Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year!

If you were in Chicago on New Year's day, and (after a handful of aspirin, and some hair of the dog that bit ya) opened up the Tribune, you would have seen my illustration on the cover of the Sunday section! We don't get the Chicago Tribune way out here in Denver, but it would have looked a little something like this:

This week's Sunday section is chalk full of articles based around "pushing the envelope." Taking risks in order to reap the rewards. Hugo Espinoza, who art directed, had this concept in mind, showing what happens when you open the possibilities and venture out of your comfort zone.

This was my first time working with Hugo and the Tribune, and it was a really nice collaboration. Thanks so much, Hugo!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Spot on

Here's a series of spots for Smith Alumnae Quarterly, Winter 2011-2012 issue:

The first page featured questions posed to alumnae, posted on the school's Facebook page. The first question was: "What is your most vivid memory of your first day at Smith." The second was: "When you married, did you retain your maiden name, take your partner's, hyphenate, or other?"

The second page featured a story on students that recently swam the English Channel, and the spot needed to show the route they took. I included the lighthouses of Dover and Calais. The swim actually ended at Cap Gris Nez, which has a very cool lighthouse itself, but Calais being a bigger, more familiar city, I chose its lighthouse. In retrospect, I wish had chosen Cap Gris Nez's lighthouse, but live and learn.

I also finished a few more spots for Radcliffe Magazine, but I don't think the issue's out until January. I'll post then. Many thanks to Ronn, who art directed both of these!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What do you get when you cross a lawyer and the internet?

No, that's not a joke. The answer is a new course at Harvard Law School: iLaw! It explores policy, copyrights, security, censorship, and other matters of the law, and how they relate to our ever-changing technology and the web. Check it out here in the article I recently illustrated for the Harvard Law Bulletin.

Get it? The scale on the right is flipped upside down and doubles as a mouse! Mouse? Internet? Clever, huh? Thanks again, Ronn!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Not In Our Back Yard

I finished a cover for Alexander Flores at the Dallas Observer recently. The story is on the very controversial process of hydraulic fracturing- or fracking! The affluent city of Southlake, Tejas has recently been confronted with the process, and residents have been split (not necessarily along party lines) in their reaction to it.

The monster-under-the-ground concept was already pretty established when I was commissioned for the job, but I also threw in one of my ideas. Alexander liked it so much he decided to include it in the interior:

The article really focused on the rift that formed in the town- those for, and those against drilling. I thought about thumbs up, and thumbs down, and eventually fit the natural gas "blue flame" in. The article is a great read, so be sure to check it out. It had been a little while since I had worked with Alexander, and it was a lot of fun to collaborate again. He has a Flickr account set up with all the Observer covers he's done- awesome stuff. Browse them here. It even has the two previous covers I did for him a couple years ago.

Still waiting for other jobs to publish before I can post them. Should be any day now... so stay tuned. Same bat time, same bat channel.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sukle shout out

The really cool guys and gals over at Sukle Advertising and Design have a post up on their blog today about my work. Their hilariously-named Lunchmeat Underpants blog showcases their favorite ads, ideas, concepts, illustrations, and other various cultural artifacts.

A while back I sent some of my self-promo stuff to Sukle, and to my surprise, received an invitation to go down to their office here in Denver. They were all super nice and welcoming, and it was a real pleasure to sit down and talk. If you're a Denver local, you're sure to have seen a bunch of Sukle's work around town. One of my favorites was their series of billboards urging residents to reduce their use of water on lawns. Thanks again, guys!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Here's a little piece I did for Whole Living Magazine not too long ago, for the November 2011 issue. I'm such a slacker at blogging, the issue probably isn't even out any more. The article explained how sometimes just shutting up and keeping quiet can really lead to a little peace and tranquility.

