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Busted: Variations On A Theme

May 1, 2017

No doubt about it: I’d love to do some illustration for WSJ Weekend, the Saturday-Sunday edition of The Wall Street Journal. Weekend contains news stories and opinion, along with an eclectic mix of profiles, reviews, and lifestyle features.

To that end, I thought I’d audition by posting work inspired by actual Weekend stories.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

The March 18-19, 2017 edition had a story called A Boom In Busts, by Tim Gavan. It asked:

Can the head shots of the sculptural world, back in vogue after decades in the wings, work in homes that aren’t mansions? Or are they just too la-di-da?

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highSome excerpts:

“A bust’s effect really depends on its expression,” said Caleb Anderson of New York Design firm Drake/Anderson. “Whenever you look at them, you feel their emotion… they’re like another personality in the room.”blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

Three busts two are classical ceramic busts third is a cactus in a pot which has a human face

blank vertical space, 32 pixels high“They’re part of the party,” concurred New York designer Sasha Bikoff. “My dogs think a bust I have is a real person…”blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
bust of woman with very long neck tiny vampire on her shoulder has tried to bite neck left cracks in pain hurt his fangs

blank vertical space, 32 pixels high“A bust becomes the focal point,” advised Natalie Shirinian, founder of NES Creative, a New York-based creative agency. “Have a balance of books and personal objects… to make the space feel like a home and not a museum.”blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
pirate bust with pirate hat eyepatch parrot on shoulder ship in bottle fishbowl telescope tiny chest with gold pieces treasure map on wall

blank vertical space, 32 pixels highBusts needn’t be serious. New York designer Jesse Carrier says such busts “may not be considered ‘high art,’ but (they’re) beautifully crafted and deliver comedic relief at the same time.”blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
three busts two identical third different scowling has handle like slot machine poker chips dice cards framed suits heart spade diamond club

blank vertical space, 32 pixels high“Busts are captivating,” Mr. Anderson said. “People want to know whom they’re looking at– is it a character, a famous person, a regular person. What’s their story?”blank vertical space, 32 pixels high
bust display in museum three heads one broken off multiple breasts cactus cop dragging off convict guy scratching head trying to figure out total number of busts on display


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Thoughts? I’d appreciate your feedback.

You might also enjoy To Sleep, Perchance To Read.

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About Mark: I’m an illustrator specializing in humor, editorial, branding, social media, and content marketing. I create images that get content seen and shared.

You can view my portfolio, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Questions? Send me an email.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 1, 2017 3:00 PM

    Your bust illustrations make me chuckle. Poor vampire! The last illustration made me think of the classical statues of a many breasted goddess – though in one museum we were told that the rows of boobs were actually bull testicles. My husband is obsessed with ancient Rome so he loves to look at busts of historic figures from that period. My kids always chuckle at the herma because they are just heads and genitals plonked on a column.


    • May 2, 2017 9:03 AM

      Hi, Laura! I’m glad I wasn’t taking a sip of coffee when I read how the docent told you: “Them ain’t boobs– them’s B.T.’s!!” Hmm, sounds like a lotta bull to me… : )

      Yes, your husband, the Ancient Rome guy– I’d forgotten about that. He always orders the Caesar Salad at restaurants… : )

      I forget where I first encountered herma. Almost certainly on the internet, I’ve never actually seen one. I grew up in Cooperstown, NY, and I can report that there aren’t any herma in the Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum. No boobs or B.T.’s, either, as far as I know. Of course, it’s been awhile since I visited… : )

      Always a pleasure, and many thanks for your very enjoyable comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 2, 2017 11:23 AM

        I might find sports museums more interesting if they showcased herma.

        Liked by 2 people

        • May 3, 2017 1:34 PM

          Oh. My. Lord… Did you hear my shout of laughter all the way down in Pennsylvania?? That was one of the funniest one-liners ever!!

          At the Baseball Hall of Fame, the “Hall” itself is this long narrow high-ceilinged room, heavy on the marble, with all these little alcoves, like side altars at a shrine (which, of course, the HoF is). In the alcoves are these brass plaques mounted on the wall, with a bas-relief likeness of each baseball hero.

          I’m going to write to the director and suggest that all the plaques be replaced with herma. I’ll tell him it might boost attendance, at least for a certain demographic… : )

          Liked by 1 person


  1. Lumps, Bumps, & Fashion Fist-Pumps | Mark Armstrong Freelance Humorous Illustration for Marketing Communication Editorial and Social Media

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