• 7.17.19 Nathan Fox Illustrates Cory Booker for Politico

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    In his latest collaboration with Politico Magazine, illustrator Nathan Fox took United States Senator Cory Booker and raised him to super-human status for a non-fiction comic strip. Finding his passion for cartoons and graphic novels at an early age, Nathan is no stranger to creating comic strips. “Cory Booker is a real-life figure who is just as flawed and fantastic as fictional heroes. People have a very interesting and exciting and rich and very dramatic past, so the story was there. I wanted to find a balance between a real figure as well as somebody who kind of has that charisma and aspiration of something fictional, beyond human. A lot of elements in his opening image are directly relevant to the story: the Newark skyline, dog leash, and shovel,” explained Nathan. Politico first reached out to Nathan before Christmas, with the hopes of creating a comic strip to be debuted in print in the New Year, before Cory announced his candidacy for the 2020 Presidency. When Politico decided to go digital, that meant that Nathan would not only be switching mediums, and figuring out the in’s and out’s of a digital comic, but that the original 6-page comic strip could be extended to an infinite scroll. “That's when we started pushing the format, trying to use the right space and infinite scroll aspect of a mobile device. We were able to expand the story, so it was much more in-depth. It definitely went from what would have been a text-heavy, dense comic to a bit more of a fluid and organic showing of the legend of Cory booker, digitally,” explained the illustrator. While the illustrator enjoyed comics in his own childhood, he didn’t always feel a connection to the classic narrative of larger than life superheroes. “It was hard to believe in superheroes in my childhood because they weren’t real. I never really latched onto them. I was initially interested in the visual storytelling in a bit more of an Indiana Jones or Robin Hood direction. There’s something that’s more tangible with real people doing extraordinary things.” Inspired by the character and heroism of real people, Nathan brings a feeling of tangible authenticity to his illustrations. “One of the challenges was adding in real quotes and not fictional ones. We didn’t want to go too far into dramatizing his story. We tried to stick with reality. It was a real challenge not to go too far into fiction and over dramatization of his life, ‘cause it's much easier to do that. This account is as close to what really happened as what we could possibly get.”
  • 7.9.19 We Are The Rhoads Bring the Sunshine to Tod’s

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    In their latest campaign with Tod’s, photographers We Are The Rhoads wanted to capture the latest designs of the season on a bright sunny day. The only problem was that when the day came, it wasn’t sunny at all. The photo shoot was scheduled to take place outside on a sunny December Los Angeles day, and slated to debut for the Spring season. The objective of the campaign was to not only show the collection, focusing on an aesthetic similar to a hot summer day in Italy but also to capture an authentic and honest narrative that The Rhoads are known for. Although it’s shown in the final result, the sun didn’t actually shine on the shooting day. Instead, it rained the entire week.   Despite several locations ready to go for the campaign, a last-minute weather change forced the shoot to move inside of a studio. Agile and dedicated to the aesthetic, The Rhoads were able to construct a new a set, replicating the natural beauty of a sunny day, all in the 24 hours before the models arrived. “It was pretty intense to change an entire shoot from being outdoors to indoors and creating light, sunlight and all that, inside a dark room. It was a big warehouse. The biggest warehouse in LA,” said Sarah of The Rhoads. Without design, without artistry, and without equipment, a studio is just a dark empty room. The Rhoads and their team were able to take that clean slate and turn it into a look that was everything they needed to be.   The result is a series of images that live in the light. As creative masters of their craft, The Rhoads created sunlight in a studio setting where there wasn’t any, resulting in natural shading, with true shadows of artificial trees throughout the imagery. Despite the weather and last-minute changes, the photography pair were able to capture the effortless chic spirit of the Tod’s collection in their signature authentic style, despite the most challenging of circumstances.          
  • 7.15.19 Alexandra Gavillet Covers Comedy for The Hollywood Reporter

