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On the cover: Rush Hour by Ron Magnes

Jet Racer

Rush Hour

What’s the thinking behind Rush Hour?

It reminds me of those days I would spend hours commuting back and forth to work. I started to think how people do the same thing over and over, day after day, rushing to get somewhere most of them don’t want to be, then rushing back and waiting for the cycle to begin again. What began as a straightforward single car image has transformed into something a little more conceptual.

How do you set about creating your art?

All my work is created digitally and, with my corporate work, I often won’t see the end result until after it is mass-produced. A physical version will never look like what’s on the monitor. You just hope it’s close enough. With the large-scale murals I produce on the computer, it’s more difficult to get an overall sense of how it will look once printed and installed, as you can only view small sections at a time on the monitor.

You have just created a huge mural for the Science Museum in London – how did that commission come about?

The Science Museum asked if I would be interested in this project they had called ‘Cravings’ [an exploration of how food affects our bodies, brains and eating habits] and it ended up being the largest project I have ever worked on. There were 22 separate illustrations of food that, when joined together, measured over 65 foot.

Cravings’ exhibition at the Science Museum

British Invasion Encore

What has had the greatest influence on your work recently?

I belong to the Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators, which is currently the second-largest illustrator group in the US and is loaded with talent. When I see the amazing work and projects produced by other members it just lights a fire under me and I get an overwhelming urge to create something new.

Your hometown of Pittsburgh seems to be an inspiration: how has the city changed in your lifetime?

In my lifetime Pittsburgh has gone from an industrial steel giant to a leader in technology, specifically robotics. Pittsburgh has also undergone a dramatic environmental transformation, from a smoky city to a world leader in the green building movement. The art scene is also thriving, with places like the Carnegie Museums of Art, the Warhol and the Mattress Factory. It’s just a great place to be right now.

Martini Time

Do you think the internet has been a creative or destructive force for the arts?

That’s a catch-22. On one hand it has afforded me and others the opportunity to have our work viewed by many. On the other hand there are so many people on the internet who do not respect intellectual property and copyright law. I guess you have to take the good with the bad if you want to succeed in today’s
business environment.

What news story of the quarter particularly grabbed your attention and why?

The San Bernardino attacks. I can’t wrap my head around the senseless violence. Innocent people going about their daily lives suddenly taken from this Earth. The world has become a violent place and when it hits close to home it becomes that much more frightening.

‘Cravings: Can Your Food Control You?’ is at London’s Science Museum until 21st May. For more of Ron Magnes’ work see

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