This week’s new issue of Mountain Xpress (the local alt-weekly paper for Asheville, NC) features another cover illustration from me. I was tasked to come up with a concept to illustrate the story about the history of the monuments located in an old local church.
This assignment was tricky, because the Confederate monuments commemorating Confederate Civil War individuals (many having nothing to do with the actual church history) were put there during time of the “Lost Cause” campaign of much later years. The current, modern church in Fletcher, NC is one of inclusiveness, and therefore, has the dilemma of the need to preserve the history of the building, even if the monuments that are part of that history celebrate now-problematic stances from another era that may not coincide with the current church. Therefore, the paper needed a way to illustrate the history of the church monuments without seeming to be some time of accusatory exposé about some hidden flaw.
Here is the original cover art without the final text and logo added. Using an existing Confederate cross from the grounds to represent the buried past, or the roots that tie the current, welcoming church to the many old stone monuments celebrating heroes of the Confederacy.
Ultimately, however, the paper felt it was still too dark and foreboding, so they deleted the cross and brought the stone monuments more out of the shadows, keeping the root metaphor. Hopefully, this illustration for the cover was a more fair image to display for the current church which still does justice to the concept of the story.