As we welcome the beginning of December and the festive traditions that come with it, The New Yorker’s art director Françoise Mouly is doing the same with her commissioning. Opening the month (4 December issue) with a snow dusted cover by Kim Demarco of a pizza delivery driver trepidatiously crossing the road, the following edition (11 December) sees Scottish illustrator Tom Gauld interpret the annual Christmas tree purchase titled Holiday Track.
Based across the pond in London, Tom — who already has a fair few New Yorker commissions under his belt — has drawn a character patiently awaiting the subway with her tree in hand, only for the train to arrive already filled to the brim with like-minded Christmas tree customers. Illustrated in Tom’s detailed sketch style, the cover’s colour palette isn’t particularly festive, just the right amount, depicting with subtle humour the strange contrast of nature in an urban environment.
“Going past vacant lots filled with large Christmas trees, I have often wondered how people take them home,” the illustrator tells The New Yorker on the origins for his cover. “My family and I always have Christmas in the countryside, where you choose a tree and point it out to the man with the chain saw — a very different experience. I’m fascinated by this strange annual migration where large trees come to the city for their final moment of glory.”
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