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    In her latest cover stories with The Hollywood Reporter, photographer Alexandra Gavillet did not stop laughing on set with Trevor Noah and the Queens of Comedy as she captured their essence in larger than life scenes with extravagant backdrops. Working with a mostly female team, the feminine energy was flowing on the set of the Queens of Comedy cover shoot. “I could have watched them interact with each other for hours because they were truly having so much fun with each other. It was so cool to witness everyone genuinely enjoying each other’s company, and taking inspiration from one another. It was such a special project," said Alexandra. During the briefing process for the shoot, Alexandra connected with the set designer to chat about the concept. "We ended up on this Marie Antoinette idea, and we thought it would be really fun to give it a twist. This cover can kind of represent the struggle that most women face every day. Women in comedy, in general, was at first a rarity and that’s partially why all these women are so ground-breaking and inspiring. They’ve broken through and become figures in comedy and comedy has been a space so dominated by male actors. The small space reserved for female comedians and actresses have been typically pinholed in Hollywood,” explained Alexandra. “All these women are now taking up more space, representing and going against the grain of what the typical Hollywood actresses could do. So we decided to take a very prestigious feminine set and put little surprises in there, little Easter eggs, like hamburgers, and funny props that go against the typical, expected, Marie Antoinette aesthetic.” Alexandra was inspired by the energy on set, and the comedians kept the good vibes flowing. Jane Fonda turned herself into a living portrait inside a frame while Tiffany Haddish balancing an apple on her head. “That was Tiffany’s idea, she literally took it and she just put it on her head, and posed. That was totally her idea. And she even balanced it for like a few minutes. She’s amazing.” Following her Queens of Comedy endeavor with The Hollywood Reporter, Alexandra had the opportunity to collaborate with Trevor Noah in another cover story of epic proportions. “We used blow-up globes in the photoshoot that were sourced by the set designer. We had some hanging up with fish wire. We wanted to showcase the theme of this being very much about how Trevor has such a global point of view. People love him because he brings such a worldly view which isn’t always very common in America. It’s his global perspective that attracts so much of us.” “Trevor had a lot of input. You can tell that in all of his work, he obviously has such a strong voice and I think that’s why people love him so much. People gravitate toward him because of his opinions and he carries that through in his everyday life too. I was really just blown away and inspired by how much he genuinely cared and how much input he had creatively, on everything we were working on.”  Music is an important part of Alexandra’s creative process, and luckily her subjects felt the same. Trevor Noah specifically requested Lizzo, one of the photographers favorite. “Jane Fonda liked Ella Fitzgerald and Maya Rudolph, who I love, was like ‘Let’s put on the Homecoming soundtrack!’ She knew every word of the entire sequence. That was really cool as well,” explained Alexandra. “Everyone was so kind. I’ve actually worked with Natasha Lyonne before at a different time in my career, closer to the beginning, so it was funny when she and I saw each other again and were able to share this moment about how far we’ve come in our careers, to be working together again on a project like this!”
  • 7.3.19 Seth Brody’s Sculpture Studio for Christian Siriano

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    Visual artist and production designer Seth Brody created a studio of sculptures for the recent showcase of Christian Siriano’s latest Resort line. The overall aesthetic for the shoot, as well as the collection, was inspired by the sculptures of the Atelier Brancusi from the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France. “Christian was initially inspired by the sculptor Constantin Brancusi and shared some photos of his studio. He showed me the colors and textures of the clothing he was designing and gave me full creative control from there,” explained Seth. “I knew we would be shooting in his new showroom, which was once owned by Faberge, so loading large props in and out of the room had to be done carefully. We had to be mindful of weight and potential damage to the building. I decided to use styrofoam for a lot of the white sculpture’s legs, reinforced with wood in the center and then epoxy coated for durability. I sourced only salvaged styrofoam from Big Reuse, a shop on the Gowanus Canal that saves materials from the landfill and resells them. Other lightweight materials were used as well like salvaged cedar, wood, and pine.” Seth worked on one set of sculptures per week and spent a total of about four weeks on just the initial inspiration - without even the drawings or renderings. “I got so into the project that we had to edit out about 20% of the sculptures because we were limited with space.” While this is the latest collaboration between Seth and Christiano Siriano, it isn’t the first. Seth worked with Christian to design the striking violet sets for his recent Pre-Fall collection with backdrops with hues of lavender and lilac that leave you dreaming of Provence in bloom. “I have been working in this industry for almost 20 years and I must say, working with Christian was a truly unique experience. He is so talented and hands-on when it comes to styling, dressing, moving props. He is very inspiring to work with and a really unique talent. The project was fun, challenging and allowed me to be my best using all types of materials all types of tools and 100% creativity.” 
  • 6.28.19 Jenue Paints the Town Pride

