Victoria and Albert Museum

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On The Road

On The Road

My submission is a personal project, one of many I have been working on to add to my portfolio since graduating from Norwich University of the Arts in July 2013.

The work is a book cover design for Jack Kerouac's novel, 'On The Road'. The novel tells a semi-autobiographical story of Jack and his friends and their journey across America between the late 1940s and 1950s.

My illustration focuses on darker side of the novel as the characters delve deep into the world of sex, drugs and jazz music as part of a group named by Kerouac himself as the 'Beat Generation'. I decided to subtly incorporate the element of the open road by showing the road markings disappearing inside the entrance of a jazz club. Lit with neon red and blinding light at the end of the corridor, this shows the uncertainty and danger of the bohemian life style the characters lead.

The sign above the doorway shows simply a letter 'B' creating a subtle link to the 'Beat Generation', the light from the sign renders the figure a silhouette portraying the illusive nature of the characters as they travel America, crashing on couches, with no real homes or jobs, caring seldom for the lives of others who become involved with their story. The scene set in my illustration is framed by the silhouette of a trumpet referring to the sound of jazz that would have accompanied the characters wherever they went.

Charcoal, pastel, digital (2013)