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Summer to Fall

SEPTEMBER 4, 2014
Summer is still here, or at least the warm days, I like it and want it to stay. Kids are back in school and after a summer of time off, long drives up north away from the crazy mid Atlantic, mountain hikes, beautiful vistas, time with sons, time alone to reflect, pond swims, lots of reflection, grasping at happiness and thinking of what's ahead. What's ahead is work-what I need to focus on-it's a difficult thing to do at all times-focus-so many distractions, big and small, the noise-but now I'm finding it the one thing that I can and should be doing-focusing on work. I have been trying to find a new vein of personal work--haven't found it yet-but it's coming-soon.
For now here are a few things from the past couple of weeks- a return to work and a living after the summer. I'm still not ready for fall and less light-kind of dreading the loss of light.
Last week I had a few jobs come in simultaneously, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. I also had a couple of jobs that were longer deadlines, Chicago Magazine and Golf Digest. This is the way I like it-busy-because busy helps shut out the noise.
Back to guns. For those of you who recall the Newtown stuff, there were lots of guns-and blood-and darkness. I kind of want to forget all that. But I suppose enough time had passed. Alexandra Zigmond called with a quick NYTimes piece for the Sunday Review section. I haven't really followed any news lately, the airliner being shotdown, the horror of the beheading, the unrest in Ferguson. I would only catch ancillary bits. It's not that I don't care-rather I think I care too much-and it all becomes too much. Empathy overload, painful. 
So I get this piece on police shootings and race. I fretted over a solution for a few minutes, race can be tricky. I knew the solution would have to actually be easy-and it was. But when I put the image down I felt I hadn't even done it, like I don't recall a thought process. My thought was "this image is smarter than me"-that's actually how I felt, because I didn't really know what the image was saying-but I knew it was right. The deadline for this was overnight as usual, but it happened in about 20 minutes.
The roughs I sent for the shooting piece. This was an instance where I didn't want to provide any more solutions because this one felt right. Not with the Times but with some clients I'll add too many ideas. some not good, and then 9 out of 10 times they pick the one I like the least. It's a lesson I never seem to lear, weed out the bad stuff, only send ideas you feel good about. Happens.
I've done one other Newsweek cover, few years ago. The magazine had stopped publishing a print edition and was only available in digital media, I was happy to hear they have been back in print since last September. Robert Priest art directed this and I was happy to finally work with him after knowing of his work for a couple decades now. The pressure is kind of on when the piece is high profile, people will see it and say they like it even if I don't think it's very good. Also the subject, taxes, I always hit a wall with this, and it's a cover and for this client I don't think the solution could be too oblique. It's a cover and needs to be a quick read. The deadline on this was quick, roughs on Thursday and final Friday, the gun piece above and a WSJ piece all had same deadline, Friday before noon.
One of the cover roughs. I was sticking with pretty straight forward stuff here. Difficulty getting at their corporate cake. Would be like some sort of iron cake box.
Thought it might make for a readable cover image. Of course I knew concepts like this won't "fly" after 9/11.
Pretty quick, but I was just going to have every manner of destructive sharp things being plunged into the back of the chair, exec puffing a cigar, i know i know-cliche.
What they went with-simple
Along with the Newsweek job and the Times job there was this Wall Street Journal job. Article/opinion piece written by Henry Kissinger. I once did an illustration to accompany a piece written by Jimmy Carter, I was a bit more honored then, but either way it's as close as I get to brushing elbows with living historiacal figures, both men being apart and witness to very much history and events in my lifetime. The idea was pretty much set by art director Keith Webb, he was thinking like a Rubix Cube (sp?) type of image.
Along with the high profile and intellectually taxing and stimulating political work are some other jobs that I enjoy just as much. This piece for Golf Digest on the various time issues with teh game of golf, ie: how long you have to look for a lost ball etc. Second piece is for Chicago Magazine, article on house shopping, what nightmare properties you see, that kind of thing, something I have experience with.
And a little detail ffrom a piece that I'll show after it's published. Tried something new, inspired by clear ponds on summer days when you can see everything on the bottom.