Richard Downs
Looking Back
"Looking Back" | Acrylic on Birch
This is a recent assignment for Steven Banks, Design Director at Los Angeles Magazine. Steve called me and some other illustrators to create the art for a special issue of essays exploring race relations in Los Angeles since the Los Angeles riots 20 years ago this month. Steve has been a big supporter of my work for the last 20 years and took notice of my recent acrylic and oil paintings and called for a painting for this special issue. Steve wanted to show a different side of my work and I was a very enthusiastic, "Right on!" 

This is an illustrated essay by writer, Erin Aubry Kaplan. Erin reflected on her childhood in 1972 while being bused to a very white school in Westchester from her home in very black South Central Los Angeles, it was a touching and unique perspective from this very successful contemporary writer.

Steve mentioned that the section opener had not been assigned yet so I took the opportunity  to create some designs that spoke to race relations in Los Angeles, I didn't get the cover so it will be fun to see who landed it! 
Thank you for the fun assignment, Steve!
"Looking Back" | Acrylic on Birch | 6x20"
Detail | I wanted to show the memory of the bus as a murky collage of figures.
Section opener designs | Uncommissioned
"Looking Back" Designs
Steve suggested that we take the sketch and stretch it across the page and include more bus windows. Good call.
I took the above idea and thought that it would look look cool to show that this person was blossoming under these challenging conditions. No go.
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