Thursday, July 16, 2015

Arthur J Simms, for Eyerus Visual Communication Studio and The Arthur J


Eyerus Visual Communication Studio and The Arthur J steakhouse


A portrait of Arthur J. Simms, patriarch and pioneer of the Simms’ Restaurant Group — the family venture behind some of Southern California’s hottest eateries — for their newest Manhattan Beach steakhouse, The Arthur J.


Create a portrait reflecting the colorful character of Mr. Simms, while illustrating a timeless piece of art with Mid-century Modern styling, to reflect the vibe, color, and decor of this brand new restaurant.


Arthur J. Simms was quoted in his obituary as “wanting to leave no tread on the tires by the time I’m done.” His colorful fashion style reflected his flamboyant personal style. According to those who knew him, Mr. Simms' tires were threadbare upon his passing, in 2000. The Arthur J is a celebration and homage to the man. Decked out in Mid-century Modern colors, shapes, and spaces, the restaurant takes patrons back to the time when Mr. Simms was at his most powerful, and gives diners an experience as delicious as their meal.

I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with Eyerus Visual Communication Studio on several occasions. It’s always been a fun and rewarding experience. Being part of Eyerus’ branding of this important South Beach steakhouse would be no exception.

My first step was to review the reference provided me, about Arthur J, his story, and the restaurant Eyerus was helping to brand. The portrait would hang in a very visible position, greeting visitors, upon entering. It should complement the warm colors of the decor, and blend with the bold styling of the 1950s-60s Modern design, gracing the restaurant’s interior. Equally important, the portrait should reflect Arthur Simms’ style and personality.

He was no stranger to vibrant fashion. But, we also want something that people can look at, every day, and still capture the essence of his atypical style. His signature pink jacket was my choice, because it provides a sense of presence with vibrance. A yellow sweater and pants complements the pink, as well as the decor, and reflects his warm personality.

For the art's visual style, I took some cues from the art and design of the period, often perusing the wonderful collection of Mid-century Modern art found at Shelby White's blog. I wanted to keep the strokes graphic and somewhat simplified, while maintaining the general illustration style my client expects from me.


The luxurious three week deadline? It has been tweaked a bit. It’s now three days. Can we make it happen? Of course we can!


My client wanted something standing, head and torso. As I tend to do, I utilized the services of myself, as test model, to work out the best poses.

I always like to cover the gamut and provide several options for my client. These were the preliminary sketches...

Since color is so important to this piece, I knew it would be helpful to include a color comp. This helps minimize any surprises, for the client, with the final art


My client chose sketch #1.

Shifting into high gear, it’s time to race forward and show our new deadline whose boss. West coast client vs midwest illustrator = two hours extra, for me, before they get into the office. This is important for wringing every last second out of my workflow.

Deadline day comes. A jpeg version is sent for final approval. Everything is a-okay! Time to upload the high-res file. One day, high-res file transfer will be instantaneous, but, on this day, it still took what seemed like forever. There I sat, confirmation email composed, ticking down every last byte, my cursor on the “send” button. Will the power go out with one byte left? Will my system corrupt, spontaneously? All possibilities, you know? But, not today! Upon full transfer, I click “send,” and the talented folks at Eyerus complete the framing and presentation of this portrait in time for the eagerly-awaited opening.

Many thanks to Eyerus Visual Communication Studio, for the opportunity to work with you on this fantastic project.

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