American Illustration 35
Art isn’t easy. Illustration is harder, with creators asked by their commercial clients to interpret, conceive, make, convey, enlighten, provoke and, in some cases, transform the viewers take on all matters that concern global politics, the environment, conflicts, advertising, science, finance, books, fashion, food, travel, education and every corner of pop culture – all under tight deadlines with reduced budgets. This is precisely why, for over 30 years, American Illustration has gathered a group of art and design experts to review work that was produced over the past year and select the best pieces to celebrate, honor and preserve a powerful art form that can be as heedlessly ubiquitous (and disposable) as what’s seen on a cereal box, but can all too often help change the world.
As our insatiable desire for images grows, illustrators are determined to deliver original works through both traditional and unconventional means and methods. Print publications still require the keen eye of top artists to enliven their stories, while many online publications and news agencies (with smart art directors) have begun to find ways of using inspired art to accompany their articles. Illustration has no bounds in terms of its content our usage, with illustration finding its way in advertising, books as expected, and in more and more unexpected venues such as fine art galleries, murals, installations, merchandise, fashion and museums.
In a year that brought the anticipation of a presidential campaign, two deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, refugees of a civil war desperate to find a new home, the loss of artist David Bowie, countless shootings of young black men by the police and gender inequality issues finally making headlines, the jury selected only 337 images from over 10,000 submitted to our annual competition to represent the best illustration of the year 2015.
American Illustration 35 pulls no punches (and spares no expense) in presenting the winning artists and their acclaimed works in a deluxe, hardcover tome, luxuriously printed and bound this year in an embossed and die-cut slipcase box. Created by illustrator and comic artist Benjamin Marra, the book features an original wrap-around cover depicting a future despotic society in which truth is built on a foundation of myths, life is an afterthought and liberty, civility and the pursuit of happiness have all been sold to the highest bidder. (A parental advisory label may be required). AI35 is under the creative direction and design by Matt Dorfman, illustrator and art director for the New York Times Book Review.
This year’s distinguished AI35 jury included SooJin Buzelli, Creative Director, SVP, Asset International; Ken DeLago, Creative Director, Golf Digest; Matt Dorfman, Art Director, The New York Times Book Review; Lisa Kelsey, Design Director, Family Circle; Alissa Levin, Principal, Point Five Design; David Sleight, Design Director, ProPublica; and Marlene Szczesny, Art Director, The Wall Street Journal.
AI35 is 384 gilded pages and includes the year’s most anticipated gallery in print. Quantities limited. Order your copy here.
In contrast to the distopic cover art, the embossed slipcase offers another take on society: Hold fast to the gold, the silver, the retainers, the unexchanged offshore dividends, the as-yet-deposited residuals, the titles, the deeds, the deluxe miles, the royal suites, the ringside seats, the loose dirhams, the original Dix, the legal aides, the Romanée-Conti 1990, the Cheval Blanc 1947, the Massandra 1775, the fatty toro, the Blond d'Aquitane côte de bœuf, the mineralized Tuscan kale, the ivory toothpicks, the contour-customized Japanese washlets, the valerian root, the Egyptian cotton, the white noise apps, the monogrammed epaulets, the spider silk, the jade vines hung over the fireplace, the reclaimed oak hardwood, the lemon and hibiscus water filtration, the backyard solar thermal collectors, the cobra farm, the even and measured civil discourse, the round-table innovation initiatives, the autocratic largesse, and the endless thrum of slumbering echoes.
– Matt Dorfman