Latin American Ilustracion: Wesley Bedrosian

By David Schonauer   Wednesday November 25, 2015

What is Vladimir Putin up to in Latin America?

That question was at the center of a probing story in Americas Quarterly magazine, the independent publication of Americas Society and Council of the Americas, in response to recent moves by the Russian president to increase diplomatic and trade activities in Latin America. The magazine’s art director, Donald Partyka, turned to New York City-based illustrator Wesley Bedrosian  to create a compelling piece of art conveying the point of the article. The illustration was later named a winner of the Latin American Ilustracion 4  competition.

“I’m known for working in a pen-and-ink style. But over the past few years, I have developed an alternate 3D style that caught the eye of Partyka,” says Bedrosian.

Bedrosian knew right away that he had to show Putin — who loves expose his torso in photos — in a shirtless pose. That led to the idea of giving him a tattoo that subtly questions Putin’s political intentions.

“Though the 3D style emulates a combination of sculpture and photography, I approach it much like a painting,” says Bedrosian. “I submitted a sketch to show the composition and direction the image would take. Then, I sculpted and painted Putin, all the while following my sketch.The image is made using two programs. Sculpting is done in Zbrush, and the final image is rendered using Maxwell Render.”

Zbrush, explains Bedrosian, simulates the organic experience of working with clay. “I prefer it because it doesn’t inhibit my drawing sensibility,” he says. Maxwell Render is a light-simulation program used by TV and movie-production companies.

“It gives me accurate light and shadow qualities that I prefer,” says Bedrosian. “Just as a painting depicts its subject from one angle, my sculptures are meant to be seen from just one angle. If you were to view this sculpture of Putin from the side, it wouldn’t look at all like him. I push and pull the surface to look best from the angle seen in the final image. When I first started working with these 3D programs, they were very slow and a bit tedious to use. I could only use them for personal projects in my spare time. With updates and innovations, I’ve been able to make a workflow that fits realistically with editorial deadlines.”

Bedrosian began his career as a greeting-card artist for American Greetings, the world’s largest greeting-card company. He later studied with illustrator Marshall Arisman at the School of Visual Arts in New York. “There I found my visual voice,” he says. His work has appeared in newspapers and magazines including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, Scientific American, Vanity Fair, Newsweek, New York Magazine and the Hollywood Reporter.


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