Tim O’Brien, adjunct professor, Undergraduate Communications Design, is an illustrator and portrait painter whose imaginative designs have most recently been translated to the big screen thanks to the box-office hit movie The Hunger Games.
O'Brien originally illustrated The Hunger Games' series three covers for book publisher Scholastic, and created The Hunger Games "mockingjay" logo of a bird with an arrow through it. The trilogy was released in print from 2008 through 2010.
Film distributor Lionsgate then turned the bestselling book series into a film franchise, using O’Brien’s logo as the basis of the poster. The logo design is of the mockingjay pin given to the main character—a 16-year-old living in a post-apocalyptic world where she is forced to compete in a national televised fight to the death.
The book was written by Suzanne Collins and the film adaptation was released worldwide in March, breaking box-office records.
"It is incredible to watch the illustration I created for The Hunger Games used all over the world and to see it most recently on every cab, bus stop, and billboard in New York City," said O'Brien. "Seeing the image everywhere is a real 'pinch me' moment for me. Illustration is everywhere and brands much of what we see and understand visually, and this is just one example of its power," he added.
O'Brien has taught at Pratt since 2007 and lives in the Prospect Park South neighborhood of Brooklyn. He has had work published extensively in periodicals including TIME magazine, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, The Atlantic, Entertainment Weekly, and by publishers including Scholastic, Harper Collins, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster. More than a dozen of his paintings are in the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and O’Brien has also designed several stamps for the U.S. Postal Service.
O'Brien has been a recipient of the prestigious Hamilton King Award from the Society of Illustrators, and his work has been recognized by publications and organizations including Graphis, Print, Communication Arts, the Society of Publication Designers, and the Art Directors Club. He is vice president and museum chair of the Society of Illustrators and is on the illustration advisory board of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. For more on O'Brien and his work, please click here.
Text: Amy Aronoff
Photo: Courtesy of Tim O'Brien