Stephen Davis Illustration


Ecstasy: A quickie with Aphrodite

I know its been a while since the last blog post (four months, but who's counting?) but with the coming months I hope to rectify that with more frequent activity and a butt load of new pieces . Half-assed apology aside let's get down to business. (Are these butt related adjectives doing anything other than making me sound like an 8 year old?)

Earlier this month I was approached by some very talented individuals on illustrating a band poster for advertising. The collaboration was actually really simple, a few friends invited me to a New York music venue where my good friend and performing artist A.Sarr was performing along with Russell Elliot and Andrew Nye on guitar. After having my socks thoroughly knocked off (people still say that right?) by their amazing musical talent, I brought up the idea of using my illustrations to advertise their shows. Turns out proposing projects is as good of a self promotion method as any other, because within the week we were in talks to work together.

                                                                                Formless scribbles of early concepts.


Right off the bat, the initial problem was deadline. I was to illustrate a poster for their May 30th show at The Flat in Brooklyn which meant having the work done and finalized by the 20th at the latest. Did I mention that I was officially commissioned on the 14th?

Excitement for the project, coffee and a little dark magic was what got me through the next 6 days. For many illustrators a day job is essential for a steady income, which means balancing work and .... more work with sometimes little to no sleep sprinkled in. I couldn't take the normal approach of frequent communication and many preliminaries on this project for obvious reasons so A.Sarr (formally known as Andrew Sarrion aka shampooknuckles) who served as acting Art Director had to deal with my taking quick drastic steps through the course of 6 days.

The poster's  concept was simple, from what I've heard from listening to both Russell Elliot and A.Sarr, their music has a flowing R&B style mixed with a mellow trance and new age experimentation. I decided to go with a powerful emotion invoked in many of their songs, lust. From there my thought process looked a little like this:

Lust-Sex?-Who's Sexy?-Jennifer Lawrence-Love-Cupid-Pink-Aphrodite

New Age?-Future-Robot-Metal-Wires-Android

The music is gonna be really textural. You know how you listen to some music and it just hits you in the face? Well our music is gonna wrap around you.
— A.Sarr

After tinkering with concepts for a while both A.Sarr, Andrew Nye and myself came up with a working final image, I gave Aphrodite some soul by portraying her as a sort of Afro Punk version and the rest is history.

In the end thankfully things worked out with little to no miscommunication and the poster was delivered on time. Quick turnarounds are just part of the business of being a professional Illustrator and often times I find the best work is produced when there isn't too much time to over think concepts. It is also important to note that pushing past your limits is essential to growth as an artist or any other career path for that matter. I had a surprising amount of creative freedom on this project and would love to do more in the future.

If any of you reading are near Brooklyn May, 30th come stop by The Flat to hear some soulful music from New York's emerging talents. If you recognize me there feel free to buy me a beer because I WILL be your best friend.