Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood by Jason Beam

Be sure to check out my other piece with Christy, Gail Kim and Traci Brooks – The Fallen Angels

I’ve been working with Christy Hemme on her website and other various projects. In early February of 2007 she opted to attend Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors in Chicago with me on 2/23 and 2/24, and we decided that it would be pretty cool to get together on a piece that we could promote at the show.

I got together with one of her photographers, the awesomely talented Kevin Roberts, and had a nice batch of sweet shots of Christy. Christy and I have several ideas going for artwork – but this being the first one, I wanted it to really stand out – to click, make sense, and be kinda clever. I thought of a very appropriate character fitting for our project: Red Riding Hood. I was excited to start it because the idea seemed to click, and I’ve never illustrated a children’s story character in my work.

There are a few interpretations of the tale of Red Riding Hood, and all the ones I have read seem to regard a woman’s sexuality – with references to casting off the red cloak as a sign of womanhood, to the sexual predator symbolism of the wolf and so forth. I decided that in my “grown-up” version of Red Riding Hood, it seemed much more natural to place Christy in a position of control, rather than venerability. And Kevin Roberts’ photography really gave her an aire of sensual dominance. Sure, it’s not a traditional interpretation of the story – but half of the fun is spinning your own take on the story.

When I set out creating a piece of art, it’s important to me to try and capture some of the subject’s personality in the work. I try to go beyond simply putting a person into a piece of artwork. I want the art to feel like the subject fits the topic – not because I put them there, but because in some ethereal way, they belong there. I’ll never really know if this translates to the Average Joe who doesn’t know the model personally, but it seems to feel right to me. Christy is a unique individual with a unique philosophy on life – and I tried to capture that in this piece. Beauty, strength and intensity.

This print has won awards including the 2007 American Design Awards – 1st Place, Illustration, the 2007 Pcom Creative Awards – Award of Merit, the 2008 Montana Advertising Awards – Silver Addy and is also part of the Brother’s Grimm museum collection in Germany.