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American Illustration 39

2020: In a year like no other, we are pleased to present an advance look at the American Illustration 39 annual award book, showcasing the best images from 2019 in hardcover as selected by a distinguished jury of art and design experts.

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American Illustration 39, under the creative direction and design of Debra Bishop, art director for The New York Times Magazine Lab, along with Natasha Tibbott and Overlap One Another, presents an original cover with artwork by Nathan Devlin, a student at OCAD University, on a hardcover book inserted into a printed, foil debossed, two-color, glossy slipcase box with "X O" design embossed in relief.

AI39 is 384 pages, printed four-color offset on uncoated 150gsm art paper and uses Graphik typeface. From over 7,000 submissions, the 348 jury-selected images are generously reproduced one image per page. 

See the winning collections in The ARCHIVE with creative credits and contact for the artists. Order your discount copy here.

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Tucked deep inside AI39 is a small tribute to Milton Glaser, a renowned and beloved artist we lost this year who made a large impact on the industry though his numerous artwork and graphic design contributions, and had a significant and often times very personal influence on many illustrators and designers.
 

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AI39 PRINTED and CENSORED in CHINA

There’s a troubling significance to five of the following winning illustrations shown in spreads from the book by JIALUN DENG, JIYEUN KANG, NICOLAS ORTEGA, EDEL RODGRIGUEZ, and MATTHEW ROTA that goes beyond their assigned purpose and visual impact in a story that involves cultural and political suppression.

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In October 2020, in the days leading up to the press run for this book, a Chinese government authority, who had previously reviewed the book over the summer, ordered production be shut down at the printing plant in mainland China unless five images by five illustrators that contained Chinese subject matter were removed.

 

We refused to do so, but with no options, a decision was made based on the circumstances, schedule and budget to remove the five images and continue printing the book in China. In protest, the pages where the images were removed have been printed blank with only the illustrator's name and a statement of explanation, only to find that China had also censored our words. We did NOT replace the images as China suggested with “less offensive” images as an action of dissent; with on the artists name remaining as proof that something is missing from the page. In cooperation and in mutual resistance against the autocratic power, our printer in Hong Kong, where Chinese power and their undemocratic bullying is at present less intrusive, printed the five images as separate page inserts and include them in the book, without comment or explanation as ordered.

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We understand our complicity in printing in China and are fully aware of the censorship concerns going forward. We are therefore exploring alternate printing options for next year’s annual book in order to uphold quality and ethical concerns in properly and affordably celebrating the winning image collection in hardcover.





 

AP36

Designed by Ben Grandgenett
Cover by Bobby Doherty

AI39

Designed by Debra Bishop
Cover by Nathan Devlin