Boy, Snow, Bird | acrylic & oil on paper | 13.5" x 8"
I was recently contacted by Rex Bonomelli at the New York Times Book Review to create cover art to accompany an article on 29-year old British-born novelist Helen Oyeyemi's latest, "Boy, Snow, Bird", which uses the fairy tale "Snow White" as a departure point for an exploration of post-race ideology; it runs as today's cover.
From the Review:
"Set in the 1950s, the story opens in the Lower East Side of New York City with a young white woman named Boy Novak running away from her violent “rat catcher” father. She soon meets a widower, a former history professor and now-craftsman named Arturo Whitman, from Flax Hill, Mass. She marries Whitman and becomes consumed by his daughter Snow. All seems well until they have their own daughter, Bird, who is born visibly “colored.” Whitman’s family are light skinned African Americans who have been passing as white, and the revelation becomes a turning point. The Snow White tropes take over, with the Wicked Stepmother and the mirror motifs, and the fairy tale rewrites itself in startling ways."
The mother, Boy, sends Snow away to live with Arturo's dark-skinned sister Clara, who was herself sent away many years before by her own mother. Snow and Bird grow up apart, experiencing very different realities. It was this "parallel universe" the sisters existed in that interested me most, and the visual device of the mirror—so bound to the story of Snow White—that seemed the best vehicle to convey that idea.
Many thanks to Rex for thinking of me—a picture perfect fit.
Acrylic & oil on panel | full image 21.5" x 11.75"
Just before Christmas, I was contacted by Fred & Farid's office in Shanghai regarding a commission for Porsche. The theme was "Horse Power", and the goal of the campaign was to emphasize the superior rear engine design of Porsche's 911 Series.
I've been lucky enough to get behind the wheel of a 911 before and test the limits that design provides, so this was an idea I could really appreciate. That I had less than a week to complete two pieces for the campaign, which would be reproduced in print ads, outdoor billboards, building wraps, and web animations, lent an adrenaline rush to the project that rivaled the feeling of opening up a 911 on the Autobahn.
Thankfully, AD Laurent Leccia made the task easy: sketches were quickly approved and with art due Christmas Eve, I was off to the races.
I just got word this week that the campaign was accepted into the Communication Arts 56th Annual. Many thanks to the jurors and to everyone at Fred & Farid who worked so hard to get this project pulled together in the tight timeframe we had. A picture perfect finish.
Courage and the Willingness to Take Risk | Acrylic & oil on wood panel | 16" x 12"
It's been a little while since I've posted, but I thought the beginning of the new year—and the gala for the Society of Illustrators 56th Annual next Friday night, the 10th of January—was a good time to post a few images. These six are part of the exhibit opening next week.
This first image was completed this fall for Oglivy & Mather in Frankfurt, for the 3rd volume of their "How To" publication. The theme for this edition was "Courage and the Willingness to Take Risk", a subject that struck a chord with me.
Unbeknownst to them, I'd recently set up studio in Leipzig, Germany, and the transition was certainly drawing on my store of courage—not to mention my language skills. Vielen Dank to creative director Helmut Meyer and art buyer Nathalie Schultz for being such pleasures to work with.
The Peat Monster | acrylic & oil on paper mounted on board | 12.5" x 18"
This next piece was also a project after my own heart—and liver, as well.
Late this summer I received a call from Guy Pratt at Stranger & Stranger to see about my availability to create a piece of art for Compass Box's 10th Anniversary Edition of "The Peat Monster", their extra peaty scotch blend. I've created art for beer, wine, and even pot (well, hydroponic nutrients), but scotch is my Achille's Heel—I couldn't pass this one up. Of course, part of the negotiations included a case and half for me, which arrived the day before Christmas Eve. For the first time since I was a kid, I believe in Santa Claus again.
Finally, two personal pieces, one a series done for a show this summer at Marder Gallery in Bridehampton, NY, titled Aviary, and the other, Scheideweg, a private commission completed last spring. It's been wonderful to see the work I've focused on for galleries inspire more and more commissions both privately and for publications, packaging, and a variety of other uses. The willingness to take that risk—to follow my instincts and find my own voice—has offered the biggest rewards in life. Of course, a little shot of courage never hurts.
Aviary triptych | acrylic & oil on wood panel
Aviary 1 | acrylic & oil on wood panel | 8" x 10"
Aviary 2 | acrylic & oil on wood panel | 10" x 8"
Aviary 3 | acrylic & oil on wood panel | 8" x 10"
Scheideweg | acrylic & oil on wood panel | 96" x 48"