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Brian Stauffer
March 2010
The iPad Cometh,What's An Artist To Do?
posted:
Is April 3rd the beginning of the end for the printed word?  Will we all find ourselves with wide-open expanses of newly available space on our bookshelves?  Are our fears of books moving into a new realm realistic? This was the idea I had in mind when I created this gallery piece for Jason Treat at The Atlantic. The art appears in the current issue. 
 
Unless you've been under a rock for the past year, you've probably wondered what this means to those of us who make our lives in the realm of print publications.  I sure have.  And I must say, I'm still not sure sure how this all will shake out. The best-case scenario is one similar to the creation of the microwave oven.  It hasn't replaced the traditional oven, but actually created an entirely new line of products that benefitted from the speed and ease that a traditional oven cannot offer.
 
I know many of us are fearful about what these devices will do to our industry and our livelihoods.  But my biggest fear is that we are afraid of change, and all the possibilities that it brings - that we will not lead publishers in new ways of using our work in this non-linear environment. If we are seen as an impediment, will we not become irrelevant? Wouldn't we rather suggest new ways for our work to advance in this new form?  If we don't, someone else will.
 
And perhaps this is a wake-up call for publishers of print to focus on what only print does - to find new forms that exploit its' physical nature.  Even the most minor publications carry an essence of the legacy that print benefits from. My hope is that print will find a new way to exploit the things it does better than digital media and that the creation of the iPad will actually represent an expansion of opportunities for artists and writers. 
 
That's my ¢¢.  I'd love to hear yours.
 
ps- Notice the cameo of the drawger front page in the illo.
 
  
PAKISTAN OP-ED
posted:
This was a faster than usual last minute assignment from Aviva Michaelov over at the New York Times OP-ED page which ran in yesterday's paper.  This one went from assignment to final in just over 2 hours.  There's something about that kind of pressure that really crystalizes the process.  No time for anxiety or fear, just searching for a solution.  Thanks Aviva, for thinking of me.
The editorial discussed the new willingness and determination that Pakistan is exhibiting, as of late, when it comes to battling the Taliban within their border regions and major cities.  Major operations have brought important captures of Al Qaeda and Taliban upper management.  (article here)
I've included details of the final electronic file as well as the printed version.  And even though a lot of detail and line gets lost in the blunt force of newspaper printing, I really like the textures that the printing process creates.
The image is basically made of a line drawing that was collaged-in with bits and pieces of an old camera advertisement from the 60's.  Recognize any of the little bits?
Not the easiest shape to wrap text around. Sorry 'bout that.
Detail 1. Lots of line and collaged bits and pieces combines with my textures.
Detail 2.
Detail of printed image. A lot of information in the image gets lost but I just love newsprint so much.
CA Feature Article!
posted:
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!