DYCO Makes: Presidential Portrait of Harry S.Truman A look at President Truman, a recent portrait finished by Destroy You Co Illustrator Ryan Maguire, from start to finish.
The warm up. Since I knew I was going to be using black line work for my final piece, I explored many line studies from imagination and life, this was one of them.
The Boston Public Library offers giant tables and windows of light that are ideal for drawing, reading and sleeping.
The book, "The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb" by Dennis D. Wainstock was an excellent resource on the many conversations, between prominent politicians and scientists, that took place leading up to the final decision.
This illustration was an assignment given by Murray Tinkelman, Director of The Limited Residency MFA Illustration program at the Hartford Art School. He asked to choose an illustrator between 1900-1960, from our History of Illustration Lecture, to pay homage to, then choose a prominent person from history as subject for a national magazine cover. I chose Illustrator Boris Artzybasheff, a longtime favorite for his surreal visions, President Harry S. Truman, the man who gave the order to drop the Atomic Bomb on thousands of innocent people, and Time Magazine.
At first, I thought Truman would have some wild expression, with maybe even his face melting. I did many gesture drawings from TV of stand up comedians, they always make strange faces. But, as I learned more about Truman from reading and doing head studies, I realized that Truman lacks expression and emotion.His blank face and empty eyes reminded me of a serial killer, which I guess is fitting, since approximately 200,000 civilians died from the explosion.
This was the first vision I had, Truman walking among the aftermath. Drawn on train.
I drew the sketch out on a sheet of bristol paper, pencil from edge to edge. I wanted to have the composition explode past the edges of the paper. All the way.
Using various Micron pens, I began. I spent weeks thinking and researching about this very moment. I sat down for three days and let it out. My eyes went red, I attacked Truman.
I brought my completed illustration back to the BPL and introduced my work to the work of Artzybasheff. I was able to find the original Time Magazine published from 1945 at the library with Basheffs' own depiction of Truman on the cover.
I let them hangout together for awhile, you could feel the energy. Thank you Boris.
The finished illustration is ink on paper, 14x17 inches. My longtime friends at Pictex Studios (Boston) helped me take my concept even further. I wanted to have the title of the work appear as a "new flash" for the audience to read. I worked with Pictex, who combined my illustration with title, to create a lenticular flip between type and image, seen in the video clip below. The final piece flashes between picture and headline, echoing the last flash to be seen by thousands of innocent people the day the bombs were dropped. Truman, done proper.