familiar, you're spot on! When Alexander called me for the assignment, he already had the concept in mind. The story of Jim Foster is reminiscent of the main character in the 1979 comedy Being There, starring Sellers, and Shirley MacLaine. Alexander wanted readers to make that connection (it's also mentioned in the article), and so decided that the cover should be a remake of the film poster:

The only real change the editors wanted was to the Dallas skyline, and the surrounding landscape. I would love to give credit to the original creator of the poster, but can't find the name anywhere. Anyone who knows it, feel free to drop me a line. Thanks again, Alexander!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Communication Arts: 2010!

A couple weeks ago I was informed that a project I entered into the Communication Arts Illustration competition was accepted. I entered one piece that I worked on with Ronn Campisi for the Harvard Law Bulletin, and one personal piece. The Law Bulletin piece was chosen, and will appear in the Annual, which will be out in May.

I was hoping my personal piece would be chosen as well, but that's the thing about personal work: it's not always as pleasing to everyone else. Still, having only entered two pieces, I was lucky to get any in. The illustration annual is extremely competitive, and it's an honor to win two years in a row.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Airport Insecurity- Boston Globe

I finished this piece for Grant Staublin at the Boston Globe a couple weeks ago. It accompanied an essay in the Sunday magazine about security measures in airports. Read the article here. The image quality of my illustration on the website isn't very good, so here's a better one:

The article argues that although the steps that the government and airlines take to prevent terrorist attacks are bothersome and inconvenient, they are also necessary. While I don't necessarily agree with every point made in the piece, as an illustrator, it's not my job to agree with everything the writer says. I do, however, see the reasoning behind the article's conclusion. With my illustration I wanted to ask the question, "just how much security is necessary?" Thanks again, Grant!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Boston Globe Work- Fattened by Pills

I had an illustration in yesterday's Boston Globe Magazine, for an essay about a hidden cause of obesity in the U.S. The article points out that one of the primary causes of obesity is psychiatric drugs, anti-depression medication in particular. Weight gain is listed as a side effect for many drugs, which is a nice way of saying "a harmful consequence." And as more and more people (including children) are given prescriptions for whatever kind of problem they have, it's only going to get worse.

I worked with Grant Staublin and Chin Wang on this one, which is always a pleasure. I also just finished a different piece for Grant the other day, that I'll be posting as soon as it runs.

Monday, January 11, 2010

LA Times Health Section Cover

Joey Santos from the LA Times called me after the New Year's weekend with an assignment for the cover of the Health Section. The article explained the two sides of a debate surrounding psychotherapy. On one side are the psychologists that prefer the use of cognitive behavioral therapy when treating patients. On the other are those that prefer a more personal, customized approach.

On the final day I was working on the piece, Joey had a proposition for me: if I could make the deadline, they had some extra room and he really wanted to use another illustration inside the section. He wanted to use another one of my sketches I had turned in, but it would be black and white. Luckily, I finished the final for the first illustration early, and had time to do the second. I'm glad I was able to take advantage of the situation, and it was great working with Joey again.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Harvard Law Bulletin Work

Ronn Campisi contacted me after he received my Loteria cards, with a couple illustrations for the Harvard Law Bulletin, the alumni magazine for the school. Both were for the Book Review section. The first book, Negotiauctions by Guhan Subramanian, deals with some complicated stuff. You know, game-theoretic approaches to corporate mergers, the usual. So given the complex subject, Ronn wanted to keep the illustration fairly simple. The main theme of the book was deal-making, and finding the right offer out of many possible offers. Finding the best fit, in other words.

The second review was for Stubborn as a Mule, by Richard Fallon. The fictional story follows an overly ambitious, free-market obsessed college president, as he attempts to unseat a moderate Republican Senator. Judging by the review, the theme of the book seemed to be that over-reaching ambition and ego can lead to an inevitable fall from grace. This piece was a two-page spread, so I wanted to use the long format to convey the two stages: ambition, and the fall. Thanks, Ronn, for all your input.