Luerzer's Archive: 200 Best Illustrators

In the latest Luerzer's Archive 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide 16/17, I have a couple of spreads of work completed for Tor Books/Tor.com, Liberty Magazine, the Vancouver Opera and a personal piece. Many more pieces were selected but weren't included due to space issues.

I'm very happy because the judges selected some of my favorite work of the last couple of years for inclusion.

Bring Me The Head of David Flaherty

Now and again, some artists in the community get together and paint portraits of our friends for their significant birthdays. My longtime illustrator friend Dave Flaherty turned 60 not too long ago. Dave and his wife have a cute dog named Fritzie.

I wanted to encapsulate a sort of 'in joke' with all our friends about his head. The Flaherty Head as its lovingly called.

Below are some mono-prints I created as demos for a couple of my classes of his head. 

I have been honored to find out that the painting above was selected to be included in the Society of Illustrators Annual 58 and was exhibited in New York and just recently, selected to be included in the upcoming 3x3 Annual.

Special thanks to Dave and his wife, illustrator and my friend as well, Ellen Weinstein for organizing the project.

Family Circle

This is a new piece for Family Circle magazine art directed by Dana Einsider.

The subject was about the uncomfortable discussions families have to have with one another about what their wishes are when they pass away.

I tend to go to the 'dark side' when it comes to working out images. I don't shy away from the subject and try to give an honest representation of how something feels. In this case, while a dark subject, I kept in mind the magazine and readership. It is generally not a 'heavy' magazine so I wanted to come up with imagery and visual metaphors that would accommodate the subject of the article but also play well with Family Circle's audience.

I submitted a bunch of sketch ideas, but this one with the knocked out subtle gravestone was the winner and my preference to paint. I added the Will in per request which I thought could have dumbed down the idea of the image but we agreed that not having the word 'Will' and having an image which symbolized the heart of what the discussion is about would work just as well. 

Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles CFE Poster

I was asked by this year's Chair, Steven Hughes otherwise known as Primary Hughes to create a the Call For Entries poster for the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles 55th annual competition.

I've been included in many of the shows in the last 10-15 years and as a capper last year, I received a Gold Medal for my painting for Tor Books/Tor.com. To be asked to create the poster for this year's competition was a nice surprise and an honor.

Steven asked me to create the art just before I left for a trip that had me away from the studio for a good part of a month. I had free reign to create whatever I wanted. This was great because I had a lot of time to think about what type of image I wanted to make. I created a piece that was about the judging process itself. The omniscient judge mysteriously selecting pieces in a harsh landscape of possible failures.

Thank you Steven and the Board of Directors at SILA. 

School of Visual Arts Panel

On Tuesday, February 23rd, I will be part of a panel discussion at SVA. I am honored and sort of emotional for being asked to participate. It's been many years since I've been to SVA and being asked to be part of this so many years after my time there is like a homecoming. I look forward to being there and meeting new artists.

The panel is open to the public. Please RSVP here.

Liberty Magazine - Portrait of Jan Hus

One of my favorite clients, Bryan Gray of Genesis Design called to do a couple of portraits for the next few issues of Liberty Magazine. This is the first one, Jan Hus. In a time when you questioned the church, you took your life in your own hands. The poor fellow was burned at the stake. 

It's not very often that I stick with a limited palette but I kept leaning toward it when I was thinking about how to handle the final. Reminiscent of the red crayon drawings of DaVinci, I wanted to give a bit of that feel of he time period in the early 1400's.

Maria Stephanos

I had the privilege to be asked to photograph one of Boston's most popular news anchors, Maria Stephanos. New photos were needed to go out with the announcement of her new anchor position at WCVB.

Maria was a delight to work with. She is kind, down to Earth and has incredible integrity and passion toward her work. I wish her the best of luck in her new endeavor.

Over the last couple of years, I've been experimenting with photography and keeping things close to the chest. I still feel I am learning about the process of working in photography and also, thinking about whether or not I should work in it a little more seriously. I love doing portraits so this is right up my alley. The Kim Boekbinder shoot was much more creative compared to this but that makes sense considering what this shoot was for.

I have plenty to keep me busy with illustration work so it's difficult to put the amount of time I want to into it but whenever I get a free moment, I pull out the camera and go for it.

I have other photo-based projects I am working on and I am excited to see where it goes. Now, back to painting....

MariaStephanos03.jpg
Behind the scenes in the studio.

Behind the scenes in the studio.

Sterilization

A personal piece on sterilization inspired by some stuff I read/saw recently. Years ago in California doctors sterilized immigrant patients after giving birth. Often, the women were hispanic and forced to sign off on it during labor or the actual birth while in severe pain and in many cases because they didn't speak English, they had no idea what they were signing.