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News 'Rolling Stone' art

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UD painter's work illustrates article on rural heroin epidemic

The magazine illustration was created using David M. Brinley's painting, lettering by Jon Valk and a photo by Fredrik Broden.

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.

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David Brinley created a painting that appears in Rolling Stone magazine as an illustration for an article about heroin use in rural America.

David Brinley, associate professor of art, created a painting that appears in Rolling Stone magazine as part of a dramatic and controversial illustration for an article about the growing problem of heroin addiction in rural America.

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