I'm not a huge fan of authority figures, but I admire anyone who takes-up the call to become a police officer. They see a side to the world that we blissfully inoculate ourselves from. It's no surprise then that many officers live and work with the added burden of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some find help with police department therapists. But for too many others, relief comes by taking their own life. "Suicide kills more officers every year than homicides or accidents at work", writes Julia Dahl in this week's Boston Globe Magazine. (article here)
I want to thank Josue Evilla and the editors at the Boston Globle Magazine for entrusting me with visualizing such a sensitive subject. It was impressive to see the level of concern they had for not exploiting this man's suffering by sensationalizing the imagery. At every step they wanted to make sure to keep in mind the families of the officers profiled. It was poignant to be reminded that they would be reading this article, and in the end they would either feel closer to the community of readers, or alienated by them. When AD's and Ed's make the decision to illustrate a sensitive topic, they place a huge responsibility on the shoulders of the artist. Will the art convey or undermine the text?
Stylistically I explored a couple variations on the cover image. Below you will see two versions - one with the figure more fully rendered with my collage style and another where the figure is basically a tightened line drawing from the original sketch. In the end, they went with the line version. I hadn't planned on doing a version with line only, but the notion of doing so is a by product of my regular process. I typically work in photoshop, collaging directly over a tight line drawing. At some point during this assignment it just seemed that an empty line-only figure did a better job of conveying the subjects emptiness, as well as, the desolation he felt in the world around him.
Thanks again, Josue!