About two and half years ago I participated in this book idea called "The Book of Conversations", where 120 artists were given a provocative question to address in whatever way we wanted. I was given the question "Do you ever have racist thoughts", which I struggled with for a bit, conceptually. Eventually I came up with the above solution which suggests that people sometimes have these thoughts that they wouldn't normally have, that they are ashamed of, or that they don't even necessarily know are racist. I wanted the image of the painter covering up the racial slur to be open to interpretation (or more specifically, to conversation). Is the painter thinking that and covering it up? Did someone else paint it to make it look like other people are thinking it? Is the painter secretly assuming that the graffiti-writer was black, and he stoops to racism out of anger? Am I, as the illustrator, slightly racist for even coming up with this concept? Either way, it's a tough question, and it was a challenging illustration..
I'm posting this image now because the book is finally in production and will be available for sale online from the 12th of October at www.bookofconversations.com. Read a brief press release below:
When was the last time you had a great conversation? A conversation that was out of the blue, intriguing and interesting. A conversation where you found out so much more about your friends and so much about yourself.
The Book of Conversations came to life because we simply aren’t as good at talking as we used to be. Too often we just trade information. What we did, what we bought, where we went, what we did at work.
The book is a collection of questions, each question a conversation starter. It’s the intrigue of exploring someone and discovering what lies beneath. Some questions are deep, some trivial and some you will never forget.
However, just words were not enough. Images provoke people in ways that words sometimes can’t. 120 artists, graphic designers, creative directors, art directors, photographers, illustrators and animators were approached and were each given a question.
Their task was to provoke this question with an image. The image could make the reader cry, shout, laugh or think. But most importantly, it should get them to talk.
Let’s bring back the art of conversation to a world that needs it more than ever.
Let the discussion begin.
The Book of Conversations.
By Jason Schragger and Mark Carolan.