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Amazon for NYTimes

SEPTEMBER 15, 2013
The Amazon/14"x20"/oil on board
I grew up to my Uncle Mike's stories of his travels to the Amazon. I'm not sure how much is true but his stories were fascinating to me as a child and still to this day. His trip started in the Amazon rainforest. The stories were full of piranhas, hanging out with a native tribe, eating ants (that would bite your tongue unless you chewed really fast), magical drinks/drugs, and a dramatic escape on a sea plane. 
I was asked to illustrate the special Latin America cover for The Travel section of The New York Times. They gave me a collection of articles about different locations including Cuba, Rio de Janeiro, San Blas Islands in Panama  and the Peruvian Amazon. They were lush with wonderful exotic details but I was drawn to the Peruvian Amazon article with it's hidden town of Iquitos and pink river dolphins.
Luckily, Corinne Myller at the Times could decipher my very loose thumbnails and chose the sketch of a boat riding up the Amazon river. Some of my favorite art is by early explorers discovering a new location or animal for the first time and depicting it in their own way—a mix of past memories and a fleeting glimpse of the present. I wanted to capture a bit of that. 
It's a rare occasion to illustrate the entire front cover of a section in The New York Times and I couldn't be more proud and honored. I actually didn't want to get too excited until I saw it in print. Thank you to AD Corinne Myller and The New York Times. 
I also wanted to include this illustration from another piece in The New York Times Travel section a few weeks ago. The article "Would a Gay Man Be Welcomed Home in Montana" was a personal story about a man and his partner going back to his hometown of Montana and discovering that the homophobic town that he had grown up in had changed. Thanks again to Corinne Myller and her fantastic art direction and to the author, Brooks Barnes
I also included a few color experiments that were done digitally. 
Montana/20"x10"/oil on panel
color digital experiment_purple
color digital experiment_green
© 2024 Chris Buzelli