This piece is for a group Illustration Show called: Incursion. On exhibit at City Arts Factory, Orlando FL, mid Jan-Feb 2013.
I chose to approach this illustration as a “portrait” of Santiago (lead character in The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway). For my illustrative work, especially, I like to create as much visual interest as possible, to draw the viewer in deeper. The key to the story is the fish really (and the shark. Do you see it?). If you look at the lines in the piece your eye always ends on the fish – the object of Santiago’s obsession.
Half of Santiago’s nose is “cut off” too, to show that his obsession is half creating him while simultaneously destroying him. He’s “falling apart” in working so hard to achieve his goal. Baseball buttons too. There are lots of Joe DiMaggio and baseball references in this story.
I also wanted to play around with surreal elements in this piece: The split level horizon line (similar to the Mona Lisa), Santiago’s beard blending into the sea, and the question: “Is Santiago’s body facing left and his head is looking back over his shoulder?” Or: “Is he metaphorically part of the sea?” “Or both?”
I enjoyed taking this journey with The Old Man and The Sea.