Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Earth Day - Illustrations

The illustrations for Earth Day, the 19th story in The Book of Bartholomew were created by Matt Wells.  Matt is a Minneapolis-based artist who has created many album covers for local bands and is a member of the art group Rogue Citizen.  He also has been a previous artist for The Book of Bartholomew.  He has illustrated story #2: Gerald Teaches a Life Lesson and #8 Ned the Giant.

Since, up to this point, Matt has been the only one to create an image of Ned, he is the resident Ned-expert.  Here, Ned appears with a hat on and his dreds hanging down.   In the story, Ned and Claire ride their bikes to the Earth Day Celebration in their town.  Just as Matt has illustrated here, Ned and Claire both take risks by dating each other and by riding their bikes without helmets.  This is an image that I think all too graphically  exposes the relationship for what it is: dangerous and irresponsible. For this reason  alone, I do not recommend this story for impressionable young readers. In fact, if you are under the age of eighteen, it is recommended that you change the page by clicking on this link.

Matt is collecting a series of background textures.  The ones used in these pieces are from wallpaper.  Matt is a veritable genius with his loose ink style.  There is so much movement, even the ink strokes feel in motion. Then when you add the layering of color and background pattern the piece melds into an image of energy.  This style meshes well with the story itself, a layering of action and counter-action between Mayor Dick and Claire... and birds.

I have greatly enjoyed working with Matt on these three stories he has illustrated.  I find his work insightful, professional and just enjoyable to look at.  Ned the Giant still cracks me up when I look at it.  And check out his group, Rogue Citizen.  This foursome do live paintings at concerts and other events around town.  Their exhibit last year was about the U. S. prison system.  At the end of the exhibit, any piece not purchased was executed - literally, they were destroyed - usually with an axe.

You can check out more about Matt at his website:

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