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    B&A illustrator, Jenue, recently collaborated with Time Out Magazine to create cover art that celebrates LGBTQ pride for the month of June. The artist created three unique covers; one for New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Each cover has their respective cityscape in the background with Jenue’s rainbow typography that reads “Paint the Town Pride” on each cover. The typography on each of the three covers are all slightly different in layout and coloring, but maintain the same three dimensional, textured feeling, as if the words were actually painted over the black and white backdrop. Known for using a great deal of color in his work, Time Out asked Jenue to create a colorful, rainbow painted typography for the covers, inspired by one of his recent personal projects. For that personal project as well as this project for Time Out, Jenue utilized a new technique that he discovered by mixing different software, which allows him to create the realistic acrylic paintings seen on these magazine covers. Jenue explains that he has “always been inspired by primary colors and graffiti, and acrylic painting, so I always want to find ways to create things that look real and craft, but in CGI.” These inspirations are seen across Jenue’s work, as well as on the Time Out covers. The main concept of this project was to “Paint the Town.” Jenue explains that this project was a collaborative effort between the Time Out team and himself. “Time Out gave me the photography in black and white, and they wanted me to create paint on top in rainbow colors.” The illustrator took this concept and ran with it by creating rainbow ribbons that tie together the city buildings and typography in a very authentic way, where the colors seem to literally pop off the page.  Of the three different covers, Jenue says the New York design is his favorite. All three covers can be seen in their respective cities this summer in celebration of the city’s LGBTQ communities.
  • 6.24.19 Buff Monster's Wall of Pride

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    Throughout the month of June, cities across the U.S. celebrate the LGBTQ community in various ways. In an exciting new campaign, NYC Pride’s WorldPride Mural Project Initiative, collaborated with production and curation partner, The LISA Project NYC, founding partner, HSBC Bank, and major supporter, Macy’s to participate in the 2019 World Pride celebration. The LISA Project is a non-profit organization, with a mission to unite and support a diverse group of artists in NYC to curate the start of mural art districts throughout the city. 50 local and international artists were selected to create murals across the five boroughs of New York that reflect and honor the beauty, struggle, and strides of the LGBTQIA+ community throughout May and June. B&A Mural Artist, Buff Monster, was among the artists selected to participate in the creation of these murals. “I’m excited to contribute this giant mural to the neighborhood and I’m happy to bring awareness to the struggles and triumphs of the LGBTQ community.” Buff Monster’s giant pride mural was completed near his Manhattan studio on the Lower East Side. Measuring 94 feet wide and 31 feet high, the mural stretches across the entire face of a building on Chrystie Street. Buff Monster is not unfamiliar with working in this space. In 2014, he worked on a different mural with the LISA Project on the same wall that his new mural is painted on. “I’ve always loved this building; there is a park across the street, you can see the mural for blocks away and there is a lot of traffic turning at the mural for the Holland tunnel (outside of which another huge mural of mine is located).” Buff Monster’s mural is the largest of the 50 curated for this initiative across NYC, featuring a “diverse group of characters with various expressions unified by a rainbow; capturing various stages of the struggle and triumph of the LGBTQ community,” explains Buff Monster. The figures of the mural are on brand with Buff Monster’s work, one-eyed, animated, characters. However, rather than each character being their own individual color, which is seen in most of his work, each character is filled in with a rainbow gradient of color. While each of their personal expressions makes them unique, the rainbow gradient unites the characters with the symbol of the World Pride celebration.  When walking past the mural alongside the building, it’s easy to just see the characters one by one. But, when looking at the whole wall with a little more distance, one can see how the expressions of the various characters tell the story Buff Monster intended - both the struggles and triumphs of the LGBTQ community. This mural was a seven-day undertaking and is just a bit smaller than the largest mural Buff Monster has ever worked on. The LISA Project team prepared and prime the wall, Buff Monster then sketched his design and filled it all in with the help of his assistants Amanda and Sam. “I’m very happy to be a part of this historic celebration, especially at a time that we’re divided more than ever. Big thanks to the LISA Project and NYC Pride for all their support, my assistants Amanda and Sam, and of course, Dana Dynamite.”
  • 6.20.19 Joe Pugliese Shoots the World Cup US Women's National Team