The author actually went on a retreat to a monastery and kept a vow of silence for two whole days (that includes texts, tweets, and emails)! She initially found the promise to abstain from talking difficult, but eventually discovered the experience was extremely relaxing. I wanted to focus on the abstinence aspect of the experience- not talking is kinda really hard (ever see that Seinfeld episode when Kramer tries to keep a vow of silence, but ends up telling Sally Weaver about George's man-love for a she-Jerry?). I eventually arrived at the concept of being tied up to prevent yourself from talking, and when you pull on the strings, it sort of looks like the meditation position of hands. So... shut up, find inner peace, and watch the butterflies go by. Thanks again, Muzam and Jamie!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Even the pet cemetery voted for Bob!

Yes, that is a Simpson's quote. Here's an interior illustration I recently finished for Columbia Law School Magazine, for the feature article on gerrymandering and the redistricting process:

One of the issues the article touched on is the way the redistricting process can affect elections. By re-drawing the borders of districts, minority communities can be split up, thereby having no impact on elections. The process can also separate an incumbent from his original constituents, or draw two incumbents into a single district, forcing them to run against each other. This link was passed to me while working on the job, and explains a little more. I wanted to show how drawing the district borders could potentially disrupt people's votes. The client requested that the image involve a district map in some way, so I drew some of the districts in the shape of a hand dropping off a ballot, which is cut off by the newly drawn border.

The art direction and page design was provided by the wonderful Barnett Group. Thanks again, Aileen and David! And thank you, Matthew.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Long time no post!

I've been really busy these last few weeks, and I'd love to post this flurry of work, but they have all been for magazines that have yet to come out on the racks! As soon as they are published I will post. One project that I'm sure will be out soon (as they were going to the printer as soon as my final was in) was for Columbia Law School Magazine. I'm lucky enough to be gracing the cover, and have a full-page interior illustration.

On an exciting side note, I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Anne Telford, the editor-at-large of Communication Arts, for an interview that will be featured in next January's Photography Annual. I don't want to post too much about it until the profile is published, but suffice it to say that I'm extremely grateful for the honor, and still a little incredulous why I should receive such recognition... But overjoyed nonetheless!

Monday, August 8, 2011

NY Times Book Review

Here's the NY Times Book Review illustration I finished a couple weeks ago. I was pleasantly surprised to get an email from Nicholas Blechman for another job, shortly after I had turned in my first piece for the Book Review (previous post). This one was for the book The Night Train by Clyde Edgerton, a story about two best friends and aspiring musicians, one white, one black, in Civil Rights era North Carolina.

It's always hard to get good color on newsprint, but for what it's worth, it looks really nice online here. Thanks again, Nicholas and Alicia!

Monday, July 25, 2011

As promised...

Here is the illustration I finished before we left on vacation, for Nicholas Blechman at the New York Times Book Review. It was for a review of Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell. Illustrating book reviews are always a fun challenge. This one involved listening to lots of Neil Young, which wasn't a challenge at all. "Down by the River" seemed especially appropriate.

Thank you, Nicholas! Also coming soon... another piece for the Book Review (which involved listening to some Thelonious Monk)!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Praising poison ivy

This illustration ran in the Op-Ed section of the L.A. Times this past Sunday. The author wrote a very informative piece on poison ivy- from its benefits to nature, to its appearances through American history. There's also a frightening bit about possible effects on the plant from rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere (Hint: No, its not in any danger of going away).

Read the article here, which also displays my illustration- surprising, as that doesn't usually happen with Op-Ed pieces. Wes Bausmith is the awesome AD who commissioned this, and put the headline in the ivy vine/dress. Very cool.

On a side note, the article to the right of my illo is an excellent piece written by Hagit Borer. Borer is an Israeli-American who will be on board The Audacity Of Hope, an American vessel taking part in the next flotilla bound for Gaza. I recommend reading her article as well.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Up in ARMs at the Wall Street Journal

This piece for the Wall Street Journal was finished a couple weeks ago, but the story was held over 'til this past week, when it ran in the Weekend edition. The article explains how some people are reconsidering ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages), now that their interest rates are much lower than those of fixed rate mortgages. However, it's a gamble, as interest rates could jump up in the next few years while the mortgage is still being paid off.

