Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch is an illustrator, graphic designer, and artist living in New York City. A few of his clients include: Bloomberg Businessweek, Bloomberg View, Fortune, GQ, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Nickelodeon, RealSimple, Runners World, The Walrus, VSA Partners, The Washington Post. He is proficient at basketball, drumming, and skateboarding.
Do you work both free-hand and digitally in your illustrations?
Maxwell Holyoke Hirsch: The short answer is both. My illustrations start out as small thumbnail sketches. But sometimes I concept those thumbnails in my head and dive right into a final, which might be executed digitally. I've found that if the idea is strong in your imagination before you do anything, it has the potential to be memorable with its viewers regardless of whether is created by hand or mouse.
Is it challenging illustrating for an article? Is it a lot different than your own independent creative practice?
With every editorial assignment there’s an opportunity to challenge yourself to come up with an image that illuminates the article in a compelling way. Sometimes it feels like a kind of adaptation. Other times I’m trying to add a small something to the article's message that sets it off just so. The biggest difference though: creative work is prompted by the self, the inside, while illustrating for an article requires I interpret a subject outside of myself.
Illustrating for news outlets like the New York times, do you find your work to be political, or is your illustration a visual vehicle for politics?
There’s a bit of both there. The illustration work is certainly a vehicle, but at times I also intend or assume the work as political. I’ve been extremely fortunate to be able to create images that relate to issues that mean something to me. That really makes the whole process more poignant and more rewarding.
Are there any specific cartoons or graphic novels you live to read?
Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D, Hard Boiled.
Motifs of music and instruments are very prominent in your work, are you a musician? What music do you listen to while creating?
I play the drums and spent a fair amount of time making electronic music. My father recorded with Buddy Rich and some other great folks, so I’ve always been close to music.
What are some of your upcoming projects?