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rtists often take day jobs to pay the bills. The fortunate ones find commissioned work as illustrators for large companies. Mark Rothko created paintings for the Seagram’s Corporation, Maxfield Parrish illustrated print advertisements for Jell-O and Norman Rockwell made his fame providing covers for the Saturday Evening Post. Andy Warhol turned the tables by creating museum-quality paintings of commercial products. This profession is carried on today by San Diego artist Graham Smith. Smith is a skilled illustrator who describes himself as an expressionist, exaggerating emotional qualities in the subjects he draws. His interest is in observing people and creating portraits in various media. His most recent achievement is the publication of a book of figurative drawings, Marks Vol. 1. The wider public, however, has seen his illustrations as part of the Blue Moon beer advertising campaigns. Recently, Smith has created artwork for their Short Straw Farmhouse Red Ale, their Rounder Belgian-Style Ale and their Brewmaster’s Inspiration television commercial. Smith began creating artwork for the fashion and advertising industries after graduating from the Parson’s School of Design with a BFA in Illustration. In the 1990’s, an ad agency saw his work in an illustration source book and approached him about becoming a commercial artist. That led to Smith contributing to a Mountain Dew soft drink campaign. He subsequently provided artwork for Levi Strauss, the NBA, the NFL and Disney. A competing agency noticed the quality of his artwork and hired him to provide advertising images for Miller/Coors, Blue Moon’s parent company. He drew several special edition promotions for Coors Light, including their NASCAR can and the Superbowl promo cans. That led to rebranding for other Miller/Coors products including Killian’s Red, Molson and Henry Weinhard beers. When illustrating for a beverage campaign, Smith starts with a rough pencil sketch, which he then refines. He inks the line art with an old school quill pen and India ink saying, “When I went to art school, computers weren’t really used… so I learned everything traditionally.” He then scans the inked image into Photoshop for color assembly. After making color corrections using a printed proof, he creates the final image digitally for submission to the client. “I use computers strictly as a tool,” he says. “I don’t want things to look computery. I want them to look traditional.” His goal is to create a work that retains its hand-drawn feel, yet has all the editability of a digital production. Blue Moon beer in particular has been delighted with the result. They often seek illustrators with distinctive styles to to capture the public’s attention. Along with other artists, Smith contributed to their “Artfully Crafted” campaign in which his work was brought to life through animation. The advertisement aired during episodes of the popular AMC series The Walking Dead. He is the sole artist featured in their “Expressionist Collection” ad and can be seen prominently in it. The production company even re-created his studio as the set for the shoot. “Ad agencies like that I can draw fast, have lots of ideas and can execute them in many different ways,” says Smith. A 34 TAE MAGAZINE

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