02 January 2007
Stumble Out of the Starting Gate
Right at the first of the year in 2007 had a strange and disappointing job experience. The Chronicle of Higher Education, a long time client, approached me with a cover illustration, plus a series of spots (that would be able to be taken from the items on the cover). I don't even remember what the topic of the illustration was, but I came up with a series of sketches, of which one was chosen, an illustration of a number of boxes, with faces poking out of them at different angles (the usual sex and racial mix), which was then approved to go to final. But then something happened somewhere along the line, and when the finish was presented, the idea suddenly got around the publication office that they resembled severed heads, and that it looked as if a massacre had taken place, and various solutions were suggested (making the features softer, more 'alive' looking somehow). And eventually, the idea of an illustration was abandoned, and a photo was chosen instead).
I got paid a kill fee for the illustration, and the AD was nice as always, assuring me it wasn't my fault, and they'd use me again. But I couldn't help feeling that the art was somehow the culprit, and in light of a controversial illustration of mine that appeared in the same publication the previous year that generated a lot of angry 'letters to the editor', I was understandably worried about my status with this client. Gave the beginning of the year a note of foreboding that I've had a hard time shaking all the year long. However, all that being said, I still like this illustration, and enjoyed working on it. Maybe it can find a new life in syndication somehow, if someone is in need of 'severed heads'.
Also, around this time, received a pair of jobs from the Far Eastern Economic Review out of Hong Kong, another portrait, and a piece on vocational education in which the idea of graduates eventually turning around and teaching could be somehow portrayed (pictured below).
Another in the series of 'health care' spots for a bi-monthly column in the Wall Street Journal, this one about accupuncture for back pain. Accupuncture seems to come up quite often in this series of columns.
The above illustration was for Barrons, although I don't quite remember what the topic of the article was about (probably hidden dangers in investing, diving into the investing pool, something like that...). And the illustration below was for one of Niche Media's regional publications, to accompany an article about George Bush's Presidential Library, and what sort of books may end up in it (I couldn't help but include the 'hungry caterpillar book' that he once claimed was his favorite book from childhood, although it was published as late as the early seventies - perhaps he read it in college). Another visit from our old friend the cliche 'big bag of money'.
Also ran across these two black and white spots that I must've done for the Wall Street Journal around this time (probably rush jobs that didn't get a chance to get entered into the calendar). The one on the left was probably about investors being mad about overseas stock opportunities.
I don't quite remember the topic of the one to the left (probably stock auctions or something). Because it is about the same size, and in black and white, I'm assuming it was for the same weekly column and designer, one of those weekend rush jobs that appear on the sunday edition. It is always fun to try and fit a complex topic into a tiny black and white spot, and frequently a small proscribed space, usually taking a hint on the concept from a word or phrase used in either the headline or the main text of the article.