Plutocracy Anyone? Keeping Busy- Part 7
The AMERICAN PROSPECT Magazine has undergone a change in format and publication, its issues now seasonal rather than monthly. Luckily for the magazine and happily for me, Mary Parsons remains the art director. She trusts her artists and when she does offer suggestions they are on point. In an era where editors increasingly seem to make the decisions on visual matters and art directors seem to exist merely as executors of those decisions, it’s a pleasure to work with someone who is willing to push back if necessary and advocate for the illustrator and for the visual solutions. Many times it’s the difference between images that have teeth and images that act as wall paper.
The “Plutocracy Forever?” issue is a great example of why you should never throw your sketches and ideas- in particular good ones- away even if they don’t make the cut for a particular story. This is a concept I have only come to appreciate more in my later years. The ability to store files of rejected ideas in hard drives as opposed to boxes of paper makes it a lot easier to access a sketch that was for any variety of reasons rejected for one story but still a perfect match for another. In this situation Mary asked me to create a number of illustrations for the issue and we had a treasure trove of old ideas done for The Prospect and other magazines that found new life and seemed totally appropriate.
The cover was a mix and match situation taking a singular image, the reclining reinvention of the Monopoly man morphed with a swine, and adding a portion from another illustration. Mary originally had reservations about the size of the cover copy, which the editors seemed to want, but the illustrations fit perfectly and complemented the layout giving the cover a nice sense of openness.
The interior pieces were a combination of revisited old sketches as well as new ideas to fit the essays. Once again the rejects hold up well and remain archived for some later potential usage. After a certain point there are only so many ways one can illustrate the ever returning core of themes- greed, corruption, venality, etc., that are part of political and social commentary publications and a visual that has you chuckling is a keeper. Recycling is not just about plastic.