Not too long ago, I created an Illustration (see below) for New York Spirit for an article called “Life and Death and Food”. It was a very personal piece by an author whose husband had recently passed away, and who was now reflecting on the cycle of life and death, and how it applied to her main passion: food.
Because of the intense personal angle of the article, and because I had been given full creative freedom on the Illustration, I decided to create sort of a tribute to the author in her difficult time, while trying to depict the reverent tone of the article. Unfortunately, the author ended up feeling less than comfortable with her appearance in the Illustration, so the Art Director asked me to work up another idea. Rather than simply replace the author’s face with someone else and call it a day, I decided to start fresh and try to approach the piece from another angle.
It’s not easy to illustrate the same article twice, but I eventually settled on the concept of a personal altar of sorts to the concept of Life, Death, and Food. To do so, I included various visual cues to relate to all of these topics, some hinted at by the article, and some personal only to me.
(For those interested, the sculpture in the altar is Chicomecoatl, the Aztec goddess of agricultural fertility, nourishment, etc.)
All in all, I like the new altar piece more than the original portrait, and had more fun doing it, so I’m glad I went the extra mile on this one.