Brendan Totten
(Not) At Your Service


Commissioned | Professional

Why did you make this work:
The assignment was to depict the emotional crisis point that a lot of food service and hospitality workers were (and are) in during the COVID-19 pandemic. In an industry that, even in good times, was known for employment insecurity, variable pay, and poor to non-existent employment benefits, workers are dealing with even lower wages, high exposure risk and customer hostility to safety precautions.

How was the illustration used:
Printed full page with the feature article of the May '21 issue of Rhode Island Monthly, as well as online with the same article on

How did you make this work:
Line work drawn in graphite, then scanned and colored digitally.

Commissioner Name :
Doreen Chisnell
Commissioner Company :
Rhode Island Monthly

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Personal Website:

Currently Based:

Brendan Totten is a Rube Goldberg machine that converts coffee into drawings, prints and illustrations. Originally cobbled together from spare parts in and around Washington D.C., his mechanisms were refined at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. When not whirring and clattering away on artwork, Brendan can be found in the company of crickets attempting to gain sentience.