Archive for the ‘Editorial‘ category

 
 

Casemate Magazine: spécial Charlie

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I had the honour of contributing to a special edition of Casemate, a French magazine covering bandes dessinées (comics). This edition is a “spécial Charlie”, under the patronage of the Angoulême International Comics Festival, in tribute to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting and surrounding attacks in Paris.

277 comic books artists submitted illustrations, a selection of which were printed in the 32 page edition available in Angoulême.

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Cover illustrations by Asaf Hanuka and Didier Tarquin. Copyright reserved to Casemate BD and respective artists.

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Interior page. Copyright reserved to Casemate BD and respective artists.

In recent years, I have publically expressed my skepticism toward the trend for artists to frantically react to current events and flood the Internet with images. At worse, I am concerned that visual artists race to claim and trademark the “official image” of a tragedy (e.g. the disaster in the Tōhoku region of Japan). For this reason, I did not rush to post a “reaction” on the day of the Charlie Hebdo shooting. However, the heart of this matter is iconoclasm, self-censorship and the protection of freedom of speech in France, specifically as applied within my trade. I believe that this is a noble, crucial and vital cause. I would like to thank Casemate for its endeavor and to pay my respects to the victims of these recent events in my hometown of Paris.

Moved by Gondry – An Article in XYZ Magazine

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I have recently written and illustrated an article for XYZ Magazine, the Rhode Island School of Design’s quarterly publication, about director Michel Gondry’s visit and lecture to the school in October 2013. Special thanks to editor Liisa Silander and her staff.

Moved by Gondry

“Symbols, rock and roll, a black dog, stairways and drums. These elements may spontaneously evoke Led Zeppelin’s fourth album, yet were the ingredients of French director Michel Gondry’s screening and lecture at the RISD Auditorium on a warm October evening.

Not surprisingly for a man who has been 12 years old forever (sic), he appears youthful and speaks with a gentle voice, which belies the strong will and exceptional artistry evident in such memorable films as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep, along with music videos for Björk, Daft Punk and The Chemical Brothers, among others.

Though Gondry’s English may seem hesitant, it is clear that he plays with words and embraces misinterpretation at will, bending language and allowing it to amuse, defuse or enlighten. In his exchanges with students, this ability enables him to offer precise answers to convoluted questions—utilizing what might appear to be a limitation as a means of achieving clarity.”

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“Following the projection of four seminal music videos, Gondry casually shared a conviction which, I believe, can resonate with all artists. Halfway through the clip for The White Stripes’ single “The Hardest Button to Button”, the music is reduced to a monotonous bass drum beat, with sparse and occasional guitar notes. Gondry revealed that this breakdown, in his mind, was “the most boring” part of the song and that he asked the band if they might consider editing out the sequence for the sake of the video. Upon their refusal, Gondry committed to using his very best idea for this section, to compensate for the weakness of the original material.

For 21 captivating seconds, the band members travel in crossing sinusoidal paths in and out of a train and adjoining platform, in a pas de deux defying time and space. Gondry highlighted this problematic sequence as an example of a “black dog” (an amusing malapropism for the idiom “black sheep”, all the more unexpected and stimulating to the imagination since the French equivalent, “mouton noir”, is a sheep metaphor as well), the idea which is promptly discarded, dismissed upon initial impulse. Gondry likes to return to the garbage bin to retrieve this rejected idea, and believes that, with additional care as that which one would confer upon a troubled child, one eventually accomplishes the best creations. This resolve to transcend and sublimate apparent limitations, through inventiveness, refinement and persistence, is a defining feature of the creative spirit.”

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“Lights then dimmed for the only second-ever screening of Gondry’s latest film, Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?, a hand-drawn animated documentary of a series of conversations with Noam Chomsky—recorded over a two-year period between 2010 and 2012—focused on linguistics, science, religion and life. Gondry’s flowing line drawings and cycle animations complement the spoken words as Chomsky jumps from theme to theme and hits notes at times edifying, contemplative or poignant.

By design Gondry modestly allows his own use of English to insert moments of humor or misunderstanding, adding his personal touch and contributing to Chomsky’s stories. The moment of truth in the film—and the theory that motivated Gondry to make it—is a sequence in which Chomsky speaks of a leap forward—a mysterious event, possibly 100,000 years ago, which the erudite man marks as an evolutionary turning point. An unidentified phenomenon—presumably, an individual’s sudden discovery and mastery of language—both accelerated the development of civilization and forever altered our common destiny, introducing the ability of humans to communicate complex thoughts and ideas with one another, and thereby to plan and further develop.

Given its sophisticated modalities and strong appeal to all the senses, Gondry and Chomsky’s meandering conversation—so imaginatively documented in this new film—is the direct descendent of this phenomenon. Continuing in the long evolutionary line of language and communication, it is a poetic embodiment of human expression. Tall or short, every witness of this exchange must have left the auditorium happy.”

The Death of Neil Armstrong

A year ago today, astronaut Neil Armstrong passed away at age 82. In days following this sad news, I gave my Illustration Concepts course’s students the assignment to create an editorial illustration about this event. As we discussed various ideas and possibilities for this assignment, I felt compelled to create an illustration myself, displayed below.

Death of Neil Armstrong

I had a surreal vision of an American flag half-mast, in a silent, quiet display of respect for the fallen astronaut. I also drew a variant, with bouquets and flowers slowly floating due to the moon’s gravity, which contribute to the supernatural atmosphere of the image. However, I feel as though the added iconography may detract from the effect of the half-mast.

Death of Neil Armstrong

Pen and Ink, 2013

2013, Year of the Snake

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“2013 Year of the Snake”
Graphite and digital painting, 35.6 cm × 43.2 cm (14 ″ × 17 ″), 2013
Quetzalcoatl, Ouroboros, Caduceus and the Garden of Eden serpent.

New York Times illustration

I was honoured to be commissioned by The New York Times for an illustration, published in today’s Sunday Business section. Many thanks to art director Minh.

The Enchanted Letterpress


I have recently created an illustration depicting an enchanted letterpress workshop, where the presses and power tools come to life at night. While the full illustration can be viewed here on my portfolio, I thought I would reveal some close ups of details that I enjoyed devising for this piece.

I took the opportunity to subtly insert a number of favourite covers, writers or subjects on the dancing sheets of paper which are shot out of the enchanted presses: Euclid’s Elements, Edgar Allan Poe, Sherlock Holmes, the Book of Changes, Titanic newspaper announcement.

Adolphe Mouron Cassandre’s legendary poster L’Atlantique, Méliès’ Le Voyage dans la Lune.

Scattered pages of Euclid’s Elements, Da Vinci drawings and imaginary anatomical illustrations.

A special guest, the studio cat.

New illustration for Plan Adviser

Micro Giants

I was commissioned by PLAN ADVISER‘s art director SooJin Buzelli to create an illustration for the “microscope” feature of their November – December 2010 Issue. I chose to limn blossoming city-flowers to illustrate the article “Micro Giants”, which investigates the new frontier in the small- to micro-plan market.

The illustration is a pencil drawing which I digitally coloured:

Micro Giants pencil drawing