Monday, December 28, 2015

The Giant Peach : Dead End Roads and Ninja Monkeys

While continuing to showcase some of the clients I've worked with over the years and go a little more in depth as to the ideas and concepts behind some of the pieces I did, next on the docket is The Giant Peach. Back in 2007 after sending some self promo postcards to The Giant Peach, located in Alameda, California, I was contacted by the owner Karen to work on full page ads for them to run in Juxtapoz. This was on one hand exciting but also extremely intimidating as I held Juxtapoz up in very high esteem and felt immense pressure to make sure my work was at the level of the other pieces featured in it's pages. Giant Peach had a hip hop vibe to it, so for the first ad I wanted to make sure I got that across while also representing my own personal style. Also at the time, I felt a pull towards a certain color scheme in most of my work - yellows, oranges, and purples. I just loved the combination of it and this color combo would find its way into the majority of ads I did for the Giant Peach. I also liked this because there's a cohesiveness to them when you view them as a whole.
A lot of times what else is going on in my life finds it's way into my work. I had just recently moved back to Dayton from Columbus in 2006. I'll eventually talk about all the circumstances for me moving back, but let's just say they weren't ideal. So just to kind of process things I would walk around my neighborhood and I found one particular route that lead me to a dead end road, which in a lot of ways, was how I viewed my return to Dayton.
Also around that time I had finally seen Iron Giant after hearing it described as a "perfect" movie on NPR. When Im trying to come up with a concept for a piece I usually start off by looking into the history of a word or in the case of peaches, where they come from, maybe even the root of their name...just anything to at least get the gears turning. But through my research came across the story of Momotaro (translated as Peach Boy). "According to the present form of the tale (dating to the Edo period), Momotarō came to Earth inside a giant peach, which was found floating down a river by an old, childless woman who was washing clothes there. The woman and her husband discovered the child when they tried to open the peach to eat it. The child explained that he had been sent by Heaven to be their son. The couple named him Momotarō, from momo (peach) and tarō (eldest son in the family). Years later, Momotarō left his parents to fight a band of marauding oni (demons or ogres) on a distant island. En route, Momotarō met and befriended a talking dog, monkey, and pheasant, who agreed to help him in his quest. At the island, Momotarō and his animal friends penetrated the demons' fort and beat the band of demons into surrendering. Momotarō and his new friends returned home with the demons' plundered treasure and the demon chief as a captive. Momotarō and his family lived comfortably from then on." So the ad was a character witnessing Peach Boy falling to the earth on the dead end road I was walking down every day in the style of The Iron Giant. Also on a side note, at the time I was thinking about getting a dog, so I depicted the character walking a Golden Retriever.
For this next ad, there was an ongoing joke on a website I frequented called about a martial arts move called "Monkey Steals the Peach" which was basically where you rip your opponents genitals off.
At one point I had a realistic looking ninja holding a giant peach, but thought visually it looked weak, so then I got the idea to literally make him a Ninja Monkey...most people probably didn't get it, but they seemed to like the image...:) Just one of those inside jokes....
For this last ad, Giant Peach was doing a joint ad with 594 Apparel, a graffiti inspired line of clothing. By this time I was trying to figure out different ways to depict either giants, peaches, or both together and thought it would be interesting to infer a giant peach rather than actually depict it. So in this case the Giant Peach was where the viewer is, reflected in the graffiti artist's lenses and by the color of spray paint he's using. I also managed to slip in an idea I had been doing lately that I was calling "faux angels", basically using props to represent angel wings on characters, in this case the flood lights behind him.
This is actually one of my favorite ads I did for The Giant Peach, mostly because my work on the computer was minimal, just coloring on top of my cross hatched pencil work.
Anyway, here's a little sampling of some of the other ads I did between 2007 and 2010. If anybody has any questions about the concepts for any of these other pieces, just drop me a line ( ) Be sure and check out The Giant Peach .

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