When Art Completes The Story

When a magazine invests the time and effort to dig deeply into a significant local patriarch, finding the right artistic style and artist is key to elevating the work to another level. When the Hawaii Business Magazine was knee deep investigating, and developing an article about local business icon, Harry Weinberg, they set out to match the tone of the writing and the 1960s and 70s era when Weinberg was most influential in Honolulu. “The era we used as our inspiration was the 60s and 70s because this was the time period the story highlighted. From this, we decided the illustration should not have a digital feel. I pulled a few illustrator comps to show my creative director, Warren. There was something about Stephen Eric Thomas work that was so unique and unexpected that we both picked him as our first choice.” Mae Ariola, Art Director Hawaii Business Magazine


Approaching a significant piece like this, artist Stephen Eric Thomas, took a more consultative role in understanding not only the story being published, but the personality who was Harry Weinberg. Even with all the factual information and photos Mae provided, Stephen continued to dig deeper.

“…she encouraged me to be adventurous, and to trust my gut. With this, and all the materials she sent me, I began to digest and contemplate until my mind began to feed me reams of possible visual solutions. Some fragments and some complete. Some off on a tangent, and some seemingly more focused and relevant. The result are pieces that both strongly satisfies and supports the essence of the article, while visually entertaining the viewer in an original manner. “


Mae’s goal was to push the boundaries and direction the art would take, and had the confidence in Stephen to deliver something unexpected. Given the freedom to explore and develop iconic visuals that added strength of the portrait, Stephen more than met the project’s goals. According to Mae, “It feels great when you take a risk on a style that isn't expected and hear such positive feedback. For our editorial and art team, it was a quick reaction too.”

Steven’s background with magazines, and pushing the envelope on what portraits reflect, makes him an ideal partner for creatively-driven magazines and online publications like the Hawaii Business Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic and Business Week.

Check out more work from Stephen Eric Thomas