When you get an email from a client saying that a they have a super top secret (com)mission for you on a need-to-know basis, you don’t say no. All I knew was that they needed a portrait and 4 spot illustrations, and was given only a little bit of info on each one, no specifics just straight up ‘draw this and this’. On one hand it was nice, I didn’t have to do much thinking around the pieces, but I can’t lie, I really wanted to know more. I had to hold my self back from asking as many questions as possible whilst trying to get enough info to complete the images.
The article tells the story of the first spy to be uncovered since the end of the cold war era. A man known as Henry Frith to his Spanish friends and family, but who is actually Sergey Yuryevich Cherepanov. After a strange meeting with a British intelligence officer in Madrid Cherepanov asks his live-in partner's son to take him to the airport, as he had done many times. Cherepanov or ‘Frith’ was a controlling partner of a “high value, reliable consultancy and business services company” specialising in “socio-economic studies.” Frith travelled frequently for business, mostly to Central Europe, sometimes as far away as Chile, but on this particular day, after his partner’s son dropped him of at the airport, Frith never came back.
What was nice about this brief, other than it’s risky nature was that from an aesthetic point of view I was able to have a lot of fun with it. Myself and the art director put together how it was going to look and the sort of feel it was going to have. The strange mix of black and white with yellow and grey, give the artwork a unique but almost harsh look that I think frames the article very well. This project is also another excellent example of me being commissioned to create a portrait combined with a scene/narrative type work.
I should just say at the end of all this, the Russian ministry have not replied to the allegations of spying, so in the interests of fairness (I’m applying my BBC head here) he is an ‘alleged spy’.
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