California Jails for ProPublica

In 2019 Greg Betza was commissioned to create a series of illustrations based around the crisis in the California jail system, specifically Fresno county. Overcrowding, gangs, violence and overall poor conditions have contributed to more than a few tragedies. And the outlook is not promising.

Subjects he was asked to illustrate were difficult and he endeavored to handle them with respect.

This series was short-listed by Communication Arts for their illustration annual.

Included below are the final illustrations as well as some preliminary sketches that were not used but show alternate visuals that Greg explored.

Live the InterContinental Life

In 2016 Greg Betza was commissioned by Smith Creative Labs to illustrate 3 short animations for the InterContinental Hotel Group’s Live the InterContinental Life campaign.

The animations were based on podcast interviews which told stories of empathy, worldliness and fascination and were recorded in London, Beijing, and New York City. Smith developed the script and storyboards and animator Mark Bellncula brought Greg’s illustrations to life.

The illustrations were created in a mostly traditional way, using sequential hand made drawings and paintings.

Giving Tree Donor Wall

In 2018, Potion Design asked  illustrator Veronica Lawlor to explore the idea of an interactive  donor wall for the new NYU Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital. The ask –  to find a way to not only share the names of contributors who made the Hospital possible, but to tell their stories, their goals, and how they were inspired by the project.  And while there are always foundational donors that need to be acknowledged, an institution that lives on will continue to have people joining in its efforts.  So they needed an idea that would allow the project to grow. 

Styled to match the hand-drawn children’s book aesthetic of her illustrations for the nearby  City Explorer  installation, The “Giving Tree” Donor Wall features an interactive animated tree composed of over 90 individually painted and collaged leaves. Each leaf connects to the story of a donor, and  the scale of the leaf corresponds to the scale of the donation.  

A light wind blows through the leaves to cue users to touch them, and doing so expands different types and styles of stories about the donor, and their relationship to the hospital.  Larger donor stories are illustrated in a reportage style, allowing for a more intense narrative, and smaller donor stories are illustrated with a graphic symbolic style. 

The combination of line art and cut paper throughout creates a cohesive aesthetic that can encompass multiple points of view. An updatable back end allows new leaves to be added with stories of their own.

Images, from top to bottom: Early concept illustration, Giving Tree // Final Illustration of tree with 93 collaged leaves // Studio view: Tree in progress // Leaf highlight – Sala Family donation story // Leaf highlight – Hassenfeld family donation story // Short Form Story: doctors, parents and patients working together // Short Form Story: soft care for families of patients.

Leaf highlight design by Steph Goralnik.

Awards: Honorable Mention from the Society of Experiential Designers, 2018.

Empire Studies

These illustrations are a series of editorial illustrations created for a website called, “Empire Studies Magazine.” The editorials are a series of essays and dissertations written by scholars addressing the topics of History, English and Global Studies. Illustrator Margaret Hurst, with her literary background, was a perfect choice for this project.

Titles, from top to bottom: “James Joyce” – an essay about Ireland and the potato famine; “Kingdoms Under Glass” –  taxidermy; “Food Empires” – wheat production in China; “Masks” – female authors using male names; and “Visigoths” –  the architectural stamp left by the Visigoths

Ken Burns Vietnam

In July 2017 Illustrator Greg Betza was contacted by Atlantic Re:think, the marketing division of the Atlantic Magazine, to create a series of illustrations to help promote the PBS release of the new Vietnam documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novice.

The first part of the project was to create a print illustration which would accompany a brief article about the series in the The Atlantic. The piece had to communicate the comprehensive, objective view that the documentary takes, interviewing people from both sides of the war and the political divide.

The second phase of the project dealt with interviews of 7 of the documentary’s participants. Greg was asked to create one illustration per interview. He decided to develop one symbol per interview that most strongly embodied the audio.

Greg’s work on this project was included in American Illustration 37.

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