An Illo for The Observer for one of my favorite writers, Shalom Auslander
So the story of this piece is pretty funny. I was working with Ed Johnson at the New York Observer - nice guy and witty emailer - knowing that I was going to do a piece for this Shalom Auslander story. I love Auslander. I got to know his work from his readings on "This American Life", and I've been reading him ever since. Suffice to say, I was psyched. This is the second of his pieces I've done an illo for, and while I liked the first, I felt it could have been better - not for lack of direction, Scott Dvorin is an absolute ACE! - I just didn't like the choice I made for the finish, and I wanted this one to work. The only problem was . . . . there was no story. I won't share what Auslander shared with me and the AD, but it was pretty vague. But he's a great writer. Him being vague just sent my mind a flutter with ideas. I understood it to be about the election, death, the onset of winter, and a general malaise associated with the fact we're all at least little bit effed with whoever leads this monstrosity we call the USA (pronounced Yoo-sa - BING has sent me notice that for lack of education funding, we're going phonetic or onomatopoeia-ic [thus "bing"] ). So I sent a smattering of sketches dealing with death-ish issues and fall. I sketched an apocalypse now type thing with Auslander as a crazed hunter, a skull and crossbones topiary . . . I was psyched when the wolves were selected. Who are they eating? Bill O'Reilly!! That's just between us and the NYO readers. Ed made a good change and said - "Though lets not make Auslander stand-in bloody at the mouth, maybe just
his hands. Don't think implying cannibalism makes sense w/ story." Very true - and a good call. I responded - "no prob. no
cannibalism after Labor day." Anyway - it was a quick finish, but I'm happy. It's a little morbid, a little comic booky, and quite bit bloody: an illustrators dream.