American Illustration 31
At age 31 - defiantly designed as an object of beauty and debate - American Illustration can still be trusted to shake things up by presenting the year’s most subversive work by illustrators, fine artists and designers. Like a rebel with a cause, American Illustration 31 draws you in with an anatomical cover that shows you where you’re going and where you’re coming from with the first and last images revealed through multiple die cuts. Created by Zachary Zezima and designed by Paul Sahre, the cover art turns in on itself with layers of musculature, “eye floaters,” and blood vessels depicted on the jacket, case and endpapers until you reach the whopping collection of 439 winning images as selected by a jury of art and design professionals from over 8,000 submissions to the annual competition. This year’s jury included: Jen Bekman, 20x200; Steven Charny, Rolling Stone; Robert Festino, Men’s Health; John Gall, Random House; Aviva Michaelov, The New York Times Op-Ed; Veronica Reo, Young & Rubicam; and Paul Sahre, O.O.P.S.
As illustration continues to morph and evolve with an entrepreneurial zeal into a medium that’s more widely utilized, yet less-obviously defined, opening American Illustration 31 may leave the reader with more questions than answers as they sink into its visual wonders. Print reigns supreme with images from the country’s top magazines and books with the year’s definitive portraits of assassinated leaders Osama bin Laden and Muammar Qaddafi by Tim O’Brien for TIME. As always, “lowbrow vs. highbrow” has a firm place in the collection with an intriguing selection of little oddities and gems that defy categorization, including a stamp project for the United Nations Postal Administration by Sergio Baradat and a set of limited-edition coins for The Royal Canadian Mint by Gary Taxali.