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Brian Stauffer
CA Feature Article!
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My first year in college was spent as a music major.  Something was wrong.  I didn't FEEL what I was doing. And even though I was a pretty good musician, hearing GREAT musicians confirmed that I not only wanted to be that good at something, but also to feel that connected to it.  After discussions with my parents, both artists, I decided to enroll in some design and illustration classes.  I arrived for my first class a bit early so I went over to a cabinet title "CA Library".  I don't have the slightest idea which issue it was, but I remember exactly the rush that came over me as I flipped through the pages. THIS is what I want to do. It's the vivid memory of that moment that leaves me humbled and a bit in awe that 23 years later this very same publication would run a 10 page feature profile on my work and process. 
 
Although this is not considered an award, I feel that it's a moment for which many are due thanks.  I want to thank my parents for surrounding me with art and the open space to explore.  I want to thanks my wife Alina who's presence and character and unflinching support gave me the courage and the focus to always continue forward. It's hard to overstate the power of partnering with such a wonderful woman.  I owe a tremendous thanks to two influential college professors, Ellen McMahon and Jackson Boelts. My time with them at University of Arizona in Tucson forged my faith in the power of ideas through design and illustration. And for my very first illustration assignment, thanks are due to both Fred Woodward and Gail Anderson, who while at Rolling Stone, spent precious hours with a young artist on his first trip to NYC.  
 
I would also like to take a moment to give special thanks to Rebecca Bedrossian (CA Managing Editor) and Matthew Porter (CA contributing writer).  Back in 2003 I began sending Rebecca the occasional postcard or email to share a few pieces of recent work and maybe the occasional bit of good news.  I never pushed or prodded her, believing that perhaps eventually my work might rise to the level worthy of mention in the book.  She always responded with kindness and encouragement.  Over the years I kept in touch, continuing to send along samples and updates on new ventures, always with no strings or expectations attached.  I mention this because I think it's important for folks to understand that this was not an overnight-2 years-out-of-school-they-just-discovered-my-work kinda deal.  From what I understand of the process, Rebecca continued time and again to champion my work at CA.  I'll never be able to thank you enough, Rebecca.
 
I drew a very lucky straw when it was decided that CA would fly a regular contributor and gifted writer, Matthew porter, out to Miami for a 4-day marathon interview.  Matthew has written CA profiles of artists including Sterling Hundley, and Gerard Dubois, just to name a few.  We spent more time out and about , watching folks roll cigars on 8th street, and out on the boat than we did in the studio.  Matt was warm and generous with my family.  We spent a great deal of time talking about our backgrounds, how we each arrived to this point in our lives and what we hoped for in the future.  It's an understatement to say that we forged a friendship that will remain far beyond the run of this feature.  If one is fortunate to get a feature in CA, then they are doubly so if Matthew gets the assignment. Thanks, my friend. 
 
And I wanted to also thank the community of Drawger and it's mastermind Robert Zimmerman who occasionally has to be dragged into the spotlight for his continuing contributions to promoting the craft of illustration.  Being involved and exposed to the minds of other artists has elevated my expectations of what I want out of this thing we do.  Being here is constant reminder that the work lives a larger life after it leaves the studio.  In particular I'd like to thank Drawgers' very own Marc Burckhardt, Edel Rodriguez and http://www.drawger.com/stevebrodner/,  who are mentioned in the article. Edel has been there from the beginning.  Marc has been like the brother I never had - always a bit wiser, more grounded, and setting the bar higher.  As an AD I benefitted from hours of time Steve spent on the phone encouraging me to break out into illustration.  And years later, his selection of my Peace Bomb image as the poster for his Artists Against The War exhibit turbo charged my desire to get engaged with the illustration community, creating so many new friendships with folks I once admired from afar.  Thanks gents.
 
The issue is in bookstores now and will be available online on March 10th. When it goes live I'll post a link here to view it online.  I hope all of you will pick up the issue and continue to support CA.  They are one of a handful of entities that cherish what we do.
 
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Stauffer is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!