hOily Whale!
June 9, 2010

I have a lot of "internet friends," people I've never met face-to-face. A good many of them happen to live in the New Orleans area. I've got a friend who used to live up here who used to work on the oil rigs out there in the Gulf of Mexico. So when the Gulf exploded, I was following the goings-on closely. Getting unbelievable details from those in the area, friends with family who fished for a living.

It's gotten so that I expect every other tweet or email to contain oil. It's permeating everything down there - from the smell of the ocean turning to the stench of crude oil to the feel of it in the air. So when NOLAnotes tweeted that seeing the Twitter FailWhale yesterday was a little startling because there wasn't any oil on him ... I had a little brainstorm.

BP killed the Twitter Fail Whale!

Originally, I'd wanted to do the green, green/yellow, yellow pattern inside the birds, but they're just too small for that to work (unless I wanted to do another huge illustration!). I chose to keep it very, very simple, hinting at the oil on the birds (in their eyes and wings - those black areas are usually white) and a nice, happy sun on poor Mr. FailWhale. I wanted to match Twitter's clean simplicity, so I didn't go for the amount of oil that really ought to be coating everything ... the key to parody, of course, is changing just enough to get your point across without beating your audience over the head with your point. In that respect, I think this turned out pretty well.

What I didn't expect was the attention this got - even landing on the Maddow Blog where it was called "instant folk art."

The world is a strange place sometimes - for some reason, I expected more response from the Adobe/Apple illustration which took weeks (and therefore, really wasn't as topical by the time it was done, I know), and this little parody was just something I whipped out when I couldn't sleep Tuesday night.

I'm not complaining ... just noting that the world is a strange, strange place.

Which, of course, is evidenced by the fact that oil has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico for over a month while BP tries to polish their image and protest that their safety records are perfectly fine.

All that just smells a little fishy to me.

Posted by Red Monkey at June 9, 2010 10:39 PM | Design | Sketches | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


Hockeymandad said:

This was a brilliant piece of work. Don't sell yourself short!

June 9, 2010 11:04 PM

Absolutely brilliant! Some of the World's best work has been done as a result of being sleep deprived over the years! LOL! Keep it up...

June 9, 2010 11:14 PM


Glenn said:

This is interesting and calls to mind a larger dimension of the problem. I would encourage you to contact the PARISH PRESIDENTS of the parishes bordering on the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana (We have parishes not Counties), and they would probably like to know of your ability to frame the disaster in such family friendly images, perhaps you could help with their media work to help people grasp the grand scale of this disaster. BP is minimizing it here, calling the amount of oil leaked MINISCULE! Can you...believe?

Thanks. Glenn

June 10, 2010 6:53 AM

Oil drill fail whale.

June 10, 2010 11:13 AM


Nola said:

Brilliant. That is all. It, and you. BRILLIANT.

June 11, 2010 12:47 AM


JessieStark said:

love this!!

June 24, 2010 11:53 AM
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