Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ohhhhh, Mexico

My cover for the Phoenix New Times is out today. The story details the consequences of our American "War on Drugs" and former Mexican President Felipe Calderon's war on cartels. Since Calderon declared his war in 2006, some 100,000 people have been murdered in Mexico. For an explanation for the range of different death toll numbers read this. The cover article explains how despite the government claiming that "90% of the victims are criminals killed by other criminals," the truth seems to be much more complicated, and much more nefarious than that.

What makes the government line about most victims being criminals so incredible, is that so many journalists have been killed. Reporters that detail corruption in the army and police often end up murdered, to which the government responds with a convenient excuse that the reporters were likely killed because they were involved in the cartels. The vast majority of homicides are never investigated, and the crime is quickly swept under the rug. The story is a frightening but important look at how Mexico is being rotted from the inside out, as a result of our drug war. A war that is apparently soon to be waged in Africa as well. One of my early sketches mimicked the flag a little more- the skulls more closely resembled the shape of the cactus, and the foliage underneath was made up of drug paraphernalia- but we decided that was a little overkill.
 Thank you, Peter!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Not too young to get married

Didn't have much time to post this piece for the L.A. Times over the busy weekend, but it ran in Sunday's L.A. Affairs section. The story is by a woman who was just engaged for the first time at 37. She explains that getting married at that point in life gives her an advantage, as she has many friends' marriage experiences to learn from.

I wanted to focus on how the author uses her friends' marriages as guideposts for her own relationship, and this concept came pretty quickly. You can read the essay here. Thanks so much, Wes, for your input on this assignment and for your concern Friday morning.
Next post: a cover for the Phoenix New Times.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Greetings from Aurora, the "All America City"

With a few exceptions, I've tried to keep this an illustration blog, as opposed to a personal one; meant for keeping friends, family, art directors and people interested in my art or in illustration in general up to date on recent work. I've deliberately shied away from using it to post inane personal info, like the movie I just watched, or the really cool thing I did over the weekend. I really try to stick to posting new work, explaining it a little bit, and maybe giving some information on the publication or project it's for, and that's it (with a few exceptions where I am obviously posting from a very big soapbox). However, with the horrifying event that has taken place just a few miles from where I've lived most of my life, at a theater I've been to many times, next to the mall I grew up visiting, and which has seemingly affected everyone in this city, I can't post without mentioning it. To not speak about a tragedy that has touched people in my life, from family members that were in that theater at the time to friends that have lost someone they know, would just feel callous. Luckily, I don't personally know anyone that was killed, and to my knowledge anyone that was hurt. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one, and everyone who is still hoping that their loved ones in critical condition pull through. The victims are in my thoughts, and I wish all the survivors a speedy and full recovery from their injuries, physical and emotional. The area around the mall and theater has had it's problems for some time now (A man was shot and killed about a mile down the street from it a few days before this). And unfortunately shootings like this have become more and more frequent, all around the country. But as a neighbor expressed to me over the weekend, if one positive thing can come out of this, maybe it would be that we all treat each other just a little kinder. If we can act with just a little bit more compassion and civility to strangers. Being the cynic that I am, I replied that it might happen for a couple weeks, and then we'll all go back to "normal." Let's hope I'm wrong.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Happiness is a warm gun

This cover I did for Seattle Weekly is out today. The story is about a Seattle-based attorney that is currently fighting for the freedom of an Ugandan man, imprisoned for his role as a commander in the Lord's Resistance Army. The LRA, headed by Joseph Kony of "Kony 2012" fame, is notorious for its use of children as soldiers and sex slaves. The reason that the attorney has taken up this fight is because his client (now a grown man) happened to be one of those children, kidnapped on his way home from school.

One thing I hate about my work being viewed primarily online is that you folks out there (that can't pick up a copy in Seattle) aren't able to really see much. So here's a close up:

When I first turned in my sketches, one composition was originally approved, but then quickly dropped in favor of the above solution. I had some time after the final was turned in, and decided to take the original sketch to final too, in the chance that it might end up working out after all. The art director liked it, but the editors felt it might not be a clear enough concept (which I don't disagree with) and isn't quite as strong of an image. Here's the alternative version that wasn't published:

Despite its depressing content, this story is exactly the kind of assignment I enjoy working on.
Thank you to AD Jane Sherman. It was a pleasure!