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This is my latest piece for my regular "column" with Varoom Magazine. The theme for this issue is "Next", which is one of my least favourite subjects these days, as it's been on my mind. So I created a piece that shows the direction that some of my work is taking, with bold, unusual layouts, and mixed media. Then I wrote a small diatribe about my fears of the subject of "next" and printed them in tiny type in the design.
With this issue, Varoom went to a tabloid size, and as this is on a double-page spread, it's quite large.
This detail shows my true feelings about "next" with "I DON'T KNOW", which i embellished onto a fan with nail polish.
Another detail which almost—almost!—shows the type.
In this, the 2nd of my regular "column" for the UK Illustration magazine, Varoom, the theme was "Knowledge". So I decided to create a map which refers somewhat to the "known" beyond which lie monsters.
I had a lot of fun making this ...
It's fun to give directions on the map. There are places of elation and places of despair.
All sorts of destinations and paths we end up in in the pursuit of knowledge.
Including Brain Town ...
This was typeset in the font Absara by Xavier Dupré.
The excellent UK illustration magazine Varoom has asked me to do a regular gig for them. Starting in November 2010, in each issue (only 3 per year, sadly) I will do something on the issue theme, whatever that might be. This first one is on "relationships".
It shows levels of relationships, intertwined, because of course it's never so clear. But it starts at the top with "unconditionally loved" and goes through various relationships to the bottom with "passionately detested". Then on the left is listed "real" relationships, from "child" to "nemesis", and on the right are the "imagined" relationships which goes from "god" down to the merely known or those who are the furthest from us, the "unknown".
Above is how it printed. Below is the original pencil drawing (bad scan).
Can't wait for the next one!
For the New York Times Week in Review, I created this illustration as a response to the following summary:
“In many ways Ringo turning 70 and celebrating by playing radio city is exactly the kind of counterpoint that gerontologists like Robert Butler, who died this week, dreamed of when they first talked about “ageism” forty years ago. It shows the world that elderly people can be creative, vibrant, active. At the same time, the pressure is increased, which Butler also talked about: to “successfully age,” we think we have to be active. The stories we hear are at two poles, it’s either early onset Alzheimers or the skydiving 92 year old. The pressure is particularly acute in the 70s, which is now thought of as the time just after you retire. In fact, life expectancy is still in the 70s.”
And a closer look …
This illustration was made to accompany an article in The New York Times about the word “So”. Picking up from this line in the article:
And “so” suggested a kind of thinking that appealed to problem-solving types: conversation as a logical, unidirectional process, proceeding much in the way of software code — if this, then that.
I decided to create a pattern out of the words “IF THEN” and then pick “So” out of that pattern.
For New York Magazine’s end of decade issue, Chris Dixon asked me to create a full page illustration of the words “The 00s” with the most emphasis on the 00 part. Other people were creating title pages as well, and they would be distributed throughout the magazine to separate the sections.
This piece is officially dedicated to Henrik Kubel, for giving me the idea of working in foil. This assignment conveniently came up shortly thereafter and I was overjoyed with the results. Depending on how I shot it, it reflected colours, had different hues, and was just generally all-round pretty.
This is the one I chose in the end for the mag, because they wanted it to be “punchy.”
However … as it turns out, editorial ran over and many of the title pages didn’t run. Well … it did, as a 1×1.5-inch thumbnail on the contents page.
This time, I was invited, along with 10 other designers (including Milton Glaser, Louise Fili, Neville Brody, Chip Kidd, among others) to design one of 10 special covers for GQ Italia’s 10th anniversary issue.
Of all the things I’ve done recently, this is my favourite. It’s structured, manly yet pretty, n’est-ce pas?
(printed in CMYK + silver)
My good friend Brian Morgan called in a favour to get me to do this cover for The Walrus. I then worked with Kelsey Blackwell toward the final.
They wanted me to illustrate the words “We’re Sorry” relating to a story about the Canadian propensity to apologize, and the troubles that ensue from public apologies for past national crimes. I had hoped to trick them into letting me draw snakes, but just as I was relishing the prospect of a triumphant coup in getting snakes on the cover of a magazine, they nixed that idea. Disappointed but not surprised, I switched to string … or the entanglement of yarn. I don’t think Brian thought I was serious when I suggested a fluffy kitten to go with it, but I was! Alas, no snakes, no kittens.
