Money Is Time for Andrew Rae and The New York Times Magazine
Money is a tough subject that makes a lot of people uncomfortable, and for good reason! Economics is complex with a myriad of rules at every level, and on top of that money is something we all need. Everyone needs to plan for retirement even if we don’t understand the laws that govern that section of the economy. Trade agreements eventually affect all of us at the register, but when they’re in debate they’re too dense for most people to understand. There’s a sense to it all and it seems like most of us are written out of the conversation. But that’s something that The New York Times Magazine is working to fix and they’ve asked Andrew Rae to help them do it. In their ongoing collaborative series, On Money, Andrew provides two drawings for each of these pieces and he uses the opportunity to expand his own understanding. “Economics is so complex and confusing and I’ve enjoyed being pushed to try to get my head round some of these ideas,” says Andrew. “There's always a way of making these drawings entertaining cause it’s such a bit scary subject that affects us all. I enjoy making work about a subject that actually matters and effects people.”
When Andrew was first approached by the Times to work on this project, he was happy to take it and gave the newspaper two options for what he thought his illustration could be. The Times liked both of them, so since then he’s had to continue offering two illustrations instead of just one. It’s twice the work but he’s found that it actually helps him tell a richer story. “It’s not always easy but it’s interesting how you can make them work together, for instance creating a narrative between the two images or using the second image to expand on the idea in the first,” says Andrew. “I enjoy the challenge.” Instead of condensing the entire message of a piece into a single image, Andrew gets to create a visual conversation that explores the topics from multiple angles.
His latest with the Times was for a piece entitled “Has Wall Street Been Tamed?” that explored how the aftermath of The Great Recession has changed our banking system. The thesis of the piece is that Wall Street really has changed, really is being better regulated but Andrew wanted to show them out of control. “It was about banking regulations which sounds very dry but when you think about the fact that the bankers caused a global meltdown it’s clear that it’s important,” says Andrew. “I thought about the banks as these big faceless scary organizations and then it was clear to me that I should show the bank as a giant robot attacking people.” The corner that Andrew had painted himself into requiring him to create two illustrations per piece is now working in his favor: he can create amazing (and hilarious) imagery and tell the story that needs to be told at the same time. This is what it looks like when an artist does great work.