Sunday, December 16, 2007

Barack Obama

The Oprah-factor. Will it help? It certainly can't hurt. He and Hillary are essentially neck-and-neck in Iowa. What's fascinating to me is his charisma and presence. That seems to go a long way with many people. He also seems to be an intensively smart man. Many people came to first know about him after his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. I missed the speech, but I remember the buzz afterward. People noted how brilliant and inspiring his speech was perceived, and how he would be the future of the Democratic party.

It's always interesting to watch the polls and how people analyze them as if they are of critical importance 100% of the time. Any bodybuilder (or anyone trying to get into shape for their class reunion) knows it's all about peaking at the right time. Obama's peak appears to be happening at about the right time.

I did this piece a few months back to be included as part of a portrait-themed promotional brochure I was planning. After doing it, I decided it disproportionately out-shined some of the others I was to include. This sparked a fervent stretch of voluminous output on my part, that continues to this day. This has advanced my work, invaluably, and sparked some of my favorite illustrations to-date (check out the Amy Winehouse image from September -- no pun intended but I'm completely addicted to her music right now).

The brochure is still in the works. Drop me a line, and I'll send you one when it's complete.


Sunday, December 9, 2007

Nolan Ryan

"His arm should hang in the Smithsonian, right next to the Spirit of St. Louis or the first capsule to land on the moon. It is an American artifact, and object of awe. People should go look at it the way they look at the Mona Lisa." -- Jim Murray, former L.A. Times sportswriter

Nolan Ryan was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in July of 1999, as was Orlando Cepeda, George Brett, and Robin Yount. I had the opportunity to illustrate these 4 players for Major League Baseball and the League Championship Series program books that year.

Sports figures in action provide a unique opportunity for an illustration. It's a great chance to capture power, athleticism, fluid elegance, and mental intensity, all within a split-second, moment-in-time depiction. It's a prime environment for creating a captivating piece of art.

In 1999, the National League series was played between the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, while the American League series featured the Yankees vs. the Redsox. The Braves and the Yankees would play in the World Series with the Yankees sweeping in 4 games.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Midnite Vultures

Midnite Vultures was nominated in 2001 for Album of the Year at the 43rd annual Grammy Awards. Other nominees that year were The Marshall Mathers LP from Eminem, Kid A from Radiohead, You're the One from Paul Simon, and the winner -- Two Against Nature by Steely Dan.

I was thrilled to work on this portrait for the Grammy Awards. I had my choice of artists to paint and I thought Beck would prove the best subject for me. His music is somewhat uncategorizable, so there is a bit of mystery about that aspect of him. Plus, if you listen to his lyrics, one can spend days deciphering the meaning to each and every allegory. I thought this slightly off-kilter image with undefined sweater shape would tell a nice subtle story.

As I worked on this illustration, I had the CD on constant rotation. "Sexx Laws" and "Debra" are a couple of my faves. When the big night rolled around, I tuned-in to CBS, looking at the full house of musical dignitaries, watching Madonna open the show with "Music." It was a surreal feeling knowing Mariah Carey, Pete Townsend, Blue Man Group, Elton John, Marilyn Manson, Snoop Dogg, Sweet Honey in the Rock, or God-knows-who might be holding my art in their hands that very minute -- a very wild feeling, and one of my cooler jobs to date. I hope to have another opportunity to help.

Cool song. Cool video