Thanks to my inclusion in Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators' Drawing Under The Influence : An Illustrator's Guide to Mixed Drinks (a mouthful, to say the least) I was contacted by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. They wanted to feature my Shirley Temple piece in a review of the book and ask me a few questions about the piece.
Well, the review went to print today and you can read it by clicking this link. As it turns out, they ended up NOT using the Shirley Temple image I created for the article. I suppose, in the end, an illustration of what could be interpreted by some as a drunken nine-year old girl might have been a little too edgy for a conservative newspaper. That's fine by me. I live on the edge. That's why they call me The Loose Cannon.
But I also noticed that my short, bite-sized answers to the Trib's questions -- an unselfish attempt by me to give plenty of column space to my fellow illustrators -- just cleared the way for those illustrators to go on and on endlessly about their art (I'm lookin' at you, Rhonda Blabbermouth Libbey) No, Rhonda's a good friend and an excellent illustrator. You should check out her work here.
Besides, if you're reading this blog post you know I'm a blabbermouth too. And if I had to do it all over again, I guess I'd answer those questions with a bit more depth…and breadth. So here it is, the long version of my answers to the Trib's questions -- the interview that never was:
Trib: Why did you choose this drink?
Vince: The Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators isn't just a group of professional illustrators. They're also a group of professional drinkers. I, however, am a real lightweight. The strongest thing I ever order is iced tea, so my knowledge of alcoholic recipes is just about nil. And since my illustrations are geared toward the children's market anyway, I figured I'd better steer clear of the hard stuff…though, I guess if you look at the illustration, it might seem like I'm endorsing underage drinking. Which I'm totally not. But I do encourage old-timey, underage mock-stupefaction. Can't get enough of that stuff.
Trib: What inspired you to create your piece?
Vince: Same thing that inspires me to create almost every piece I do -- the need for money. More to the point, my desperate addiction to food and shelter. Keep in mind, this drink recipe book is also PSI's artist directory. It's going out to hundreds of art directors and publishers in the hopes that they'll choose some of us for future assignments. So being in the directory is part of a marketing strategy.
As for artistic inspiration, you can't illustrate a Shirley Temple without drawing a depression-era curly-haired schoolgirl. And in the absence of any alcohol whatsoever, I see nothing wrong with the notion of said schoolgirl getting completely blotto on a sugary non-drink like the Shirley Temple. I seem to recall getting just that gonzo every Halloween during my pre-school years. I mostly blame Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
I'll also admit, though, that part of me really gets a kick knowing how many people will look at this piece, not think too deeply about it at all, and become instantly enraged due to a misunderstanding. I don't mind enraging people who refuse to think. And maybe, somehow, the wise editors at the Trib knew that as well. -v