Courtney Barnett - Rolling Stone

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I am delighted to have created a portrait of Courtney Barnett for the new issue of Rolling Stone. It is for the release/review of her new record 'Tell Me How You Really Feel'.

I wanted to convey some of the possible emotions that one would go through to connect with the upcoming record. I didn't have access to any music other than what was pre-released so I wanted to run the gamut yet also capture a bit of my interpretation of Barnett as I saw her after watching hours of interviews. 

I can't write about her without saying also that I adore her singing...almost talking and rambling style of singing along with her wit.  I really look forward to hearing the rest of the record!

  Left: Rough Sketch :: Right: Final Sketch

Left: Rough Sketch :: Right: Final Sketch

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World Press Freedom Day Poster

The art director of the Bureau of Editorial Content from our very own US Government contacted me. The email was listed as ‘Unclassified’.

I was asked to create a poster for World Press Freedom Day which was May 3rd and this poster would be sent to and used by various U.S. Embassies around the world. There is quite a bit of irony that this poster is meant to promote press freedom around the world when our President is suggesting that our own press be shut down.

“I just wanted to let you know that we are all normal here.” The art director said over the phone.

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As we have seen for the last year directly on TV, we can imagine working in any government agency has grown to be quite toxic. Between Trump firing this Bureau’s head and his distain for the Press who doesn’t agree with his worldview, we had to be careful how we discussed doing something so simple as a poster advocating the concept of a Free Press.

Knowing my work, the art director seemed like she wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to create a harsh commentary about Press Freedom, which I understood. This sort of thing isn’t that platform. We discussed ideas about how to present the poster. There were other parts of the conversation which were a little deeper and inflammatory but I will leave them out of this post. I feel bad for everything she's dealing with over there. It truly sucks apparently.

To protect myself, I needed to do some research on the art director and how this was going to be used because it’s quite obvious the Republicans, Trump and his Administration are the worst humans of our society. I hoped I could put a little piece of light out there through our own government and the fascism of Trump and his supporters.

I had a wonderful time doing the job. The art director was aces and surprisingly hands-off when we started going through my sketches. “Which one do you want to do?” and that was it.

The art director loved the piece and decided that it won’t be printed with a year associated with it as it has been previously so the poster can be used indefinitely around the world. As an artist, that may be an honor. As a citizen and a cynic, doing that makes me wonder if this will be the last Press Freedom Poster our government creates.

It truly was an honor to work with this art director for a project I find profound.

 Final poster

Final poster

Ape - Tor.com

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I created this painting ‘Ape’ for a short story cover once again working with Irene Gallo at Tor.com.

The story is a ‘futuristic murder mystery about detective partners—a human and an enhanced chimpanzee—who are investigating why a woman murdered an apparently random stranger on the subway.’

An underlying thread of story also took a look into what it meant to be different from others. The characters analyzed who they are and how they fit, or do not fit, in this futuristic world.

I wanted to portray the main character as he truly is and introspective but also disconnected with the human-esque science experiment that he became.

While I am not a science experiment, not that I am aware of, I often think about similar connections I have with people and some I don’t. How do I fit into society? Is there much more to our lives? Or truly, are we only meat, salt and sparks?

Personally, I think that pretty much is it.

The story will be released in June.

As a bonus, I filmed the process of creating this painting. You can watch it below or click over to YouTube and subscribe for more videos.

SVA - Visual Arts Journal Profile

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Every once in a while, something happens that you don’t expect will affect you.

Around January, SVA called and wanted to add me to a section of the alumni magazine in that they select an area of the country and focus on graduates from that location. I thought ‘That’s pretty cool.’ and answered a couple of questions had a quick phone discussion with the writer and moved on. I didn’t expect much more than a short paragraph and a postage stamp image of my work.

I remember vividly being at that school barely having a chip-shot-in-hell of a chance to succeed in illustration. I’d look at variations of this publication when attending, dreaming that one day I will be an illustrator and maybe find myself in one of these sorts of publications. You know those sort of grand dreams of what ‘success’ means to a 20 year old.

I had no vision how becoming an illustrator would happen. I certainly didn’t have the chops for it at the time. It took at least 10 years after graduating before I was actually moderately happy with the work I was creating. After a few years, things like being part of an alumni magazine just faded away as one of those things I was stupid enough to delude myself into thinking I could be part of - like doing work for 'name' publications like Rolling Stone which I still have never worked for.

A few days back, I started getting texts from friends with photos of the magazine. I didn’t expect to see that I was on the cover and a spread introducing the section. Whoa. I still haven’t seen the physical copy yet but I got the PDF.

