The Trouble With Conan – BusinessWeek

April 8, 2010

I was commissioned by BusinessWeek to create this full page illustration for an article about Conan O’Brien.  As he nears his return to television, he’s lined up to score a big payday as new networks are bidding for him.  But writers Ronald Grover and Andy Fixmer report that he may not be the guaranteed success that might be expected.

The last time America saw Conan O’Brien, the red-haired, late-night talk show host was riffing on an electric guitar as comedian Will Ferrell donned a shoulder-length blond wig to screech his way through the Lynyrd Skynyrd song Freebird. As final shows go it was an appropriately wacky end to NBC’s high-profile firing of O’Brien from The Tonight Show. Celebrities denounced NBC. Pro “Coco” fans demonstrated outside the studio.

So you’d think landing another major TV gig would be a snap, right? Actually, no.

It’s a good thing I’ve been painting digitally lately, as Art Director Patty Alvarez emailed me at 8pm before the morning of the deadline to break the news that Coco has been sporting a beard again, so I had to add that in at the last minute.  But all told, this was one of the more enjoyable projects I’ve worked on in a while. I hope I can do more for BW.

Here’s the one with the beard:

And this is an early sketch, before I zeroed in on what Patty was looking for:



April 8, 2010

I don’t know why I keep choosing to paint people I despise, but Glenn Beck is probably the worst of them.  This one is also for the series on fearmongers for Mammal.  It shows him goading the Tea Party all the way to his own personal fortune.

Idiot Wind

April 8, 2010

I knew I wanted to do an illustration of Sarah Palin for the FEAR issue of MAMMAL, but I was having a hard time coming up with how I was going to do it.  I did some really bad sketches of her driving a pickup-truck-bomb heading towards the white house, but that just seemed forced and trite.  Stumped, until a friend wrote an unrelated tweet about this Bob Dylan song, the spark was lit, and I knew exactly how I wanted to paint her.

First two pieces for MAMMAL 2010.

April 8, 2010

These two pieces are for the upcoming issue of MAMMAL coming out later this year.  The theme for this one is FEAR, so I decided to do a series of portraits of fearmongers.  I actually did these a while ago, but since I’m trying out this blog thing, I figured I’d put them up here.  Rush made news with his comments of “I hope the white house fails,” and I was driven to do the O’Reilly piece after his repeated “Dr. Tiller the baby-killer” provocations were inevitably acted upon.

Cover Illustration for The Capitol

April 8, 2010

The Capitol is a newspaper focusing on New York State politics, and they asked me to do the cover of their annual Budget Preview issue.  I’m afraid I wasn’t familiar with three of the four figures in this illustration, but Art Director Mitchell Hoffman did a good job filling me in.

This project went extremely smoothly, which was pretty welcoming since their budget was smaller than I hoped.  The sketch was approved with only a small change of switching the heads of Patterson and Silver.  Here’s the sketch:

We got hitched.

April 8, 2010

For our recent wedding, I designed the invitations and did a painting of us for our Save the Date cards.  When I started with the painting, I was looking to do a sort of  Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan-esque portrait of us in Brooklyn.  The invitation below was letterpressed by the lovely people at Lion in the Sun in Brooklyn.