Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What's In A Name?

One of my regular gigs is providing a monthly spot illustration for Virginia Montanez's column PittGirl's Last Laugh, in Pittsburgh Magazine. In the December issue, Ginny takes locals to task for holding onto outdated names for local landmarks.

For this month's illustration, I focused on her comments about the Roberto Clemente Bridge, which people still refer to by its old name, the Sixth Street Bridge.

It's fun and a bit of a challenge to come up with the spot for PittGirl each month. Since it's a column with a specific personality and point of view, I always find a way to include the writer in the image. I've been doing this spot for two years now, and it still feels fresh. Until this summer, I'd been basing the drawings on one reference photo. After we met in person, and I got a better feel for Ginny's features, I think the art's improved.

Regarding the opinions expressed in this particular column, I sympathize with people who use the locational names for the bridges. If you're driving downtown, you still have to make the conversions in your head (Clemente = Sixth Street, Warhol = Seventh Street, Rachel Carson = Ninth Street). I'm willing to bet that very few New Yorkers refer to Sixth Avenue as "Avenue of the Americas."

However, people from my hometown can truly be crazy-making when giving directions, which often include a phrase along the lines of "turn left where the pony ride used to be," so I can see Ginny's point as well.

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