Tyler County native designs ‘Newsweek’ cover
Tyler County native Jesse Lentz has made a name for himself in the arena of graphic design. Most recently, he added a simple, yet meaningful magazine cover to his expanding portfolio.
“I illustrated the cover and feature opener for the 9/11 issue of Newsweek,” Lentz explained. “This was a huge honor to be chosen for the 9/11 issue. It really showed me how much the Art Director, Dirk Barnett, trusted me as an artist. He called me about a week before the deadline and asked if I wanted the cover of the 9/11 issue,.”
For Lentz, the answer was what he referred to as a “no brainer.”
“We worked up about four different cover ideas because the Editors wanted to be very cautious how we approached the cover since it was sensitive material,” he said. “The Opening feature was entitled ‘Did Osama Win?’ it was a darker piece looking at our present economic, war, and foreign policy status and saying that since 9/11 our country has been slowly bleeding.”
Lentz originally intended to use this as the cover and cover story, but the editors felt that it was too dark for the 9/11 cover. They wanted to emphasize the resilience of the American people. “So we decided to go a different way. Instead of showing the towers like everyone else, we wanted to show a plane flying by where the towers used to be, but is now just open sky, also it was reminiscent of that day. The sky was very blue that day, and people didn’t think anything was out of the ordinary when they saw the first plane. We were all blissfully unaware.”
Lentz graduated from Tyler Consolidated High School in 2006. After high school, he attended West Liberty University, majoring in Graphic Design. His last semester he realized he “hated” graphic design. “I hated layouts, typography, kerning, etc. It struck me that the only thing I liked about it was making really awesome artwork, but I never realized I could do Illustration,” he said. “I had met the illustrator John Ritter (Time Magazine, New Yorker, GQ) at a gallery show that the Pittsburgh society of Illustrators and put on at West Liberty, and we had become close friends. He was mentoring me in many different ways; art, spirituality, marriage, etc., even before I wanted to be an illustrator.”
Lentz then decided he had to build a professional illustration portfolio. “I started illustrating dictionary.com’s word of the day, that I fell in love with from reading them with Isaiah Richie in Larry Richie’s room every morning my senior year.”
After creating a finished work of art everyday for two months, he had about 6-8 portfolio ready pieces. “I submitted them to American Illustration (a Annual Book that has areputation as the best resource for cutting-edge Illustration talent) and had two pieces accepted,” Lentz said. “I did not even realize how big of an accomplishment this was. Here I was, two months into illustrating, still in school, and I had two works of art accepted into a book that some strive their entire careers to get one piece in.”
Shortly after this, Lentz started working contacts that he was given through close friends and received his first job from Pitt Med (Pitt Universities’ Medical Magazine). Shortly thereafter, he was hired by WIRED and the Atlantic.
A little over a year later his client list includes Time Magazine, Newsweek, Businessweek, New York Times, WIRED, GQ, New York Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Money, Fortune, ESPN Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, The Atlantic, Spin Magazine, O Magazine, Adweek, Runner’s World, The Washingtonian, Boston Magazine, Philadelphia Magazine, Report on Business, Time Out Chicago, The American Prospect, Government Executive, The New Republic, Village Voice, LA Weekly, OC Weekly, SF Weekly, Seattle Weekly, Miami New Times, Phoenix New Times, The Pitch, Houston Press, Broward Palm Beach, City Pages, Denver Westword, River Front Times, Dallas Observer, Treasury and Risk, Hadassah Magazine, Usbek & Rica, Scenario Magazine, Park Slope Reader, Pitt Med, U of T Magazine, and Military Spouse.