Saturday, March 1, 2008

Ray Charles


"You got the right one...baby!" Probably how a younger generation remembers Ray Charles -- from his Pepsi commercials. I'll admit, that's the first thing that popped into my head when I looked at this image for the blog. Although, I'm particularly fond of his role in "The Blues Brothers." The illustration was done for Ameristar Casinos a few years ago, and used in a promotional brochure that featured the musical acts performing there at the time, with Ray being one. What I remember most about this image was painting the jacket and the unique challenge of trying to replicate its sheen while capturing the feel of folded fabric and the checkered pattern.

What I tried to capture with this image was the juxtaposition of a moment-in-time snapshot of his energy and spirit against a rock-solidness of form and composition that echoes the fact that he is Ray Charles. This was helped along by the color easing off the side of his face and the back of his jacket, all playing off the more solid and flat forms of his clothing. The lapel, shirt, and tie are basically flat shapes of color. And, even though the jacket is full of folds and shapes, it has a certain flatness about it, leaving the areas of interest and greatest contrast to the warmly-lit face, sliced in two by the blackness of his glasses.

As an illustrator, one of my goals is to keep moving forward, always striving to achieve that utopia in my mind that is my visual, conceptual, and stylistic voice which reverberates in me at the cellular level. That is what all artists and probably every living being strives to achieve. So, looking back at work just a few years ago, compared to today, it is interesting to see things I might handle differently or certain challenges, then, that wouldn't be, today. What are they, you ask? I'm not tellin.' That would dilute the viewing experience and take away from what is one of my favorite illustrations. But, one can take a look through the blog, and probably form a chronological lineage of my work, if one were so inclined.

detail



In the mean-time, here is an important tune from his repertoire, and influence in Kanye West's big hit. Can you hear the lines?



Love the look of this and the undercurrents brewing.

1 comment:

Flydesign said...

Outstanding image Allan, the use of color is what attracts me to your illustrations, just timeless.

Funny I was looking through a book the other day that I had in my office and I had crossed some of your work. The book is called “Workbook Design/Illustration.” I was like wow I share blogs with that guy, lol!

Again, great piece!
Matt