Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Two Types of Work

The two pieces above represent two different approaches to illustration assignments. The first, a piece done for the National Urban League about the shooting of Amadou Diallo by the New York City police department was an attempt to capture the aftermath of his murder, with shell casings counted and numbered. The shear number of bullets fired at Amadou Diallo is frightening, and I wanted to portray this by numbering the shells. I was trying to find a way to show the blood and bullet holes without showing his body mutilated by bullets. It is not a straight portrait, in fact I purposely kept his face hidden, partially to show how the police treated him, and stereotyped him and also to show that this could be anyone laying there, that this is not a unique event and the result of abused power.

The second piece, done a few years earlier for Salon Magazine was for an article titled, "Sensual Food." I had this great photo of a friend eating oysters, and thought it was the perfect image for the piece. Any sexual innuendoes are intentional. It just looks like she is really enjoying the pleasure of eating. I think the article may have had a sub-heading of, "The Pleasures Oral."

Beyond content differences, the pieces were made with completely different approaches. The first was drawn and painted in watercolor, ink and acrylic, then scanned with shells and numbers added in Photoshop. The second began as a photo, then was scanned and combined with other elements in Photoshop. I think in the original shot the fork was not there, so I added that.

My thoughts on illustration at the time I did these was that anything goes that will solve for X. I would rather make the images with the content in mind than worry about having them fit a style.

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