Village Voice Media: Internet Piracy

August was great month because that was when Boo Davis at Seattle Weekly contacted me for a huge Village Voice Media project. Working with LAWeekly's Darrick Rainey, she was putting together a universal feature to be used in several of Village Voice's papers.

The subject was about a band of lawyers basically blackmailing those who illegally download movies; the sample cited often is Person-X downloads a movie he/she may not be proud of watching (something adult-oriented), and these lawyers track them down and mail them a letter saying "Pay us X-dollars or we will take you to court and make you Asian schoolgirl fetish public knowledge." Although frowned upon by many courts, it it really a sad situation as people typically just pay the money to stay out of court where the case would most likely be dropped as was the case in many examples in the article.

In the sketch phase, I tried to hit all the various angles of the story to give the art directors lots of options.

In the end, they decided to work the piracy angle, and I was quite excited to take their selections to final. One suggestion was to add the "digital element' to the images by having the images feature pixellation. So I made the skull look like it falling apart (to some, being shot) and the waves of the ship image feature cresting/droplets of pixels. The spots use pixels as waves crashing against the ship and as the gun's spark:

Spot images in context. Thanks to the awesome Andrew Nilsen for supplying these! He used them almost exactly as I had initially pictured them in layouts while sketching.

As you may notice, the gun changed quite a bit from sketch to final; this happened while I was working and I realized "Hey doofus, this should be a flintlock in order to complete the theme in all the images. So basically, I worked up and submitted two finals of the gun: one modern 9mm (not shown) and one flintlock pistol. Yes, I did more work than I needed to on a pretty tight deadline, but don't you think it looks much better as a set?

So that's a great project that was a blast to work on, and it resulted in images I am really happy to have in the portfolio. Thanks again to Boo and Darrick for the assignment, and thanks to the following papers for running the article and art: Seattle Weekly, LA Weekly, SF Weekly, Riverfront Times, Miami New Times, and New Times Broward.

To read the article, visit any of the above papers websites. Thanks for reading!

Enjoy the Day,