Saturday, March 07, 2009

The End of an Era?

U.S. Steel purchased our iconic hometown steel company, Stelco, just about a year ago. This week they announced they are shutting it down because of the current world financial crisis. In a hundred years, Stelco's furnaces have never stopped running, not even during the Great Depression. 2,000 people will lose their jobs.

My friend Aviva Boxer, Business Editor at our local paper, The Hamilton Spectator, commissioned me to do this piece at the time of the takeover. Steel has always been the foundation of industry in Hamilton -- and a point of pride for Hamiltonians that it was a Canadian-owned and operated business. When the steel industry went through a consolidation in recent years, reducing it to just a few world-wide players, it became inevitable that we would be bought out by foreign owners. It seemed like the end of an era. For reasons I'm not really sure of, the illustration was never used... but now, with the shutdown of the mill, it really is particularly poignant.

I'm glad this piece is finally seeing print... I just wish it weren't under such unfortunate circumstances.

You can read the related Hamilton Spectator article here.

The whole thing was done in Corel Painter. The figure was rendered using the scratchboard rake tool.

* More examples of my editorial artwork here.


patricia said...

What an illustration. Full of so much emotion. I am in awe of your talent.

And yes, so very, very sad. Can't imagine calling Hamilton anything but 'Steel Town'.

Leif Peng said...

Thanks patricia, I really appreciate those kind words - but I am as much in awe of your talent. :^)

Paul Nichols said...

Wow, what a picture. You captured it perfectly. Just amazing. I'm getting no work done here looking at all your stuff!

Dominic Bugatto said...

Nicely done, one of my favorite pieces of yours.

MW said...

The cool to warm colors and the textural variances between the figure and the landscape communicate the end of a sad and vivid story. I am, however, glad that this image met the press machine.