Thursday, May 10, 2012

April: Tax Day -- The Captains of Industry Calendar

Eyerus + Visual Communications Studio
The Captains of Industry


A calendar, illustrated in the style of '70s Blaxploitation movie posters. Each month will focus on an extremely esoteric holiday (or a popular holiday handled in an extremely esoteric way), all staring The Captains of Industry.

The Captains of Industry are: Graham Funke and StoneRokk, two innovative and eclectic DJs known for their creativity, sense of humor, and opinionated worldviews. You may find them working high-profile corporate and celebrity events around the country, or at their Las Vegas residencies at the Palms Casino Resort. They are "Your favorite DJ's favorite DJs."™


April's featured holiday is Tax Day. The guys wanted to express the less-than-positive feelings many people have about this time of year, as our hard-earned money flies out the window. That would equate to surrounding the IRS building with what appear to be explosives, and preparing to engage them with a classic plunger-style detonator. But, please notice, the plunger has not been depressed. The guys want to maintain plausible deniability about the whole thing.


The Capts took part in a photo shoot, yielding some pretty hilarious results, exploring the concept of two cat-burglers, with vintage influence and exaggerated expressions.

My first order of business was to find suitable reference of the official IRS building, in Washington D.C. Otherwise, it's just some building. Along with the guys, the building is a major part of the visual story, not only in concept, but also physical size. I need to have an idea of what it looks like, so I can plan my compositional options.

I thought the strong low perspective would be a good solution. It allows me to cleanly include the building, without cropping, tell the story about the explosives and flying moneybags, give the guys a position of strength as we look up at them, and echo the stylings of the '70s Blaxploitation movie posters we are using as inspiration.

After basic sketch approval, it came time to flesh out the details and explosive choices.

After setting the stage with recognizable missiles and planting the idea in viewers' minds that no good is afoot, my goal is to get a little ridiculous with the kinds of things the guys may or may not have brought to the scene.

Among the additions, you may find a catch-all, unidentified suspicious package, behind the sign; a shoe bomb, comprised of a tennis shoe stuffed with dynamite -- perhaps, Acme brand; old-school bowling ball-shaped bombs, plucked from the hands of Adam West, maybe; and a DIY suicide vest, strapped to a department store mannequin. Someone may have even taken the time to string explosive line through every window of the government building, somehow evading any raised eyebrows from security folk.


The final sketch is approved. So, let's get started on the final art. In a departure from our mustache for every occasion, it was decided to eliminate Graham's facial hair. Since he is ski mask-clad, a 'stache would hide his identity too much. For the record, I am depicting him in the comp, above, rockin' a "G. Gordon Liddy."

I had my model, Ricky, help me fill in the blanks of anything I felt needed supplemental reference. In this case, it came in the way of gloved hands in the correct positions. Hands are always super-important in any visual composition, because they are so complex and expressive. I thought it best to take the extra time to get them right. I'll spare you, my gentle reader, the plethora of reference I accumulated of an extended third digit, in gloves.

You'll see how angles and perspective help tell the story, here, leading the eye around the scene and back to the guys. Angles are generally more interesting than static verticals or horizontals. When in doubt, work the angles.

A triad color scheme is a good go-to place to start. It's a natural balance, simple enough to deal with when time is of the essence, and  complex enough to be interesting. Violet, orange, and green are my choices, here.

Here's the final color art, again.

Thanks, again, to the amazing team at Eyerus for allowing me the opportunity to be involved, for their direction, and for fostering an environment for creativity that any illustrator would cherish. Thanks, too, to The Captains of Industry for conceiving such a wonderfully-inspired collection of ideas for the world to devour, as well as for their very generous write-up about the project and their kind words toward me. See it, here.

You may secure your own calendar at The Capts Online Haberdashery.

Over the coming weeks, I will show and tell the stories behind each month's art. Stay tuned. Tell your friends. You won't be disappointed!

Allan Burch is an award-winning illustrator and portrait artist, providing solutions for editorial, book, advertising, and institutional projects.
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