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American Illustration 33

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For its 33rd annual volume that honors the year’s best editorial, book, advertising, poster and fine art illustration in hardcover, American Illustration wraps itself in all black using organic uncoated paper stocks and genuine cloth, representing the sophistication of the works inside. The simple black-on-black elegance of this, the latest in a series for celebrated annual books, is continued inside with a “little black book” that offers the names of the artists, captions and creative credits for each of the images in the collection, along with existential musings presented in verse anonymously, one for each of the 212 featured artists.

 

The beauty of the packaging culminates with the original artwork created by South Korean artist Daehyun Kim on a double-sided jacket. The two images continue his Moonassi series, based on the artist’s daily thoughts with no specific story or background. The face, drawn without expression with no gender, time or place, is borrowed from old Buddhist paintings, and the simple black clothing enables the viewer to focus on the gestures. AI33 was under the co-creative direction and design of Len Small, art director of Nautilus magazine and Esther Wu. The two met while enrolled in the School of Visual Arts MFA Design program.

 

The heart of AI33 however lies within the collection of winning images, selected by a jury of top art and design professionals. From over 9,720 images submitted to the competition by 1,439 illustrators, magazines, publishers, agencies and schools, the jury selected only 383 images to represent the best of the year. As always, each image is generously presented one image per page in large format, printed out of context from its original assigned purpose. The images, standing on their own as works of art, worthy of the page, are evidence that only the best illustrations survive to be preserved for the ages.

 

This year’s distinguished jury included Steve Byram, Artist and Designer, Screw Gun Records; Chris Dixon, Design Director, Vanity Fair; Marti Golon, Art Director, Reader’s Digest; Amy Hausmann, Deputy Director, MTA Arts for Transit & Urban Design; Peter Morance, Art Director, The New York Times; Len Small, Art Director, Nautilus; and Alex Spiro, Creative Director, co-Founder, Nobrow.

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Cover by Christopher Griffith
Design by Robert Festino

Cover by Jon Han
Design by Richard Turley