Haven’t posted much about assignments for Rolling Stone in a while. These three in their own ways turned out quite nicely.
The War on Drugs is Burning Out
Ideas rarely come like bolts of lightning but oftentimes the first thoughts will eventually remain the best thoughts. This was a piece, penned by Tim Dickinson, that inspired two quick images, either one of which could have worked and for a while the decision bounced between the two. There was no necessity to keep thinking of new ideas.
Since a focus of the story dealt with Washington D.C. itself in terms of law and legality within its city limits, it seemed appropriate to replace the Washington Monument with a towering joint a la picture postcard view. The other was to take one of the most iconic spots in the country- the Lincoln Memorial and have old Abe toking. Editorial finally decided to go with the toke. It was far more fun than I anticipated as bringing life to marble busts is not an easy task. I settled on a color themed image to ground the visual and accentuate the punch line.
The GOP’s New War on Obama: Meet the Men Doing the Dirty Work
Another piece from Tim Dickinson focusing on what I read as an updated version of a Jacobin rebellion. A revolution to eliminate anyone not falling into the hard right wing lock step. First to go- Democrats in the Congress.
It was an opportunity to have fun with caricatures and, once again, two ideas came to mind that seemed to satisfy the story. One, non-French Revolution in concept but French by association because it drew upon the famous Dore image of Red Riding Hood with the wolf, had a Lady Liberty a la RRH apprehensively viewing her wolves sharing the bed. I liked it very much but also thought something relating to the Jacobin fever in D.C. should be addressed. Hence- refer to the great British satirist, James Gillray who so wonderfully excoriated not only the British Royal class but the maniacs of the French Revolution. Vive le Revolution. The editorial decision went with the beheading image.
Tim Dickinson once again on the self created problems in Canada where its Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has banked nearly the entire economy on its tar sands oil production and how with the drop in oil prices and the blocking of the Keystone Pipeline, the nation finds itself in serious financial peril. There were several stories going on here and while I did want to bring Harper, a pasty faced looking piece of white bread, into the image I also somehow needed to address the economic part. This was an article that saw many sketches and many that made their way to the circular file. I saw it first as a bad gamble and played off a Vegas like gambling setting, The Tar Sands instead of the Sands. As the first Sands hotel casino was blown up to make way for a new one, there was video of the demolition to play with plus some vintage images on Google. I liked it a lot but editorial wasn’t entirely convinced. I also tried one recalling the Icarus story with Harper flying too high and his wings melting into dripping oil as he falls. Others showed a huge tar sands tractor with an engine dropped out and Harper not exactly flying out of a cannon the way he anticipated. Lastly, and most successfully, the idea of riding over a waterfall of oil in an oil barrel. The dimensions were changed and a different camera angle was established, which quite frankly had the best sense of animation to it.
As always, great fun working with Mark Maltais and Joe Hutchinson in art and Will Dana, editor.