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Interview with the artist Colleen Dick

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Aya Katz's new book Theodosia and the Pirates: The War Against Spain is coming out on June 1, 2014. Unlike the gentle image of Jean Laffite gazing at Theodosia Burr Alston on the cover of her first novel in the series Theodosia and the Pirates, the imagery of this latest novel makes a bolder statement. Today I am interviewing the artist Colleen Dick to find out more about the rationale behind this new cover.

1. What is your background in art?

I used to create cartoons and posters in high school, and college. Recently I started doing these again, and I am also taking couple of painting classes.

2. What was your approach to this particular commission?

Aya had very specific requirements. She needed all four subjects and each one had to have a unique response to the hanging. She also wanted complex emotional relationships suggested between the family. In order to have a way to light it and do all this I suggested just a noose in the foreground rather than the background, so the subjects could be facing us as opposed to profile. Jean was supposed to resemble the Jean on her other book. Originally we discussed a corpse, but a corpse in the foreground would steal attention from the living, which is what she wanted to focus on.

3. How did you choose the colors?

The people were all "white" people in the specs. For their clothes I researched fashions of the time. The specs suggested sunset, and a bright orange sky would be dramatic and complement nicely with the girl's dress.

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