However, I quite like the way, from a distance this looks like some gruesome viscera … but on closer inspection it reveals itself to be only harmless, friendly yarn.
Mark Shaw from VIBE called me up and asked me if I’d like to do something in glitter. How could I possibly say no?
This appears in the 15th Anniversary issue of VIBE, for an article on JayZ.
Mark mailed me about 3 pounds of glitter of a few different kinds. and I made this the same way I did the Sugar series for Stefan Sagmeister.
It was incredibly difficult to photograph.
I have about 2.95 pounds of glitter left, and little sparkles all over the house, which I expect to still be finding in 2020.
I’ll post a shot of it in the magazine spread when I have it in hand.
NO. I have to tell you right now, that NO, I will not recreate this for your romance novel, Love article, lingerie store, etc. Sorry.
Michael Biedowicz approached me from Zeit Leben, the magazine of the German newspaper Zeit to do an illustration for an article on mistresses. As well he wanted 2 illustrations for the magazine cover: two, because they do a double cover on every issue: one image on the front, and another related, but different on the first page.
The 2 covers were to say “Er will mich” and “Er will mich nicht” (He loves me / He loves me not) to show the love and the pain of being a mistress.
This was interesting to me because it was not purely romantic, and I wanted to see how I could use basically the same curving forms to create something that was soft and lovely, or sharp and spikey: petals and thorns.
Then, for “Die geliebte” (The mistress) I was able to combine the two.
And yes, it is quite lovely in the end.
Magazine Covers & Spread
Working with the lovely Scott Dadich at Wired, I created this title for an article on “The End of Theory,” for the current issue (July, I guess). It’s pretty fine, and hard to see.
But here’s a detail:
And here’s how it ran in the mag:
These three oil paintings were made for issue #11 of The Creator Studio from Barcelona, published in March 2008. The theme was “Rituals” and they asked me to address the “full moon.” So I thought of “A spell”, “an incantation” and “a curse.”
Amusingly, on their website it says “Canadian artist Marian Bantjes toyed with the idea of casting a spell up to the full moon, using it to conquer the man responsible for her restlessness.” I really don’t recall ever saying that or having that in mind. But honestly, if I’d’a thought it would have WORKED, I certainly would have done so!
November 2007 / March 2008
This was the title page for a New York Times Magazine article on extreme fighting.
This is not, ultimately, what was used for an article in Fortune magazine. Only a tiny portion was used. It’s made of dirt.
Working once again with TJ Tucker, Art Director at Texas Monthly, I created this custom “February” banner for the Contents page.
Below are options that TJ and I both preferred, but, alas …
This is a little spot illustration for a review of the film Beowulf (and The Golden Compass) in the Jan 13, 2008 issue of The New York Times Books. The review talks about the reinvention of this Old English poem, so of course a little reinvented Textura and a little play on the word resulted in my own interpretation: “neowulf.”
Richard Turley is maybe my favourite Art Director. Another great—if I do say so myself—cover for The Guardian’s G2. This ran on December 24, 2007.
An illustration for Michael McCormick at Philadelphia magazine. I did a few different colour options, and I’m not sure which one they ran. Probably a blue one, or blue and black (not shown), but not, unfortunately, the multi-coloured one, which I prefer.
This is an illustration I did for the Yale Alumni Magazine. It’s not as convoluted as I had hoped or intended it to be, but the weirder it gets the more illegible it gets. I would consider this a prototype.
I made this for the cover of Superinteressante magazine, out of Brazil (Adriano Sambugaro, Art Director). It’s about the power of positive thinking, made of little plus signs and happy all over.
I’m a litle late getting this one out. If you want it you’d better hurry, as it’s in the June Issue of WIRED … the one with all the rockets on the cover (a cover I love BTW).
I did these border thingies for Scott Dadich at WIRED. It’s for an article on a company making retro-futuristic archival ray guns. Cool.
