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BizWeek After Bloomberg?
posted: January 1, 2010
In December I worked with Don Besom at BusinessWeek . It was interesting talking with Don, now that the magazine is owned by Bloomberg it remains to be seen what's next. There was a sense of melancholy recalling all the people I met while working on BusinessWeek assignments. I can remember walking into the McGraw Hill building to drop off my portfolio back in 1985. I've contributed illustrations on & off over the years. The latest was a book review on the subject of the contemporary CEO as seen by a couple of French academics. The book title is; From Predator to Icons.

 Also below is the very first assignment I ever did for BusinessWeek. It was about the farming crisis in the midwest. The Art Director was Sharon Bystrek. Well, farming is not creating the same headlines these days. It's forward into 2010.
riffing Picasso...
oils on heavy paper stock...
• Below is the thumb sketch I did for my first ever BusinessWeek assignment in 1985.

Final art - oils on strathmore paper...
Cover art sketch on Third World debt around early '87....
Final art - oils on strathmore paper...
This was a special issue. I also did all the open art for each section, about five other illustrations. All the art was painted in the last month of '85. Art Director; Malcolm Frouman...
One of the interior pieces. That computer was high tech....
Another interior from the Industry Outlook issue....
Mr. Gorbachev came for a visit....
24 comments
Kyle T Webster January 2, 2010
That 'Third World Debt' sketch is amazing, Doug. All great work and thanks for sharing a small piece of your history with BusinessWeek.
Mark McBride January 2, 2010
The colors look darker back then in 86 Doug. The colors in the 1st painting look more brighter. Is that a result of the colors you used or did you change up your style over the years? Always enjoy taking a look at your skecthes and oil paintings. They are pleasing to look at.
Doug Fraser January 2, 2010
Mark, after the 80's I was getting asked repeatedly to brighten up my palette, "don't be a downer or scary". I suppose get-happy was the order of the day. I use to feel that it was a tyranny of cuteness that was at work. Next came the ironic era. As well I started to explore working digitally around '92.
Alex Nabaum January 2, 2010
Very interesting post. I remember that bottom one from way back, it's a classic!
Adam McCauley January 2, 2010
I love that cover at the bottom, Doug. Such an icon. I think your work really defined that period for them in a lot of ways. That was right around when I first started getting work at BW. My first job for them was for Stephen Taylor, and I completely misunderstood the story and gave him sketches that were completely wrong. He generously let me try again and everything went fine and I started doing more regular stuff for them.
Harry January 2, 2010
Man, you have staying power. Doug, these are all great but what I really appreciate is the history here, 1985? that's 25 years ago! The red dude is a slice of history that deserves to be in an archive or a museum wall. I was pretty floored when I heard of all the art directors being let go at BW. The name Malcolm Frouman is very familiar of course.
Paul Rogers January 2, 2010
When that cover appeared on the stands in 1986, I knew there was a serious new artist on the scene. You've laid a lot of beautiful images on us since then.
Doug Fraser January 2, 2010
Thanks guys, it's seemed strange and sad hearing about the purges going on in art departments. I suppose we are to fire up our Kindles. I did get a call from a new start-up lushly printed magazine. Maybe the future is the magazine as art object.
Yuko Shimizu January 2, 2010
These are so beautiful, Doug! I assume the Third World Debt never made it to the final painting stage? We all wish it was made into your beautiful paintings. I have only worked with BusinessWeek a handful of times, most of them with Don, who has been really kind to me over the years. BusinessWeek always used illustrations extensively and to add impact to the pages. I hope they continue doing so.
Walter Vasconcelos January 2, 2010
Powerful works Doug, illustration is art! Your sketch about Third World is strong and beautiful.
Doug Fraser January 2, 2010
Yuko, the Third World Debt did run as a cover. After reading your comment I posted the final painted version. Walter, thank you.
Felix Sockwell January 2, 2010
now thats real talent. and still fresh after all these years. we used to hire you when i was an AD in dallas back at DDB/ Tracey Locke so i had the pleasure of seeing your work, then trying to ape it (unsuccessfully) when we had no budget. thx for sharing doug
Yuko Shimizu January 2, 2010
Felix, me too. I hired Doug once when I was working in PR department for a large corporation in Japan. Doug did a beautiful annual report cover for us. Still my favorite among all the annual report covers during 11 years I worked there. thank you for posting the final painting of third world debt. So beautiful.
Richard Downs January 3, 2010
Doug, really nice seeing a slice of the powerful work you have created for BusinessWeek. I love all of it and the astronaut at the top makes such a great contemporary statement. Good luck to all of our friends at BW.
Mark Fisher January 3, 2010
Such Strength!
Cathleen Toelke January 3, 2010
I remember those Industry Outlook pieces. You were terrific right out of the gate.
Doug Fraser January 3, 2010
Richard, and Mark, thanks again for commenting. Cathleen, BusinessWeek was some of my first colour work, and definitely some of my first covers. I had been doing some black & white for the Times with Steven Heller prior to BusinessWeek. Actually it was at the Times I met a lot of people too for the first time. I remember riding the elevator down after dropping off with Peter Kuper. Heller had run me hard with requested changes. He would send an illustrator to an empty office in the art department to do the changes. Peter just laughed, and said "rights of passage". There were always a handful of illustrators sitting in that waiting area to drop-off, or pick-up.
Victor Juhasz January 4, 2010
These are great, Doug. Strong, iconic images. Love the mood in your first BW image and really dig all your prelim sketches. You're a master.
lou beach January 8, 2010
Excellent, as usual, Doug. You set a standard. I worked with many fine ADs at BW over the yrs. I fondly remember Francesca Messina and the wonderful Andree Kahlmorgan who's now at Time.
Doug Fraser January 9, 2010
Thanks, Mr. Beach. I do hope the newsstands of the coming year are kind to their contributors.
Jim Kohan January 18, 2010
Happy New Year Doug! That first farmer in the field painting still hangs in my living room. The colours are a bit brighter than the repro shown here. Let me know when you need to borrow it for the retrospective show in 2020. I'll bring it. Cheers
Doug Fraser January 18, 2010
Jim, it's been a long time. Good to know you're still out there. Yes the colours are brighter. I scanned an old slide. It's 2010, yeesh, can you believe it! I guess this is the year we're suppose to make contact, or at least that's Hollywood's past message. Never quite like the movie's, eh.
Tom Marsh January 26, 2010
Always enjoy seeing your sketch comps move into final prints. The gold base colors sure do a lot for Mr. CEO. He's radiant... and using the painting as the commentary... great concept, Doug.
Tim Olson March 17, 2011
Doug, I guess it's been a long time since I visited your website! Last I remember it had a black background. This is amazing - I love seeing the process, and hearing the back story on your provocative images. BTW, I have the lazer, the combine, and the smokestack hanging above my workstation as I type. I found them when the company I was working with (1992?) moved into a Trammel Crow property. They all have captions and seem to be from the Industrial Properties Corporation 60 year celebration. These were some of the first images of yours I encountered, and I've been a fan ever since.
All images copyright Douglas Fraser