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BP Oil Spill, The Aftermath

AUGUST 23, 2010

Will it fade in importance as the leaves turn this fall?   Months of oil gushing into the gulf as our summer just started made us all feel fragile. 
Just as fast as it started and our anxiety mounted, the news of the capped well allowed the American people to exhale once again.  We knew that this oil would be in our water for a long time but when it was announced that it was hard to find, I think we all feel a sense of skepticism.
Mother Jones in it's September issue tackles the story and gets down there to look for the truth.
While we watched the well plume gush, overhead planes were dumping dispersants over the vast slicks of oil that were the size of states.  The dispersant is toxic as well.  BP seems to have spent much time controlling information and the measurement of actual oil.  Did you know that BP rented virtually all the available hotel rooms on the shores or Louisiana to keep the press from moving in?  They've bought scientists off, chartered every boat they could. 
The cover story by Julia Whitty is thourough and thought provoking.
Read this story   http://motherjones.com/special-reports/2010/09/bp-oceans
Tim Luddy the Creative Director called and asked me to do the cover.  The idea was the sea floor.  Death and decay.  The light from above would TRY to filter down, perhaps as a metaphor for shedding light on the situation.
The deadline was tight so I went to a serious sketch right away. I love drawing out a rough sketch and sending that to an AD but in this case the image was pretty much settled on and what we had to work out was the color and value and bone situation.

This was an image that I thought would serve the type well. Less going on behind the type. Tim asked me to combine the two and for the final I did just that.

One request was to add some pipes behind or IN the scene. I was in Pasadena at the time and at the Langham hotel, at the end of the covered bridge was a nice collection of gas pipes. I tried them out but Tim suggested I be more accurate so they found me some authentic images of oil pipes to work from. When I see what a plumber can do I see them as artists with a sense of humor.

This is the pipe head I created to use as my reference.  The reference I had was fair but I needed to make some sense of it.  This is like sculpting it to understand it.
Almost the last sketch. I was working fast.

The final art of the leaking connection. I know light can't go down that far as to create shimmers on the pipe but it is a metaphor, remember?

The bones on the top are from a porpoise and the long beak is from a pelican. The others are various fish. A ton of work to paint when you eventually hide them in darkness but all worth it in the end.

I was glad to have an opportunity to add my illustration to the great work being done out there pertaining to the oil spill.  Thank you to Tim Luddy who again filled Mother Jones with great illustration throughout;  Sam Weber, Matt Mahurin, Tim Bower, and Steve Brodner among others.
Finally, buy electric!
Nisson Leaf
Chevy Volt
Ford Fusion
Maybe one day
The Tesla S
Oh, and this
My WORX Lawnmower