Read the whole article here. Thank you, Keith!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Communication Arts Insights interview!

My interview for the Communication Arts Insights page is up today. From the teaser on the homepage:
"Justin Renteria
comments on paleontology, the link between Tylenol and creativity, and the apology he owes to Steph Glaros."

Excellent. The Insights page has interviewed such legends as Edel Rodriguez, James Jean, and Gary Taxali, just to name a few. Check it out here. It's always an honor to be involved with CA- thanks again, Sue!

And coming soon to Draw Your Weapon- new work for the Wall Street Journal...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Nonslick interview

Pete Ryan is an illustrator, who aside from creating very smart, conceptual work, runs a blog called Nonslick. On this blog, Pete posts interviews with illustrators and designers, and even art directors, with questions that are well thought out, and tailored to the individual being interviewed.

He contacted me recently for an interview, and has just posted it on Nonslick. Check it out, along with the interviews of other artists, from Scott Bakal, to Anita Kunz, to Dave Plunkert and many more. Thank you again, Pete!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Getting metaphorical

My recent cover piece for the Washington Post's Capital Biz magazine ran yesterday. The story describes the recent multitude of venture capital firms in the area, providing investment for new, smaller businesses. Fairly dry stuff, so I had to get metaphorical on its ass!

And they did a great job of linking the article to the illustration by way of the headline. Brilliant copywriting. Thanks again, Mere! It was a real pleasure!

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Op-Ed piece for L.A. Times

This piece was finished last week for Wes at the L.A. Times, for the Sunday Op-Ed. It accompanied several stories by various authors writing about books: from the ones they had finally gotten around to reading, to the novels they will probably never finish.

It was awesome working with Wes again. The stories were online, but now I can't seem to find them. If I end up locating the page, I'll return the link.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Comm Arts Illustration Annual 52!

My copy of this year's Communication Arts Illustration Annual arrived in the mail earlier this week. As usual, it's chock full of great work by some of the best illustrators working today. And as with the previous two years that my work was featured, I'm honored to be a part of it. The series for my recent Zoologica Graphica booklet is displayed on page 190, for anyone interested in checking it out.

And more news with regard to CA, I was contacted recently to be featured on the Insight page of the Communication Arts website. My interview will be up on the site Tuesday, May 24th.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tout va bien!

Everything is fine... with regard to the situation concerning public employees in at least three states. Or at least that's what you would think due to the lack of coverage anymore. The airstrikes and predator drones in Libya, and the budget "debate" here in the U.S. have sort of squeezed that story out of the picture. Here's a piece I did recently about what the bills in WI, OH, and MI essentially do to collective bargaining for public employees.

They make it not exist anymore!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Luerzer's 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide!

I just received my copy of the Luerzer's 200 Best book. I have three pieces featured: one assignment for Wes from the L.A. Times, another for Joey, also at the Times, and one for Ronn for the Harvard Law Bulletin.

I'm honored to be considered by the judges as one of the "200 Best Illustrators Worldwide." To be considered for publication, the illustrator had to create the work within the past 18 months, and be nominated by an art director, or have been published in the archive before. There were 6,075 submissions from 1,139 illustrators in 44 countries.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Speak Out- while you still can

Here's a poster I designed for fun a few weeks back, when the public employee union fight in Wisconsin was just starting to get heated (I told you things were going to get ugly, didn't I?). It goes along with my earlier plea for people concerned, to call Senators, Representatives, and Governors. The first step in affecting any sort of change, is being heard. In a heartwarming show of solidarity, hundreds of thousands of people in Wisconsin and across the country have shown support for the workers unfairly punished by Walker's budget repair bill. For all you Wisconsin residents, here's a link to recall efforts.

Not only are people finally standing up to the attacks on unions, they are finally starting to get pissed off about the fact that many multi-billion dollar corporations pay NO federal income taxes. Here's a link where you can get involved.

