Foreign Policy magazine
This was an interesting piece to work on. I was first asked to paint Nicolas Sarkozy and Henry Levy as "Rambo-like" figures, showing the French as strong warrior types because of their role in Libya. I thought it would be funnier to play a little more with the whole "French" thing. I also had not yet had the chance to paint Muammar Gaddafi for a publication and thought it would be fun to add him to the illustration, adding humor as well as a fun way to tell the story. Keep in mind, I started this job, two days before Gaddafi was killed. I thought it would be humorous to show the two Frenchmen being French, chilling out and so on with their wine and baguette's, I know, it's cliche, but it's funny too.
So, two days after I started the painting, Gaddafi was killed and the illustration was put on hold. I thought for sure that the illustration would be cut or at least the idea would have to be changed or something, but a day later, I was given the OK to continue on with the illustration. It felt strange starting an illustration before Gaddafi's death. I thought adding him would be funny, but while working on it, he was killed quite brutally and then on top of that, his mangled body was displayed on T.V. 24/7. So, what seemed like a funny illustration now felt morbid. Don't get me wrong, I feel he had it coming but nevertheless, it was a strange time to be working on this particular piece.
I realize that it's also strange that the illustration took as long as it did to come out, being that the story is old news now, but that's how it is some times. As for the background . . . there was never supposed to be a background. The idea was for it to be a simple spot illustration with a white background, but near the end I felt it would look better if I suggested the environment, if even just a little.
I had a lot of fun working on this piece and like most of my work these days, I didn't have near as much time as I would have liked, but that's the nature of the biz. So, I kept it painterly and suggested detail rather than labor over it, these are three great faces to play with and overall, I had a blast!