Minneapolis artist Bill Ferenc is a man of wide-ranging interests. Hip-hop, Harry Potter, skateboarding, outer space—all of these subjects and more are depicted in his charming and colorful illustrations.
In search of an unexpected and unique way to celebrate MSP Airport, as well to showcase the airport’s iconic shops and restaurants, we asked Ferenc to create an illustration for MSP. From sushi at Shoyu to reading at Red Balloon to the oversized bull at Barrio, his delightful image (above) perfectly captures the airport’s eclectic and vibrant atmosphere.
Ferenc’s work can now be seen as a wall mural on Concourse C, near Gate 22, as well as on banners in the Terminal 1-Lindbergh Ticketing Lobby.
Throughout the process, we learned a lot about the man behind the paintbrush. Here’s his take on art, inspiration, and classic cartoons.
- Day job: By day, I’m a designer for the Manhattan Toy Company (ironically based in Minneapolis). I get to draw cute animals and patterns and design fun products for babies and kids.
- Main medium: Lately I’ve been working digitally in Illustrator and Photoshop. Typically I’ll start by drawing and painting on paper, then scan the components onto the computer to create the final piece.
- Signature style: Friendly and adventurous. I grew up watching classic cartoons like Looney Tunes and Dexter’s Laboratory and reading Calvin & Hobbes. I like to think that my work has similar stylistic sensibilities—wit, humor, and, hopefully, sophistication.
- Artistic inspiration: Color and texture, outer space, science fiction, and children’s books. I adore the work of Oliver Jeffers, Carson Ellis, and Isabelle Arsenault. Arsenault illustrated Jane, the Fox, and Me, which is fantastic.
- Approach to MSP: I wanted to capture all the activity and movement in the airport—people hurrying about, planes flying overhead, and the tram and luggage carts moving through. Everything orbits around the globe and the State of Minnesota suitcase in the center of the image. Food and other iconic MSP imagery are larger-than-life so they become points of interest in the piece. It’s exciting, happy, and a little whimsical.
- Dream project: I would love to illustrate a children’s book. There’s something special about children’s books—they’re silly and fun and people of all ages can enjoy them.