And of course there are those who are still paying attention to the fact that we are at war in three or four other countries, NOT including Libya. I'd love to get off my soapbox, but this stuff is getting really hard to keep quiet about.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Washington Post Food section

I was pleased to receive a call from Marty Barrick at the Washington Post the other day, for a small illustration on the front page of the Food section. The story explains the importance of keeping old family recipes around, and how passing them down from generation to generation preserves family history.

You can read the article here. This was my first assignment for the Washington Post, and it was really nice working with Marty.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cover for The Pitch

Last week I got a call from Sarah Norwood, to do the cover for Kansas City's The Pitch. The story's writer followed a team of competitors in the BonkHardChill, a treacherous race consisting of biking, canoeing, and trekking on foot (in February mind you), through the Lake of the Ozarks State Park. The very first words of the article are a description of the writer flying over the handle bars, and landing in a ditch. I felt this concept was appropriate:

This cover was a lot of fun to work on. I even got the wheel off my own mountain bike and covered it in paint for the track pattern. This was my first assignment for Sarah, and it was great working with her.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A brush with American consumerism

I did this piece, which was in yesterday's edition, for Josue from Boston Globe Magazine a couple weeks ago. The author describes his stint as a door-to-door vacuum salesman, in a very tongue-in-cheek assessment of American consumerism.

I really enjoyed working on this piece, not just because I thought the essay was great, but also because I got to incorporate a little photo-collage into it. I usually reserve the photo-montage for my personal work, but this assignment just seemed to beg for it. Luckily, Josue agreed. Read the story here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

LA Times Health Cover

This illustration of mine graced the cover of the LA Times Health Section yesterday. The article discusses the link many researchers are finding between heart disease and depression. Read it here.

Joey Santos art directed this one. Joey, always a pleasure!

Also, the current issue of Juxtapoz has an awesome interview with Emory Douglas, the Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party. I discovered Mr. Douglas' classic work for the Black Panther newspaper a while back, and it's really cool to see some of the new work he's making. You can see a bit of the interview on the Juxtapoz site, but pick up a copy to read the whole thing.

Speaking of struggle, I also want to urge everyone who reads this to call your senators, call your governor, and urge them to voice support for public employees in this country. You can find the contact info for your senator here, and your governor here. I don't like getting too political on this blog, but public employees bear absolutely NO responsibility for the current state of the economy in this country. You can thank Greenspan and Wall Street for that.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

As seen in Communication Arts...

I found out a couple weeks ago that my Zoologica Graphica series was chosen for the upcoming Communication Arts Illustration Annual! This marks the third year in a row that my work has been selected for inclusion in the prestigious annual. Now that a large chunk of the 100 booklets have been mailed out, I'm posting the series here for all to see (the four of you who read this blog)!

I'm extremely honored to be a part of the 52nd annual showcase of some of the best illustration being made today. And I'm really looking forward to seeing all the work that made it in this year.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Guns on campus, for the Globe.

I actually finished this illustration a few weeks ago, but it was just published in Boston Globe Magazine yesterday. The essay is written by a junior at Harvard University, who argues that students should have less, not more access to guns on college campuses.

One of the author's suggestions for trying to prevent future shooting sprees, is for colleges to alert law enforcement agencies about students that might be dangerous. Shining a light on troubled individuals might help the public be more proactive in preventing violent outbursts, such as the recent shooting in Tucson. You can read the essay here. Josue Evilla commissioned me for the job, and it was great working with him again.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Zoologica Graphica is out now!

I just sent out about 45 of my 100 limited edition Zoologica Graphica promo booklets (and have already gotten some responses)! I'll be sending out the rest in the next couple weeks.

As I've explained in earlier posts, this is a booklet I designed (including all the handwritten type), featuring a series of four illustrations. The series combines the names of animals depicted, with the medium used to create the image (E.g. a chimpanxerox, made from a collage of xeroxed paper). Eric Hines at Honest Bros helped me put the booklet together, helped with the text layout, and even screen-printed the little wrap-around belly bands.

More news about the Zooglogica Graphica series yet to come...