Brian Stauffer
October 2008
A Friend Passes
On Monday night, after 11 years, our wonderful dog Chip curled up at the foot our children's bed and peacefully slipped into a deep coma and had to be put down.  We had scheduled it for tuesday morning following the past several weeks trying to rehabilitate him from seizures and a stroke, so I guess it's all for the best. He passed in the most ideal way I guess, an ending befitting of the life we tried to give him.
For those of you who never met Chip, he was an exceptional personality who experienced amazing travels and witnessed historical events.  We saw Chip and his brothers and sisters shortly after his birth by a breeder in Southport, Connecticut in the summer 1997.  At 5 weeks-old we went back to make our pick.  Each of the puppies had a string around their necks with a single colored bead, a different color for each dog.  They were placed in the middle of an open field with us and we played with them until one puppy clearly sought a connection with us.   
Although many thought I was crazy, I left a lucrative day job as a designer (and part-time illustrator) because I couldn't stand to leave him alone during the day.  He's a big part of what led to my decision to go full-time freelance from home.  He used to sit behind me in my studio chair, standing on his hind legs with his paws on my shoulders, begging me to throw a stick or take him fishing in the Saugatauk and Housatonic rivers.
He was with us on 9/11 at our studio/loft in NYC, only 2 blocks from the towers.  Chip was on the roof of the building with me when the second plane hit.  He evacuated with Alina and me and about 5 other people off the South Street seaport in the back of a small police boat.  The boat captain backed-out of the dock so fast that the entire birth of the boat was flooded with about 2 feet of water.  Chip was so happy to splash and jump around in the water, creating a moment of sunshine for the folks on the boat.
The kids are quite upset, especially Andy. We're all sharing stories about the fun we had with him and that seems to be keeping the perspective where I think Chip would like it.  Andy said that Chip was still alive inside his memory.  Julian wanted to know if we could use fur that Chip had shed to make a blanket or something soft, which immediately brought mind the many times he would curl up next to Chip on the floor and rub one of his ears while sucking his thumb.
There is a bit relief today.  I realize now how consumed I've been, knowing that I might have to intervene.  That weight is much lighter. He taught us so much.  He taught the boys that some creatures love effortlessly and unconditionally, that they love us as the people we hope to one day be.
This puppy picture was taken the day we brought him home at 9 weeks.  I carried him from the car and set him down on the wet lawn.  He didn't move, he just looked up at me with his timeless "what's next?" look.  What's next now is that when I come up for the American Illustration party on the 13th I'm bring Chip's ashes to CT where Alina and the boys will meet me to return him to his favorite rivers and streams.
He will be missed by many.
Chippy on the day we brought him home.
Chip, the day before his first seizures, guarding the scuba gear.
In response to numerous requests
Death Wish
A recent New Times 2-part cover assignment is another chapter in the bizarre dramas that are happening in the homes all around us. 
For example, A devout Mormon wife who's husband is having an affair  believes she is summoned by God to die attempts to kill herself by jumping from a cliff.  Her clothing snags on a tree branch and she is saved.  And although her husband ends the affair, the wife writes a long series of letters including on to the her husbands former lover, explaining that the woman needs to take care of her family after she joins the Lord.
The woman is eventually found dead her bathtub.  The evidence points to suicide but the husband is charged with murder.
This image appears as the 2nd cover of the 2 cover series. It's my favorite of the 2.
This is the 1st cover of the series. Unfortunately they decided to run the art with the figure facing upward. They warned me that they wanted to, but I argued against it, feeling that it was a much less compelling image facing up.
The bath image sketch.
The jump sketch.
I don;t always do this, but in this case I only did one sketch for each of these covers.  The ideas came quick and felt right. 
And Now For Something Completely Different
Anyone who's seen my svelte, 6'6" 250lb profile knows that I'm ALL about fashion. 
Ok, so I may not be the most delicate flower in the bouquet but I've been interested for quite a while in expanding my appeal by doing work that is a bit more lifestyle oriented.  By lifestyle I mean upbeat day-in-the-life, not day-in-the-life of the Manson family.
I guess I resisted this type of work because it's seemed more style driven than concept driven and I've never felt that style has been my strong suit.  Anyhow, I enjoyed doing these and am planning on venturing into music related imagery as well I'm excited to potentially find myself scewering a Presidential candidate one moment and then exploring a lighter topic the next.  I need some balance.
These three pieces are from a recent series of mailings.  So far, the response has been great.
When the issues turn against you, attack the character
I'm disgusted with the Republican Party leaders.  They claim to be the party of values and morality while spewing fiction as fact in the same breath.  They've lowered the bar of validity to the election process by irresponsibly nominating a candidate who's major victory is that she didn't fall apart under pressure during the last debate.
But rather than address why they are losing on the issues, they've sent out their newest footsoldier to reach out and distract Joe sixpack with claims that Obama is a friend of terrorism.
Numerous mainstream news agencies including The New York Times, Washington Post, Time, and now CNN have revealed this latest salvo as a baseless hatchet job. I've been so impressed with how the Obama camp has used the Internet to directly and quickly go after these swift boat tactics.  I just wanted to do my part in getting the facts straight.
Send this article to a Republican who claims the high moral ground
"Gotcha" Illustration?
Nevermind "Putin rearing his head", according to the recent Republican response to widespread criticisms of Palin's performance in interviews, the real enemy is The Media. 
If basic questions asked to challenge and, dare I say, seek a more detailed picture of a candidates' knowledge and philosophy on world issues are considered "Gotcha Journalism", then this is the single most blatant attempt to lower the bar in modern history. 
For the past 8 years the Republican party has fed America a steady diet of fear mongering fueled by a sympathetic and sleepy and brow beaten press core.  Now that a series of transparent poltical manipulations have awakened the mighty microphone, the repubs are returning to a clinton-era old standard, the attacks of the Liberal Media.  If there's one great lesson for them here, it's that in today's world of information, hiding is only slightly better for your candidate than facing tough "gotcha" questions like, "What publications do you read?"
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Stauffer is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!