Scanning the Globe for Art
Many years ago, when the three international editions of BusinessWeek were getting started, one of the sure ways to give editors on deadline a heart attack was to tell them a critical photograph or illustration for a story was missing. Back then, photographs and illustrations were sent by express mail rather than digitally, and our globally minded art department loved to hire artists from around the world.
One day, a beautifully etched Aztec- style relief, hammered out of tin, arrived just a few hours before our issue closed. "I guess that's the artist's new medium," confessed a surprised art director, frantically scrambling to get a high-quality picture taken of it that could be reproduced for a cover on Mexico. Luckily, he made it.
Unlike our byline writers, many of whom you get to know by name, our art staff works anonymously to bring readers the best photos and creative illustrations they can find anywhere. These are the folks who each week decide on some 30 pictures and sketches for the stories you see in our international editions. Last year, they also produced 53 separate covers from artists often using such materials as--you guessed it--wood, metal, canvas, wire, rope, ceramics, and, of course, graphic programs on the good old Mac.
Led by international art director Christine Silver, our New York bunch starts the search on Thursday, just after the old issue closes. "We're always looking for the conceptual, the abstract thinkers," she says. "I mean, what do you do when you have to illustrate a story on derivatives?"
LAST MINUTE. On the picture side, Asian photo editor Andrew Popper, a former international photographer, works the phone at night, and Latin American and European photo editor Sarah Greenberg Morse often teams up with Paris colleague Carrie Montgomery to bring in pictures for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Photo researcher Burte Hughes, a transplanted Texas librarian, backs up everyone from his worldwide database. Working with this group is our staff of graphic illustrators, who do all of our charts and tables--in addition to producing many creative cover and story illustrations of their own.
Time does matter, especially for illustrators. So artists' locations, as well as their skills, play a role in getting assignments. For example, Henrik Drescher in New Zealand often gets last-minute calls: He can work through his day while we sleep.
Once the hundreds of pictures and many sketches get reduced to final choices, associate art director Gary Falkenstern, a painter himself; assistant art director Joe Bartos, a cartoonist; and designer Anne Fink Bartoc get the fun part of making charts, tables, pictures, illustrations, and story come together in an informative, attractive design. Their job is to get you into the story and out as efficiently as possible.
The final behind-the-scenes guy is our international production editor, Francisco Cardoza, who has to make all the elements the art team and writers produce fit into the layout of the magazine. An unflappable pro, he's juggling demands from all of us up to hours before we print.
Creativity, dedication, speed. And, as Silver says, "it really is your life." She suddenly remembers she has to meet a neighborhood artist the following morning to pick up a carving--on linoleum, of course.
By Robert J. Dowling, Managing Editor