Hypnotic holographic cover design by Chip Kidd on the left, and my piece on the right (sadly, the only illustration that appears in the issue).
Right after I got back from Sydney, Joe Newton from Rollingstone sent me an email about doing an illustration that would appear in their 40th Anniversary issue. He promised that I'd have a bit more freedom this time around (last illo I did for Rollingstone was a group portrait of System of a Down, but some ornamentation I had created for the piece was vetoed), and the piece didn't have to be a literal portrait. I'm not sure why, but I said 'yes' without realizing that this would be my third portrait of Trent Reznor. (Portrait 1
and portrait 2
). Also, it would be the first editorial illustration I had accepted in months, and possibly the last. >
Thumbnail Sketches, approx. 3 x 3.5" each.
With some help from Joe, I researched the viral marketing campaign for the album, which was based on a futuristic narrative of mass hallucinations, government conspiracies, and impending apocalypse. I was cheering for sketch B, but inevitably, concerns about the likeness arose. Also, I was asked to explain the imagery: the eagle, representing the nefarious U.S. government surveillance of its own citizens, is intercepting a wire sent from the sky (divine inspiration or truth) that's feeding into Trent's 'ear piece'. The shadow hands come from the 'hand of god' imagery used throughout the viral campaign, which foretells a mass hallucination of a giant hand descending from the sky possibly triggered by a doped up water supply.>
Acrylic on Rives BFK, 15 x 18".
The piece only took an afternoon to paint; I was surprised at how quickly it was done, though it would require more work in photoshop.>
Final, Photoshop CS2, 6.7 x 8.2", 450 dpi.
I pushed the palette towards something more patriotic, heightening the red, white and blue. Some color dodging brought out details in the sky, and a soft light gradient of orange injected some life to Trent's otherwise pallid flesh. The whole process, from initial contact to submittal of the invoice, took 9 days. Afterward, I got a couple of emails from Joe telling me that everyone at the magazine loved the illustration, which meant more to me than the fee itself.
I'll be going to Buenos Aires for the first time in the beginning of June to celebrate the nuptials of the fantastic artist Fernanda Cohen
. We had a printmaking class together in art school, and it's amazing to see how well she's done since then. I'm also looking forward to filling my sketchbook with drawings of the city and its people.