The January 2011 issue of Harper’s marks my 6th appearance in/on the magazine. This time around, I had the honor (and the challenge) of creating complementary images for THE DRUNK’S CLUB by Clancy Martin. I read and re-read the story 4 times before rendering anything. The first round of samples were to0 literal in relation to the text. After being reminded that literal is not always the best (or expected) approach with Harper’s, I read the copy again and chose to focus on what AA is and does by using contrasting visuals that point to why the organization exists.
As I worked on this, some very dark memories from my childhood bubbled to the surface. This opened my eyes to the fact that the success of this commission was not only riding on my getting it right without being cliche. I had the added responsibility of doing it without being deprecating or biased. Read the story and decide for yourself. It’s a very powerful and often-times raw account of Martin’s experience.
I’ll offer commentary on these ‘behind-the-scenes’ images and post the original illustrations once the issue is out of circulation.
Happy New Year.
Footnote: I would be remiss if I didn’t thank my new friends Pam and Dick at Black River Books in South Haven, MI — my tried-and-true go-to place for source materials. In addition to this project, books that I’ve from there have appeared in images for O Magazine, Hemisphere’s (in-flight magazine for United) and Field & Stream.