Limit Up

This was a fascinating and challenging effort given the specificity, nuance, depth, and gravity of the subject matter to be depicted. Specifically, development of a cover illustration for a novel whose plot revolves around the desperation of a 70s-era Russian bureaucrat faced with the almost impossible task of rectifying a climate-driven agricultural catastrophe to salvage his nation’s pride and sustain the welfare of its populace by way of a massive purchase of grain in the midst of the Cold War with the United States. Fortunately, I was given access to the first three chapters of the story which immediately solidified an initial notion as to the required aesthetic. Here, the story’s disheveled protagonist stands in a bleak, colour-starved landscape devoid of vitality as he stares into the distance at the imposing edifice of the Kremlin where empathy and patience are nowhere to be found. Indeed, one need not see his face to infer its daunted expression. The foreboding/forbidding atmosphere of the work is accentuated further still by the looming dust devil on the horizon and the ticker tape threading trough his legs like a paper boa constrictor. The theme of the piece is capped by the tension of a physical boundary that burdens the main character with the choice between barren mud and a desiccated crop as a metaphor of his futile predicament. That is, there is no easy way around the crisis before him, and so, he must tread through it towards an uncharted end.
©1998-2023 Chris Pavlik // Force Ten Design.