Richard Downs
April 2010
The Sun Does Rise
24" x 31" oil on birch panel
This is my first commission for a family portrait. I said yes to the job with no experience on how I was going to handle the portrayal of a family. I approached the assignment like an illustration , gather the interests of the participants and put together a composition. Family facts: Scientific guppy farming, network security, the I Ching, yoga, writing and letters, sport bikes, bicycle racing and the banana slug. For me, every assignment has a soundtrack and for this piece I enjoyed Dolores O'Riordan and Jah Wobble, check them out below.
Perl 5
Extending the Earth Day theme I thought that I would throw in a Camel. Here is a new DVD cover for for their Perl 5 release. Perl is a high-level, general-purpose, interpreted and dynamic programming language. The camel has become a general symbol of Perl and it is also a universal hacker emblem. Camels have to be one of earth's funniest looking creatures but they are also kind of cute in a weird way.
Perl 5 Cover
Design work
"Burnout" | 1992 | 15" x 16" | Monotype Assemblage
Inspired by David Gothard's post,  "Most Unusual Working Conditions" I would like to share my own unusual work situation. On April 29, 1992 a  jury acquitted four Los Angeles Police Department officers accused in the videotaped beating of African-American motorist Rodney King. The outrage that followed is now called the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. I was born in Pasadena, California and my youth was spent in and around the suburbs of Los Angeles. Los Angeles was my stomping grounds and I loved the city. At the time of the Rodney King trials I had been working weekly for the Los Angeles Times and that trial was definitely heating things up. The weekend after the acquittal the city was ready to blow and so many of us were outraged with the acquittal.  I took off that weekend to San Francisco right when it blew. On Monday morning I checked my answering machine and I had gotten a call from Nancy Duckworth explaining that the Los Angeles Times Magazine was hiring 9 LA artists to depict their personal feelings and art in response to the verdict and the riots and that the artist,  could do anything, no sketches just make sure that the art gets in by Thursday. I called Nancy, accepted the assignment and didn't tell her that I was in San Francisco. Next step, find all of the art supplies needed to create a mobile printmaking studio. I bought some plexiglass,  a roller , speedball inks, paint thinner, pencils and I was able to find my favorite hand made Japanese paper in San Francisco. I worked that night on a card table under a single light bulb in my sister in laws garage with a bunch of makeshift supplies and I created this piece. Sent it out Fed-Ex the next day and the whole process was a complete artist rush to create. The other 8 artists commissioned were: Marty Gunsaullus, Todd Gray, Christian Clayton, Sherry Etheridge, Joel Nakamura, Greg Clarke, Scott Morgan and Greg Spalenka. Art Direction was Nancy Duckworth and Steven E. Banks.
Definition: Telepresence videoconferencing emulates in-person  meetings with life-size images of  remote participants. Specially constructed telepresence rooms provide  the lighting, sound, acoustics, furniture and ambiance of a face-to-face  meeting experience. Average Cost for a Conference-ready room: $300,000

This was a challenging and fun feature assignment for Stephanie Brockway at ComputerWorld magazine that was used for both a full page and cover. The assignment idea was to create two heads facing each other to illustrate the headline. One face is live and the other is half-embedded in a screen and virtual.
Sounds like a simple and straightforward assignment , yes?.  Well, it was anything but simple for me. Every little design modification on the face or the hand seemed to tell a different story and I didn't want their teleconference to look like a lovers quarrel or the guy explaining how he crashed his company car. I sent my designs to Stephanie and she replied, "Great sketches, we love #4 and #6 and prefer #6 and please, include her ponytail". And it was that simple, thank you Stephanie and April!.
Woman detail
Man Detail
The final spread
SI 52 Traveling Exhibition

A Hidden Agenda?
Monotype on handmade Japanese paper
Art Direction: SooJin Buzelli
Plansponsor Magazine
A story about hidden elements being revealed in lawsuits. Small plans attacking providers over hidden fees and inadequate disclosure in 401K fees.

Tara Jacoby from the New York Society of Illustrators informed me that this piece from the Editorial show has been selected for this years Illustrators 52 traveling show and this is a huge honor for me. The Society travels the annual show each year. Only 40 pieces from the entire show are chosen to travel. This exhibition will be touring different galleries and schools across the United States. The tour dates are from September 2010 through July 2011. Thank you, Society!
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