An Interview with John Solimine of Spike Press

So, this guy is amazing.

John Solimine is a huge name in illustration and design. With over 12 years in the biz he’s done work for Lollapalooza, the National, Fuse, NPR, the Chicago Tribune, American Express, and Nike, to name a few, (the list goes on and on), and each piece is amazingly dynamic and imaginative. His illustrations seem to tell a story in the blink of an eye; in a recent interview with Design Inspiration he revealed that that is one of the major goals with his work. The ability to evoke a strong emotional response with just a picture seems to be something that’s one part talent and three parts practice, practice, practice. I think 9x the practice = 9x the results, though, so it works out.

Which of your projects are you the most proud of? And why?

I think my most successful illustrations are the ones that elicit an immediate emotional response – The Wrens poster and The National tour poster with the astronaut are two examples. I like the idea of capturing a moment in time that is charged with emotion without really showing anything – it all takes place in the mind of the viewer. I read an interview with Chris Ware in which he talked about the “blank” look of his character Jimmy Corrigan – which he also shares with Charlie Brown – that allows the reader to map their own emotional response onto that face, which immediately draws the viewer into the story (or illustration). Sometimes I think of my illustrations as a single panel picked out of a longer narrative and I’m leaving it up to the viewer to fill in those blanks.

Please check out Spike Press, they have much better resolutions of his work and descriptions of each project. My personal favorite is the Guitar Center poster. The way the leg of the n in “The One: you know it when you’ll see it, and you’ll find it at guitar center”  is wrapped around the neck of the guitar is both sexy and classic, its so crafty. That’s probably the “talent” side of the equation.

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