Several months ago I was commissioned to put together a series of portraits for Galaxy Digital, the crypto merchant bank founded by financial powerhouse Mike Novogratz. The idea was pretty simple, and directly inspired by my Coindesk work from 2017: I was asked to render 10 senior members of GD as various pop culture icons based on their personalities and roles within the company.
It was a fun gig, and I ended up producing some of my favorite illustrations from last year while I was working on the series.
Kim Pillemer heads Galaxy’s Corporate Strategy and was formerly General Counsel for another blockchain asset company. Her portrait references Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter franchise, and if you zoom in, you’ll see that I’ve included pages from the Bitcoin Lightning Network and Ethereum whitepapers in the textbooks that are floating around her.
David Namdar started Galaxy with Mike Novogratz and was the one who hired me to work on this portrait series. I got to meet him in person in NYC earlier this year and it turns out he’s quite an art enthusiast! His portrait references a relatively obscure superhero TV show (and comic book character) called Legion. If you’ve ever seen the show or read any of the comics, you’ll see how David’s role as an influencer and connector made this the perfect homage.
The Mike Novogratz portrait was the first one I completed from the series, all the way back in September of 2018, and is a pretty obvious homage to Thor. This piece was the only one that went through multiple re-draws, because the final style basically the tone for the entire series.
In terms of concept, I’m happiest with the Kim P. image above, and this portrait of Pete Wisniewski. Only the hardcore comics guys will recognize that this is actually a parody of the Joker, and is directly referencing the very memorable scene from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, where he opens his jacket to reveal that it’s full of explosives.
If you liked this or any of my other cartoons, a small tip would help me dedicate more time to this hobby.