Tim O’Brien is an American illustrator and portrait painter who has been praised for his quirky artwork and depiction of pop-culture and historical/political events. Tim has received multiple awards and recognition from the Society of Illustrators, (becoming the President of the organization in 2014), Communication Arts Magazine, Graphis, Print, and the Art Directors Club. His storied career has produced some truly exceptional works and has led to him becoming one of the most well-known Time cover illustrators of his time.
One of the most appealing aspects of his work is his ability to bring fantastical imagery to life through his realistic style. The above piece, “Ocean Train,” features a formidable locomotive traveling through a tempestuous ocean. The wonderous nature of such an old fashioned vehicle being able to float on the water gives the piece a sense of whimsy.
Using the imagery of the Titanic, O’Brien’s “Brexit,” satirizes the European Union’s optimism, which is metaphorically heading towards a large iceberg. The title further suggests that the implications of Brexit are the main factor in the sinking of this political ship. The woman in the picture is standing in a pose redolent of the iconic Titanic film. Her dress is the EU flag and the ship’s name is Europa. O’Brien is employing these artistic quirks to emphatically make his point.
Tim O’Brien is versatile in the illustrations that he’s able to produce, not only doing magazine covers, but US Postal Stamps, and even the covers for the popular book series, The Hunger Games. O’Brien is a winner of the prestigious Hamilton King Award for excellence in illustration by the Society of Illustrators, and he has also done work for Kessler Design Group and GQ Magazine that have won Gold and Silver in our Graphis Design Annuals 2017 and 2018 respectively.