A rare genetic trait that results in a unique dwarf-like condition, called Bloom's Syndrome, was the topic for this weeks cover of The Riverfront Times. This syndrome almost exclusively affects descendants of Jewish heritage, hence the Star of David icons as flowers in "Bloom".
This one was delicate for a couple reasons. First and foremost, I didn't want to portray the subjects in a way that would exploit their physical differences. Instead, I wanted to nod to the life of someone who is always looking up at the world. The woman in the feature is a proud and defiant person who's stature is measured in optimism.
The other has to to do with how this condition has been twisted as some sort of proof of inferior genetic heritage by white supremacists and hate groups. I didn't want to give them any imagery that could be twisted for their own use (I've had this happen with Pro-Choce illustrations in the past). I found this out when I did the customary google search on Blooms Syndrome. The first few links were to these hate groups, rather than to the support and social networks that "Bloomies" rely on to cope with everyday life.
A big nod goes out to Riverfront Times AD Tom Carlson, and Editor and old pal Tom Finkel. These guys are amazing to work with. Tom and I built an extremely fruitful AD/Editor relationship during my 4 years as the art director for New Times in Miami.