May 21, 2010

The New Yorker

Ever look at a New Yorker cover and wonder where the idea came from, and how it came about? I did… a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, before I was an agent. I’d be sitting in my doctor’s office nervously awaiting my appointment and recent copies of The New Yorker would be stacked up on the waiting room table. (Not to digress but has anybody ever finished a New Yorker article in a doctor’s office?)

Anyway, back to the subject. I was always curious about the origin of these wonderful artworks that had a certain surrealistic quality and, more often than not, had nothing to do with the content inside of the magazine. They were always most intriguing and it seemed that the cover artists never ran out of provocative pieces.

Years later, Eric Drooker joined our group with a plethora of New Yorker covers in his portfolio. It was fascinating to learn that all of his ideas were presented cold as concepts directly to the Art Editor, Fran├žoise Mouly. Some made it, some didn’t. But with over 30 covers since 1994, he certainly has hit the target more often than not.

Here you can see his process for a recent cover... I have also included a shot of Eric and the poet Allen Ginsberg. Sure, Eric’s a very talented guy and when he was starting out one of his goals was to see his work on the New Yorker, but that was only a dream… Sometimes dreams come true.

Eric is a third generation New Yorker born and raised on Manhattan Island. He now lives with his family in Berkeley California in addition to his New Yorker pieces he has worked on numerous magazines, books, and CD covers. He is the award-winning author of several books, including “FLOOD! A Novel in Pictures” (1992), “Blood Song: A Silent Ballad” (2002), and “Illuminated Poems” (a collaboration with the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, re-released in 2006). His art hangs in various collections, and has been exhibited internationally.

May 17, 2010

A Bono-Fide Hero

This week's featured illustrator is C.F. Payne

From Floor to Ceiling

Art On A Grand Scale artist Pablo Casacuberta has decorated a hotel room at the Playa Vik Hotel . . . . Read about it in the NY Times.

Cars and Art

While surfing the web recently, it came to my attention that beginning in the 1970s BMW automobiles had the wonderful idea of custom painting various models. They contracted a group of extremely well known contemporary artists to transform the entire body into a work of art. BMW hired the likes of Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Roy Lichtenstein, Ernst Fuchs, and Robert Raushenberg among others. Each artist was tasked to come up with a design that took advantage of his very recognizable signature style, and eventually BMW created their own race series featuring the fabulous M1s, all bodied uniquely.

This got me to thinking about a project we did a few years ago with my artist Rudy Gutierrez. The project was to paint nineteen scavenged VW vans circa 1958 – 1971. Each van was then restored and painted with themes that embodied both surf culture and Mexican flavor. Why, you may ask would an advertising agency go to such trouble? Well their client was a Mexican beer brand named Pacifico, and they hoped that if they had these vans driven and parked strategically at known surfing locations all over the Pacific seaboard, they would have very high visibility. Eventually they moved the vans to various cities all around the United States. It was the equivalent of a moving billboard, but fresher, hipper, and much more unique.

Rudy enjoyed the challenge of designing a three dimensional object. His style is known for it’s flowing nature, which lends itself to working in three dimensions. At the time there was a lot of buzz created with this campaign. It was cost effective for the advertiser and a wonderful showcase for the artist. A key reason for me to create Art on a Grand Scale was to bring art to a large audience in and on large spaces.

I think that painting walls ie: graffiti art and as far back as cave art shows that there’s nothing new in this world, but we need to reinvent ourselves constantly.

May 12, 2010

AI 29 Addendum

Congratulations also to Andrew R Wright, whose refrigerator picture will be displayed online. You can see it now in his gallery.

Corporations Aren't Persons

This week's featured artist is Tim Bower.

Second Thoughts, Chance Meetings

Apologies for the lateness of this blog. Our blog site has been up and down for the past few weeks.

On Sunday, April 11, I attended the MoCCA Festival at the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. This was a huge fundraiser for the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. I was assaulted with a wide array of talent from the world illustration, cartooning, graphic novels, and comics.

In the course of going up and down rows chock a block with booths overflowing with new works by hundreds and hundreds of artists I came upon the Static Fish booth of Pratt Institute manned by my intern, Maritsa Patrinos. We chatted for a time and she pointed me in the direction of several booths featuring Scandinavian artists... really great, inventive stuff. I lingered to talk with Niklas Asker who was signing copies of his new release, Second Thoughts.

Niklas stood out to me because his technique was different and memorable and he has a very strong and individualistic point of view that set him apart from others. I made sure to get his contact information in Sweden and have recently followed up with a 45 minute skype call. The upshot of this chance encounter was that after looking at more samples and our skype conversation we have agreed to begin working together.

It's interesting to note that I didn't have an agenda when I went to MoCCA. Often times I will be at the Society of Illustrators or the Academy of Art in San Francisco or a gallery opening, etc. and something attracts my eye. One never knows where you will meet great talent in this world and I make it a habit to go to as many illustration/art events as I can. I find that when you're looking for a particular style at a particular time, it tends not to work. But if you're just hanging out something may pop up that really talks to you, or an artist may come up to you out of the blue, introduce themselves, begin a conversation and hand you their card. Believe it or not, this happened recently to me, I was at the Society of Illustrators and I was introduced to Jason Seiler by my Art On A Grand Scale artist Herman Mejia. He said to me: this guy is really great, you should see his work. Well, obviously if it's coming from one of my own... I figured of course. Jason took out his iPhone and started scrolling through his online portfolio. I was blown away with his stuff because he was the freshest caricaturist I had seen in a long time. Super tight, but he captured the real essence of the person he was drawing. His George Lucas and Donald Trump were real killers. We began a dialogue, the upshot of this conversation and chance encounter was another edition to our growing group.

It makes you think that fate plays a big role in our lives. Don't stay home!