Saturday, July 20, 2013

Illustrator News: Article About America's Cup Poster Painted By David Michael Beck

Cool article about a poster for the America's Cup David Michael Beck did a while ago in Cruising World.

Cool quote: "Beck spent a day in a chase boat on Lake Michigan taking pictures of the crew training on a borrowed yacht, and found the drama of tacking through blowing wheat. An original idea of a cove stripe pitchfork was changed to a wheat shaft."


  1. That is a very nicely written article! It does a great job of showing how a well-planned visual can imbue a sporting event with emotion and backstory. And inspire people to care —and open their wallets.

    Here are two very uncool quotes:

    Leo Burnett, the Chicago advertising firm that created “Marlboro country,” and Pillsbury’s “nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven,” campaigns, came aboard. Art directors John Eding and Ted Bell soon came up with the idea of a sailboat in a wheat field, and hired Chicago illustrator David Beck to create it.

    The poster was sold for $100, or $500 signed by Melges, skipper Gary Jobson and Beck. They went like hotcakes. Beck was never paid by Burnett, but sold two additional originals to corporate sponsor Ciba-Geigy, and for years received agriculture commissions.

    I don't know what kind of reputation David had back in the mid-80's, but if a leading agency hires you to promote an event of international scope and flies you to Lake Michigan to do research. How in the hell do you NOT get paid!?

    I know a lot of illustrators out there feel pressure to get their careers started, and want to fill their time with real professional work. but doing freebies for big-ticket events is a sure-fire way to ensure that you (and the rest of us) will never got a fair price for doing great work.

    The Choir games came to town last year and were publicly asking artists to submit free work and even sign away their rights to their designs —both used and unused designs. These events may be feel-good projects, but they are not charities. It's not right to take advantage of one profession to promote another. There is plenty of room in these budgets to compensate the designers of logos, posters, pins and t-shirts that rake in a ton of money and make the events possible.

  2. Thanks for pointing that out Chuck, I did not see that line the first time skimming the article. That is outrageous that he was not paid for the initial commission.

    I completely agree with your comments.

  3. It blows my mind that his mere signature (along with 2 others), would fetch an extra $400 for a PRINTED piece, yet he couldn't be given a red-cent for his time and effort and expertise. Did he get paid to sit and sign his name?

    I think it's interesting that the writer mentions the snub in passing. He also implies that the work did help David get more commissions from agricultural industries, but lest anyone get ideas, this was almost 3 decades ago with a far less crowded field. These days, AD's can (and will) commission free work from a new artist for every project.