David Brinley, an associate professor of art
at the University of Delaware, created a painting that appears as part
of a dramatic and controversial illustration for a magazine article on
the growing use of heroin in rural America.
The article, “The New Face of Heroin,” which appears in the April 10 edition of Rolling Stone
magazine, focuses on Vermont’s current epidemic of addiction as a
reflection of a national problem. To illustrate the story, Brinley
painted an iconic Vermont scene of a workman sitting among trees in a
snow-covered landscape, but in this case, the man is injecting heroin.
Brinley explains: “I did the painting, and a label was created, which
was then printed out and wrapped on a syrup can to be photographed for
the [magazine] by Fredrik Broden.” The result is a traditional-appearing
can of maple syrup sitting on a checked tablecloth, but the image on
the can is Brinley’s painting.
He calls it “a unique opportunity/collaboration” with Rolling Stone art director Mark Maltais.
Since the magazine appeared on newsstands last week, the illustration
has drawn attention and controversy in Vermont. Some residents
commenting on the website of WCAX-TV in Burlington have said the article
and illustration unfairly damage the reputation of the state and those
who work in the maple syrup industry, while others have urged policy
makers to address the state’s problem of heroin addiction.
Brinley, a 1994 graduate of UD who also earned degrees from the Art
Center College of Design in Los Angeles and a master’s degree from the
University of Hartford Art School, is an award-winning painter and
illustrator. His work has appeared in numerous national publications,
including Time, Entertainment Weekly and the New York Times magazine, as well as in gallery exhibitions.