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    In his latest story with Eight By Eight Magazine, photographer Joe Pugliese worked with a wishlist editorial and creative director to shine a different light on the Women’s World Cup US National Team. “The editorial we were shooting for was created by Robert Priest, who is a legendary design director.  He and his partner created this design group, Priest & Grace, that does all kinds of advertising. Robert Priest came from magazines and was the design director for GQ, and he just has an amazing eye. He loves soccer so he decided to start his own soccer magazine to marry his passions with his profession, and he’s doing a wonderful job at it. It’s a showcase of his design work and his love for soccer. When he asked me to photograph the U.S. Women’s National Team, I immediately said yes.” The dynamic between photographer and creative director was fluid throughout the project and the collaboration felt natural. “He really let me lead the way on it, it was a total creative collaboration. We were both coming up with ideas and it was really a great collaborative effort. I got to lead the concepts and all the coloring,” explained Joe. “Some of the color changes are for visual relief. I knew this was going to be a sixteen-page portfolio and the idea of every single page being this blast of color or every single color being serene, classic black & white, felt to me like push and pull. I wanted to feel like layers taking on this journey, a dynamic journey, with visual ups and downs.” The photoshoot took place at the Nike Photo Studio in Culver City in California. Nike hosted the launch for the team's uniforms so the shoot, as well as the set, were worked into a traditional press day for the team. “We were working with limited time and space, so I built the set to have the colors all around it. Some blues, some reds, some warm, some neutral. The shape of the lighting could change based on where I put people," said Joe. "These women, especially when they’re in uniform, they’re asked to sort of perform, to dribble a ball, to hold a ball. I made the decision to say I don’t want a soccer ball in this entire portfolio. It’s a soccer magazine. I just wanted their beautiful portraits in there. I think it was sort of a relief to them in many ways to just not have to do what they normally do at photo shoots which is you know to jump and kick. I wanted to respect them as athletes who deserve a dignified portrait.” For this shoot, there was no designated cover star. The photographer had ten minutes with each soccer player, and Joe captured each team member as if they could be on the cover. “I have worked with a lot of athletes, but I haven’t worked with a lot of teams together. It was really nice to see the camaraderie on the team. It’s the fact that whether or not they like doing these press days, they all approach it like a team, they’re all very professional, they all have a clear view of their objectives. It was really nice for me to try to be a little more creative with them. Sometimes they’re photographed so often in such little time, that they don’t have the chance to do some photography that leans a little more creative, so I wanted them to have fun with that.” “Honestly, the highlight of the shoot was working with Robert, he’s an absolute photographer’s dream to work with. He has so much talent, but he really lets you explore and take risks and he supports it. Part of working with Robert is being able to be experimental with color and lighting. Some art directors are more conservative, but he allowed me to push it. It’s rare these days.”
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