Blog - About the Artist

  • Danielle Bennignus

Where Do They Go?

Updated: May 27, 2018

I'm frequently asked about who and what I create illustrations for - in short, where they end up at the end of the commission process. I've answered this question with so much verbiage that I've often ended up tongue-tied - magazines, cookbooks, Christmas ornaments, album covers, concert posters - the possibilities are endless, and so I'll share some of them here in visual form with the stories that accommodate them. As for the Special Delivery stork above, he was created as the Ambassador of Newly Arrived Jazz Babies, for Molly Ryan's column in The Syncopated Times.

This is a fun commission created for a delightful client - the Avalon Jazz Band, a NYC-based group specializing in French hot jazz, also known as "Gypsy swing", or "Jazz manouche". This invitation was a great honor, being the band's debut album. The rooftops of Paris' Latin Quarter took the spotlight, along with dancing cats and zazou style! The music itself is represented in Art Deco sonic waves, radiating from the band members along the roofline.

During my years in New York City, I earned a portion of my keep as a freelance stylist's assistant - doing display work on catalog shoots, wholesale showrooms, product styling and so forth. My longest standing arrangement was with Waterford-Wedgwood, and part of my work there involved illustration both to promote their work, as well as design for products. I'll tell the story of the second category soon enough, but the above images feature a design I created for a display in the windows of Wedgwood's Regency Street shop in London. From original drawing to final presentation, this is a great example of how a vision becomes reality!

I'd be remiss in this context were I not to mention the countless illustrations I've done for the Singapore Slingers, the jazz orchestra founded and directed by my husband, Matt Tolentino. I've often said that our relationship is so well balanced because Matt covers the musical side of things, and I tend to the visual part of the equation - as such, I'm responsible for concert posters, album covers, program illustrations and banner design and execution. This process is a perfect marriage in itself, as traditional jazz has an enormous influence in my work - even as I type this blog, I'm attending an orchestra rehearsal, serenaded by a 1930s foxtrot...

Finally, a handful of drawings done for the re-release of a wonderful cookbook, "Quickies for Couples" by Katy Scott. A whimsical, clean style was what the doctor ordered for this commission, and I was profoundly happy to oblige. Shown are the recipe headers for Meuniere Sauce, Thai Pork, and Beer Bread - a cajun alligator, Eastern dancers and Tyrolean-wearing Teutons represent the ingredients. This publication is currently still in the editing process, but once it's released its readers will enjoy a fantastic array of fun-loving illustrations and delicious dishes.

As you can see, the possibilities for the application of illustration are practically endless - I'm constantly discovering new way to share my work, and always surprised and pleased when a client approaches me with a fresh idea. And with that, I head back to the drawing board, literally...


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