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Build Hollywood x Waterstones

In collaboration with Waterstones and Bloomsbury Publishing, Build Hollywood commissioned me to illustrate a billboard promoting a new book by Jared Hosein entitled ‘Hungry Ghosts’. Hungry Ghosts is a fictional story set in Trinidad & Tobago, following the lives of one wealthy and one impoverished family who differ in their social class but share the same social struggles as they battle with issues around love, loyalty and death. As an afro-Caribbean person with Trinidadian parents, this project was one that I particularly enjoyed.

Task: Billboard illustration

The details of this illustration allude to the plot highlights of the book, wherein a lower class man works (Hans, centre) as a gardener for a wealthy woman who he begins an affair with (Marlee, right), unbeknownst to his wife (Shweta, left).

The dark colour schemes and natural landscape in the background are inspired by the location of the story which is mostly set around a farm. The humanistic plants symbolise the cycle of life and human dependency on nature

Shweta's character wears a traditional sari and holds a cooking bowl to communicate her domestic duties as a housewife and her cultural heritage as a South Asian Hindu woman. Hans is depicted in similar cultural dress to reflect his Hindu identity. He also carries a shovel over his shoulder to hint at his job as a gardener and to refer to several points in the story where he must dispose of a body by digging a grave.

Marlee's pose is inspired by her role in the story as a woman who Hans engages in an affair with. She blows him to kiss to indicate her romantic interest.

Early drafts

Initially, the illustration featured characters with a different appearance but, to further clarify their Hindu identity, the appearance and clothing were changed

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