The Fader magazine asked me to do a diagram of Jerry Garcia’s influences, contemporaries and influenced. Now I’m no Deadhead, and I’m not responsible for the content of this, only the look, so if you’ve got complaints (as I would imagine Garcia fans would), don’t come cryin’ to me.
This is in issue #46, and you can’t mistake it, it’s got a big photo of Jerry Garcia on the cover.
The folks at The Fader liked this well enough to decide to print a 7-colour silkscreened poster of it.
This is on p. 129 of the May ‘07 issue of Wired. I have something in the June issue too, coming up.
This was a piece I did for Computer Arts magazine out of Britain. The final piece has text in all of the blank areas, but I don’t have a copy.
This illustration is in the January 2007 issue of SEED Magazine. And it’s no ordinary mouse, oh no. It’s a complex scientific illustration. I was asked to create artwork to go with an article on genetics about the effects of something called interfering RNA, which affects DNA and how it carries genetic information. It took me a while to get my head around the article.
The scientist, Minoo Rassoulzadegan, worked with the Kit gene where mice with a mutant Kit gene had white paws and tail tips. And, in the offspring of mice with 1 mutant Kit gene + 1 normal kit gene were mice with 2 normal kit genes, the offspring of those normal mice still sometimes showed the effects of the mutant gene, even though they didn’t have the mutant gene. She went on to prove, by injecting micro RNA into the embryos, that it was this interfering RNA that was carrying the genetic material of the mutant gene.
I was thinking about generations of mice, and the effect of the kit gene on the generations: this is what led me into a kind of pattern. But it’s a variable pattern due to the various outcomes of breeding and the interference of the RNA. So the pattern becomes like a diagram of the results:
And of course it all takes the shape of a mouse with white feet and tail tip!
The Dec. 2 2006 issue of the New York Times Books. Here’s my cover:
Knitting in vector art is way harder than you’d expect, by the way, and takes a surprising amount of computer fire-power.
Here’s some titling inside (tho the scarf got changed to b&w):
And here’s the cover version that never made it, with a deer, a pug and a moth:
With thanks to Nicholas Blechman and special thanks to Steve Heller.
I’m not sure how obvious of an atheist I am, but this isn’t the first time I’ve been approached to illustrate things of a decidedly non-religious nature … and I always wonder how do they know?
It’s actually an interesting article about the “New Atheists,” and I urge you to rush out and buy the issue.
Title page & illustrations
Garret Yankou at InStyle hired me to create borders for a feature in their Wedding issue, titled “Bridal Looks for every budget.” I decided to create custom hand-drawn lace for the borders and headings.
Five magazine illustrations
I was thrilled to death to be asked to do the cover for Print, as well as given [almost] free reign over eight interior pages. Actually, both came from the content I was given to work with for the interior: predictions of the future of graphic design as made by designers 40 and 50 years ago.
The predictions ranged from the wacky to the remarkably prescient, and as one can imagine they focussed quite a bit on technology. When thinking about technology then and technology now, I decided that one of the few things we’re still using are little wires. Those fine, coloured wires that make a nice, colourful line.
But I wanted to add an element of humanity for the fallibility of predictions, and so came the little hands, which then started doing things related to the text.
For the text itself I chose a typeface I felt evoked the 50s & 60s in Poster Bodoni Bold; and broke yet another of my own typographic rules never to use a display face for text, by choosing StormType’s Rondka: a quirkly little number evocative of all the mistakes humans make.
The display text is custom.
With thanks to Joyce Rutter Kaye, and Kristina DiMatteo.
And special thanks to Debbie Millman for hosting the fabulous New York party in honour of the issue, with 80 people turning out. I wish I had more pictures but I was too busy having fun. (Pictured, Kristina & Joyce, about to eat their words.)
Cover and 8 pages interior
This was a title page for an article in ESPN Magazine on football player, Larry Johnson. Alas, due to a last minute editorial change—over which I have been assured that the Art Department emerged bloody and bruised—this piece did not run.
Pity. I think Larry would have liked it.
[Unpublished] Title Page