Attitudes

13 - 29 June 2013

An exhibition of illustrations by Eoin Coveney commissioned by the iconic gay publication, Attitude.

 

Coveney on being commissioned by Attitude, 

 

'When Attitude magazine first got in touch through my UK agent, I knew it was a magazine with high editorial, design and production values so I was excited at the news.

 

Knowing it was a gay lifestyle magazine I felt I would have to bring a different sensibility to the project as my previous magazine work had largely featured action and adventure stories. 

 

Whilst waiting for the brief, I had a good look at the latest issue and it confirmed my impression that it was a quality magazine with great design and photography. As an illustrator with a deep love of the graphic novel and horror/ sci-fi, I am accustomed to tackling quite macho or even violent themes and found myself wondering how I would approach the brief. 

 

When it did arrive, any concerns vanished. It was a great piece of fiction - funny, irreverent and sharply written. The narrator is a gay man who is jealous of the smooth- voiced program in his boyfriend's new fridge. It possesses a voice akin to George Clooney and dispenses dietary and fitness advice. After a few weeks, the boyfriend grows ever closer to the avatar and begins to look fitter (and to the narrator, more attractive). After the second read-through, it struck me that this was really about human emotions, namely jealousy, insecurity and the fear of being alone, emotions that I believe are immediately relatable to anyone's experience.

 

Once I had reached that conclusion, I had direction and confidence that I could do it justice. At the pencil phase, I shared the progress with the great art director at Attitude and was given the green light to proceed to finished art. The only changes requested were to make one of the characters more burly but the composition and scenario were untouched and it was a very pleasant experience to work with them.

 

I have had the pleasure of contributing to Attitude many times since and I am always struck by the quality and variety of the writing. It's no surprise that Attitude hire some of the top gay writers in the UK such as Paul Burston, Clayton Littlewood and Diriye Osman. The stories' themes have varied enormously. I have laughed out loud and shed a tear reading them and have always tried to approach the illustrations as windows on human experiences and emotions. The writing has really fed and informed that. Every time I work for Attitude, I try to depict believable human beings who, through their facial expressions and body language, reveal something of their inner emotions.'

 

Attitude covers a wide range of lifestyle topics and in addition to celebrity interviews the magazine also includes serious features on a range of subjects, which have included the plight of gay asylum seekers and the rise of the far Right in Eastern Europe, the US Presidential election campaign as well as real life editorial such as male rape and body image issues.

 

In May 2005, on the eve of the UK general election, the magazine interviewed Tony Blair for the cover.

 

In April 2008 Attitude took now Mayor of London Boris Johnson to task about his comments that "if gay marriage was okay – and I was uncertain of that issue – then I saw no reason why a union should not therefore be consecrated between three men, as well as two men; or indeed three men and a dog".