The Nation celebrates its 150 anniversary this month with a splashy 200+ page special issue (download the entire pdf for free HERE!) I am very honored to have been asked to participate. I chose to highlight the six most influential editors going back to right after the Civil War. Next to each is a scrambled doodle concoction of pertinent events. The Nation is essential reading for me each week and has been for over 20 years. American history is a recurring dream (or nightmare) with many of the same events getting up in new clothes before coming at us again. Greed, poverty, racism, war, reform. We see them anew each generation. Seeing how all the generations of activists have dealt with them makes us stronger for the current and battles to come. Especially given current events, The Nation has never been more urgently needed than right now.
E.L. Godkin, fervent abolitionist. But then the original Mr. 1%.
Carey McWilliams, editor during the post-WWII years. A great campaigner against McCarthyism, for civil rights and peace.
Katrina vanden Heuvel, current editor and a great one; fighting for all the right causes. Warning of a new cold war, as well as precious rights being stripped away at home. Expanding the Nation online and onto devices everywhere. And a great supporter of illustration by the way. Great thanks to her, Roane Carey, D.D, Guttenplan, and Robert Best, Creative Director who made it all work.
The doodle-goria was very inspired by the work of John Hendrix who puts more great ideas in a small space than anyone ever.
To my Beltway friends please feel very welcome to drop around the Johns Hopkins Homewood Campus in Baltimore next Monday. I've been invited to do a talk about being an illustrator in these times and . . . in the way-back. I think I will do a reverse show this time; starting with the newest and work back. This way I will be able to show new things before everybody faints. I figure you have a good 18 1/2 minutes to work with. As Nixon said to Rosemary Woods. Anyway, as I make the Powerpoint, here are some new things, or pieces of them, I am considering.
The newest would be this for on Oscar Outtakes for The Hollywood Reporter. Neil Patrick Harris didn't actually do the ice bucket thing on Streep and Moore but did do the tidey whities routine. We also had him in a Stephen Hawking wheelchair opening number. There were 4 more in this story. The result of a pitch to AD Peter Cury who really made this happen.
Here's a detail of the piece shown above: my Ship of Fools cover for The Nation. Just as the GOP's "governing majority" shows what it really is: a wreck. Thanks to Robert Best, Roane Carey, Katrina Vanden Heuvel.
Here's the father of Fiddler on the Roof, Sholem Aleichem for an online mag.
Hillary Clinton, in "Dumbest Quotes of 2014" for GQ, states that corporations don't create jobs.
Conservative BS is plentiful enough without liberals giving them competition. Gotta keep an eye on that Hillary. There were 24 total illos in that series.
For a life of Jerry Brown for The LA Times, a full pager. Some ten illos. Writing by me, as in the others so far.
The Nation asked me to prepare a piece of art to present to the great author Toni Morrison at a dedicatory dinner, with one limitation: no likenesses of her allowed. Apparently, she doesn't even like photographs. We hit on the idea of drawing her books! They all have interesting covers so it made for an exciting assignment. She said to me with a big smile, "It's beautiful, I love it." Very thrilled. She is a favorite author of mine, probably of yours too.
For the wonderful Robert Priest + Grace Lee, in 8X8 magazine, Sepp Blatter, the perfectly named head of the World Cup. Sleazy, corrupt, rude, ugly. In short, my kind of people.
This was also the year I got to work with one of my favorite designers and people, Soojin Buzelli . . . just before her getting a richly deserved Gangel Award at the SI last month. We collaborated on CIO magazine's Awards Issue. The challenge here was to render portraits of people I had no idea about the identity of. Also I didn't want to offend anyone (without cause). It meant a cover and 11 full pages and two spots. All done by Monday. Actually I had about a month. But it felt like a Monday deadline. Anyway, here's a couple of them (whoever they are).
Another of my favorite designers is Len Small who has made of Nautilus a mecca of modern illustration. He stands at the nexus of science and the humanities, print and digital, art that is beautiful and also tells an important story. Here, for a piece on varieties of genius. As in Lincoln as well as Einstein.
In spite of all the dispruptions we see everywhere, we are lucky to have the media and graphic design world that we have today, thanks to the people who are in it. I feel so grateful for the priviledge of working with them!
I've been teaching at SVA lo these 20 years. I began in the Continuing Ed world. Now teaching sophomores and seniors. And after being asked, beginning an evening class again. It's a different scene at night. Grown-ups, people who have been working in the graphic arts awhile or wanting to make a change. The conversations are different. I missed it. So here it is, beginning next week (still openings I understand). SB's Open SVA Night Class.
This falls, it turns out, on the same week as I am honored by this profile of my teaching career along with 8 colleagues in the NY Observer by Cynthia Cotts: click here: Top of the Class: Some of NYC’s Leading Professors Share Their Secrets
I am grateful to SVA, The Observer and most of all, all my students over all the years, who have given me so many golden gifts.
What follows are a few illustrated thoughts about why I love teaching.
I was asked this week by The New York Observer to contribute something to a section on the Paris atrocity. So much as been said. I wish the families and in fact all of us the strength to get through this time. Our lives and democracy are under siege. I knew Tignous, judged a Dogan contest with him in Istanbul. A more gentle, funny, light-hearted soul you would never meet. This is a world gone dangerously mad in 3D. Rather than draw another brave artist (can't get enough of those) I wanted to discuss the nexus between the terrorists and the far right in Europe. There is a neo-Nazi group in many countries waiting for such events to seize power as the Bushcheneys did here. Fascism surrounds. Know your enemy, I would like to say, it isn't Islam. It is Fascim and hate.