Friday, December 29, 2006

Illustration Friday: Phoenix


My submission for Illustration Friday's "Phoenix" is from a series of illustrations that I created for Celine Dion. In July 2002 I received a call from a fellow that acted as my agent asking me if I was interested in doing some spec work for a possible merchandising deal involving Celine Dion and her upcoming commitment to have an exclusive show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Celine would have her own gift store at Caesars and I could be on the ground floor of creating art that would go on all of the merchandise, ie calendars, cards, stationary, tees etc. This was not my ultimate dream job but Joe already had an appointment for me to show her lawyer Paul, rough illustrations in 2 days. I was worried because I paint buildings but I pulled an all-nighter and came up with some stuff that I thought she might be attracted to. I tried to think of what I knew of her and I know she likes fashion so I did 4 that were reminiscent of vintage fashion illustrations with her name at the top in the style she used on her album covers. One was with her new little boy and they are outside in a beautiful cove playing together, one was her in an evening gown reclining outside looking up at fireworks and this one. Like a beautiful bird that is starting a new life in this exotic paradise. I did it in white and also in black but I never finished the black version because I ran out of time. I met with the lawyer/agent and he loved my ideas and the work and would present them to Ms. Dion. I don't know how I drove home that day on P.C.H. my eyes kept closing as I wound my way back up the canyon. So all these guys went back and forth, emails flying around and finally I received a simple email that said: "She likes it". That made me soar! Much time passed and I got another call aking me to do a lot more work but it still was not a go and I sensed this could go on and on. I pulled out because I had real paying gigs. Celine Dion opened at Caesars in March 2003 and I have no idea what happened with the merchandise in her gift shop but I still have the email from her lawyer saying she liked it. She rose from a big star to an even bigger star in Vegas and I learned a lot about myself, still able to pull an all-nighter, to not let down the agent and myself and to know when to throw in the towel.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

You always make my tail wag with your showbiz stories. Celine was indeed a Phoenix Goddess rising once again after falling on her ash. But where do you pee? Bad Dog (deceased)

marcisenders said...

What a great story and great illustration. I think as artist we need to trust our guts and think in a bussiness sense sometimes. There is only so much you can do for free!

Cathy said...

Gorgeous stuff Val! And what a cool story!

Hope you had a great Xmas and all the best for the new year.

Ayelet said...

Great story! you were so lucky to have this experience, and so brave to pull out on time :)

Have a happy new year, Val!

Anonymous said...

Quite a story there, Val. "I like it," too. Happy 2007!

Liz Jones said...

Val-- how cool! And what a beautiful image-- I'm not a bit surprised she liked it! Thanks for sharing that story!
:D

Ellen Byrne said...

wow! How cool is this?!

Teri C said...

Oh Val, how exciting. Love this image and the story that goes with it.

Kathy Weller said...

well, they certainly lost out on a wonderful image you created of Celine - it's very majestic! Very nice work!!!

AscenderRisesAbove said...

inspirational image and story!

Gabrielle said...

Thank you for telling us the story behind this image, your wisdom truly shines!

Pati @-;-- said...

Wow! Beautiful illo and very touching story :)

Happy New Year, Val!

Ces said...

This is a great story Val. How wonderful, but while Celine Dion the singer is popular, you are a star in your own right. I am looking forward to your "clock" program through A&E next summer. You have to remind us of the date.

md said...

well her lose, and i cant say i blame u either. but i did notice u mange to slide in a sorta kinda house in this lol nice illo

Katsta said...

great work val! I'm really not a fan of Céline, but still, you did something great :)

Jeannette said...

very cool. kind of random story. celine dion scares me.

Tanya Nichols said...

valGal always surprising to hear of your adventures...I love when you stated how much you learned about yourself...i have to say i havent always loved how I've reacted when pushed to finish...
love it!

Tony LaRocca said...

Congratulations! Beautiful work, as always. Have a happy new year!

cream said...

Great story and painting, Val.

David said...

Great illo! Happy New Year!

doodlestreet said...

Ahhh...burning the midnight oil....it's one of those experiences that help you to feel like a strong artist and say "I still got it!" ;) That sounds like it would have been an okay gig if there weren't so many hands in the pot where it took them forever to do anything...(this also usually includes handing over the check!) Ack! Common in the entertainment industry, eh?
I love hearing those kinds of stories though.--makes us tough doods!

aynaku said...

what a story! very instructive for me.. guess you know how to take a chance, mmhh!
I think that a phoenix is the very appropiate symbol for Celine, great illo.
happy new year!

Brian the Mennonite said...

Another great story, Val. Although I have a hard time liking Celine. I'm not sure if it's just a Canadian thing or not.
Wonderful artwork. You are your own entity...I love it.

marc said...

Hi Val,
Beautiful story!
Beautiful drawing!
Well done!
Happy New Year creative

Twisselman said...

Always great reading your stories... and you've made Celine look very good in your illustration. No wonder she gave her seal of approval.
Happy 2007!

HARDWAX said...

Celine should be proud, beautiful!
Happy New Year

kj said...

val, the part of this story i like best is your backing out! good for you.

i can't wait to see what you have in store in 2007.

hartini said...

Wonderful story and beautiful artwork! You were so lucky to have created art for a celebrity. :)

Michelle Lana said...

great work, val!!!! love it.

scribblesk said...

Lithesome and lovely figure! I really admire what you've accomplished!

Natura said...

Wow, cool and interesting story.

Your work, beautiful as always.

tiffini elektra x said...

What a story! And that illustration is amazing! The colors pop off the screen. I love that tree in the background. Oh so absolutely gorgeous that flowing dress is!

Doodlestreet said...

Hhahaha! I like Jeanette's comment! (she kinda scares me too)...hahaha!
Oh dood..yea, riding that wave that we do..up and down and up and down...you're a good and seasoned surfer. Groove on with yer bad self..

xo
dood ♥