In the last couple of months, between when I was asked and finding out about this, it made me think and realize how honored I feel to be recognized by my old school like this 25-ish years later. It brought up a lot of old thoughts about school and starting my career. I didn’t have a great time at SVA not because it was a bad school but life circumstances got in the way of fully realizing what I could get out of school. (Basically being poor and working up to 3 jobs while attending full time.) It also reminded me of the wonderful conversations I had with Marshall Arisman when he still taught undergrad and Lisa Desimini who was a huge influence early on when she taught there and so many others that kept me inspired to keep pursuing this.

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In the grand scheme of things, it is an alumni magazine and not what is traditionally a ‘high-end nod’, at least I’m not sure it is - and maybe I used up too many words on this. The magazine will certainly be forgotten - and forgotten pretty quickly, I’d imagine. Maybe some new young staffer in the alumni office 10 years from now will rummage through these old copies found in the basement and make a decision to throw them out because of space constraints or some other sad story we’ve all heard.

Still. This has made me realize how much of a personal honor it is to me and remind me of all those little experiences back then that brought me here. My experiences are absolutely way beyond anything I could have dreamed of in 1989.

I would love to travel back in time to 1989, give a hug (he’s a hugger) to that young, financially destitute Scott who had to steal food from the supermarket he worked at in order to eat and let him know that things will turn out better than he could ever imagine and to stay focused and happy. And try acrylics sooner. And quit smoking and take up running sooner. And go to the Society more often. And….

You can read the story via a PDF here.

School Library Journal

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I was contacted by Mark Tuchman from School Library Journal to create a cover and interior piece for the magazine.

It's for the very serious topic about how opioid addictions in families can hurt children and librarians are finding ways to help the children affected overcome any obstacles they may have because of it.

I did a bunch of sketches with various ideas and as the project continued, we we defined which images were the strongest then chose which would be on the cover and which would be the interior.

It was great working with Mark and I hope to work with him again.

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Sketches on the left were the initial ideas. Sketches on the right are final ideas in possible contexts.

Spectrum and World Illustration Awards

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I received my copy of the new Spectrum annual and the World Illustration Awards UK annual a day apart from one another and honored to have these two pieces represented in the books.

The one above called 'Spider Monkey' is in Spectrum and the image below, made for the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles Call For Entries poster was in both of them.

Big thank you's to the judges and the competitions.

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Baseline Magazine - Travel Course Article

 

My colleague Elizabeth Resnick who is an educator, author and designer and I co-teach a travel course at MassArt. The course is called Crossing the Pond: Exploring Communication Design in London and Dublin. We take graphic design and illustration students (usually 50/50) to the UK and Ireland for about 17 days for museum and studio visits. These visits the students see lectures from some of the most prolific and world renown designers and illustrators. The focus of the course being; what are the differences and similarities between the U.S. and other countries in their use of design and illustration as well as experiencing life in these two countries.

The last trip we held was in the Spring of 2016 and this Fall, we will begin the process of organizing the next UK trip for the Spring of 2019. For this upcoming trip, we will be centering the trip exclusively in the UK but spending time in three cities. But I am getting way ahead of myself.

In 2014, during the trip after we let the students off to do what they wish one evening, Elizabeth and I met with Hans Dieter Reichert, Publisher of Baseline at a great pub. They're all great pubs in London.

In the magazine, there is an education section and we discussed how are trip can be formulated into a story. After we got through the trip, Elizabeth and I spent a few weeks writing the article and sent it in.

You can download the full article PDF here.

It is a wonderful trip and highly curated experience for the students. We hit the ground running from the very day we land. Often visiting two to three studios a day as well as cultural visits such as the V&A Museum in London, Chester Beatty Gallery in Dublin. We also purchase tickets to plays running at the time so they have cultural experiences outside of only graphic design and illustration and there is always one day in each country that the students can explore the country on their own.

 2016 London Dublin Class

2016 London Dublin Class

Highlights for the trips include visiting Pentagram UK and a talk from brilliant designer Harry Pearce; visiting St. Bride's and seeing original sketches for Gill Sans, pages from the Book of the Dead and a complete first book printed in English from the 1400's; visiting Annie Atkins studio in Dublin (she creates the graphics for TV shows and movies such as the Grand Budpest Hotel The Tudors and others and all of the newspapers, signage, etc. for the sets.

 Annie Atkins

Annie Atkins

Further, while in Dublin, the students saw lectures from illustrators Steve SimpsonAlan Clarke and Sarah Bowie which were wonderful. After the lectures, the artists had a meet-up with the Irish Illustrators Guild and invited all of the students to a local pub to top off the rest of the evening.

This is only to list a fraction of the itinerary.

I am incredibly proud and honored to work with Elizabeth on this course and hope to expand it in the near future. My goal is to have a course like this run every year.

Again, if you'd like to read the article, You can download the full article PDF here.