Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fortitude (updated)

I've recently been working on some personal projects revolving around short stories by one of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut. This is self-initiated, not commissioned, or being published anywhere, I was really just working on it for fun. At the same time, I must admit, I've been trying to break into the publishing industry, with regards to my illustration. One of my wildest fantasies would be to illustrate a Vonnegut book. Sadly, since he's passed, it would have to be a reprint of one of his old titles, not that I would mind that. But, that would mean it would most likely be something that the amazingly talented Carin Goldberg has already had a hand in. Not only that, but the also amazingly talented Gene Greif, who has also sadly passed, contributed spot illustrations to those same titles that Goldberg designed. How do you follow these two giants? I doubt I could... so I decided to play around with his short stories. I own a collection that includes a few of his novels, as well as some shorts, such as "Fortitude."

 I'll try not to spoil anything for anyone interested in reading the story, but here's an explanation to give the image some context:

"Fortitude" is about a woman that is nothing more than a head, connected to all kinds of machinery to perform her bodily functions for her. Everything, down to her emotions, is controlled by the machine. I wanted to flip it around and show the controls on the machine being affected by her emotions. Her hair is the only thing connecting her to her original humanity, as it is not influenced by the machinery, but by her friend and hair stylist, Gloria.
Some background on "Fortitude"- it was originally commissioned by CBS as a comedy special in 1968, but was never made (it even includes stage direction, and instructions on camera shots). It was eventually published in Playboy, however.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Chosen One

I was notified last week that two pieces I had submitted were chosen for the American Illustration 32 show. I submitted my three Loteria illustrations, and two (El Tigre and El Puerco) were chosen. Some of you may remember from an earlier post that they were published last year in Migrate Magazine, the publication of the Loerie Awards in South Africa. Here are the pieces:

For those that are unfamiliar with the way the American Illustration shows work, there are two ways to be accepted: chosen and selected. Chosen pieces are displayed in the permanent collection online, and selected pieces are published in the annual book. It's a great honor to be a part of this competition. According to the email, there were 8,742 submissions and only 401 professional images were accepted. Looking forward to seeing all the work that made it in!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


This illustration for The Chronicle Review ran this past Sunday. It accompanied a very thought-provoking essay by Mark S. Weiner about the relationship between individualism and government. The old adage that in order for individual liberty to thrive, government must be small, or even nonexistent, is a very familiar line among conservative, and even leftist-anarchist thinking. However, the author contends that efforts to shrink, cut, weaken or dismantle government actually has the opposite effect: it hurts individual freedom.

The author explains that governments need to exist to ensure that individuals' liberties are protected. Rights, as well as goods and services in a democracy are based on the concept of "the public good." In the absence of government, humans tend to organize themselves in clans, where rights, goods and services are instead based on membership in the clan.

I wanted to show how the effort on the part of the individual to dismantle government ends up hurting that same individual. It's a great article, and if you have a subscription to The Chronicle of Higher Education, you can read it here. On a related note, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from the author, complimenting me on this piece. It's always a huge honor to hear that the person whose work I'm illustrating enjoys it. Thank you to Ellen and Scott, and thank you, Mark, for your kind words.