Thursday, August 1, 2013

Miami Mercenaries

Here are a set of three spot illustrations I did for the Miami New Times (they also appear in New Times Broward-Palm Beach) They accompanied a fascinating article (which I highly recommend that you read HERE) about the prevalence of private security companies in Florida. So many of these companies set up in the Sunshine State because of it's proximity to dangerous (aka profitable) countries like Mexico, Central America, Colombia, and Venezuela.
Art director Miche Ratto contacted me about the pieces, wanting three spots of specific "scenes" described in the article. Instead of full color spots, she suggested black and white line drawings, referencing the drawings that I did for Alex Fine's awesome Hairy Baltimore book back in 2011.

The first scene is of a training exercise that former British soldier and Miami-based mercenary Andrew "Orlando" Wilson ran with the Mexican military. Soldiers were submitted to simulated torture, being hung over a makeshift latrine and waterboarded.

The second references the expereiences of John Walbridge Jr, a Vietnam veteran. As a member of the Green Berets in Vietnam, his unit was known for ambushing POW camps and escorting rescued POWs across borders. Walbridge went on to found OSSI, a very successful private security company based in Miami.

The last image is of a mercenary soldier from Hamed Wardak's very controversial private security company NCL Holdings guarding a cargo truck in Afghanistan.
Although researching all of the weapons made me nervous that the NSA was going to crack down on me, I had a blast working on these drawings. Without having to think about color, I really let myself get invested in the drawing.

Thanks again for a great gig, Miche!


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