When the Medium Is the Message: Illustrator Ian Wright Uses Torn Paper Collage to Create Unique Images of Three Philadelphians

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Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano, a Center City law firm specializing in workers’ compensation has commissioned artist Ian Wright to create large-scale portraits of three clients to hang in the central staircase of their new offices at One Commerce Square (2005 Market Street 18th floor) when they move in at the end of December. Three individuals who suffered serious workplace injuries will be the subject of Wright’s powerful torn paper portraits.

Ian Wright is an English illustrator and graphic designer who has portrayed some of the most iconic names in music and fashion—Issey Miyake, Björk, Tony Bennett and Pete Townshend. So, what’s he doing working with a group of buttoned-up, suit and tie wearing Philadelphia lawyers?

Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano, a Center City law firm specializing in workers’ compensation has commissioned Wright to create large-scale portraits of three clients to hang in the central staircase of their new offices at One Commerce Square (2005 Market Street, 18th floor). Three individuals who suffered serious workplace injuries will be the subject of Wright’s powerful torn paper portraits.

The clients are: Fran Elliott, a ticket writer for the Philadelphia Parking Authority, George Beerley, who worked for 30 years as an operating engineer, and Barbara Daquilante, who had worked as a food service worker for 31 years before she was injured.

Wright’s medium will be the client’s own files—stuffed with legal correspondence, government forms, medical records, test results and the collected detritus of 21st century lawsuits. Wright will create eye-popping, multi-layered portraits crafted from cut, torn, sculpted and folded (not to mention spindled and mutilated) paper.

“If I can take all of the pain and anxiety and yes, hope, that’s in those documents," he said, “and turn it into something that shines with the humanity of each individual, I’ll be pleased.”

Although his choice of materials and technology may shift, the one consistent element in Wright’s work is his commitment to portraiture. Beginning with his earliest illustrations for the British rock music New Musical Express newspaper until today, the human face has been at the center of his work. Whether using recording tape (Sting), salt (Grandmaster Flash), paper cones (Jimi Hendrix), push pins (John Lennon) and most recently, torn paper (the rapper T.I.), Wright playfully adopts both analog and digital methods to “draw” arresting pictures that are both provocative and insightful.

Wright began his career as a commercial illustrator. His innovative, experimental images, in a variety of mediums and using new developments in technology attracted a who’s who of cutting edge music and fashion idols to his studio. In over 30 years, his work has remained fresh—cool, sophisticated, but simple and just hip enough to be featured on record sleeves and in indie music and design magazines as well The New Yorker, New Scientist and The Guardian. Lawrence Zeegen, dean of the school of design at London College of Communication, calls Ian Wright "the Daddy, maybe even the Granddaddy of contemporary illustration."

Wright has been to Philadelphia to meet with his three subjects and all of their paperwork has been sent to a studio he will be using in New York to complete the project. The finished pieces will be photographed and enlarged, before they are installed.

Pond Lehocky Stern Giordano dedicates its practice to Pennsylvania workers’ compensation and national Social Security disability matters. The attorneys at Pond Lehocky have over 75 years of combined experience representing injured workers and the disabled. Pond Lehocky has won among the highest workers’ compensation settlements in Pennsylvania’s history and has helped countless numbers of people receive their Social Security disability benefits in all 50 states, as well as Puerto Rico. Headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, Pond Lehocky has offices throughout Pennsylvania, including: Center City Philadelphia, Northeast Philadelphia, Chester County, Scranton, the Lehigh Valley and South Philadelphia, as well as offices in New Jersey and New York. For more information, or to set up a free consultation, please call 215‐568‐7500 or toll free at 800-568‐7500, or visit us online at pondlehocky.com.

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