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Anita Kunz Interview
posted: April 16, 2008
Anita Kunz...
Anita Kunz was kind enough to do an interview with me over at illoz, just published today.

I explored some of the themes I'll be discussing in a talk I'm doing for The Magazine Association of the Southeast next month in Atlanta.

Here's the interview with Anita
16 comments
Joseph Fiedler April 16, 2008
Z, this is great! Well put, thoughtful, etc...a nice trend for Illoz. Thanks A !
Robert Saunders April 16, 2008
Great job, Zimm and Anita. Important to keep the controversies alive, about illustration's influence, over-art direction, creative freedom.
Chris Buzelli April 16, 2008
Maybe its time a few illustrators started teaching art direction/design in college or how to deal with editors. I've had too many occasions when the art director said that it was the editors fault. Why is the editor in charge of text and image? I can't imagine an art director telling the editor to change the text. Since I started this business, I've watched the art director credit in the masthead of a magazine go from the top to the bottom. However, there are strong art directors that have a great working relationship with the editors. They direct the art and the editors deal with the rest. It just seems easier for all. Great article Z and Anita!
Carl "Hoot" Gilmore April 16, 2008
Magazines today are just folders for advertising, there isn't any artistic freedom anymore because most magazines are full of generic, formulaic crap. There are a few good ones, but you can't make a living off of a few good ones. The magazine business is doomed, are today's 10 year olds the next decades magazine readers? No Way. Try to make a buck before it all caves in. Hoot
Marc April 16, 2008
Great attitude, Hoot. Hope you're not in charge of anyone's education. Thanks for the super interview, Zimm and Anita. Good discussions to have and keep having within our field. Hopefully designers will begin pushing back against the trend and help steer magazines back to what made them great to begin with: ideas and opinions.
Joseph Fiedler April 16, 2008
It might look like shooting fish in a barrel to the outside but it's way far from "raking". Right?! POTENTIAL CODE 4
Tim O\'Brien April 16, 2008
There are several kinds of illustrators. One is are the new breed. They enter the market happy to have the work and self publish and shoot for shows and a gallery life to get their art out there. The next are the working illustrators. They do every job they can and don't care about shows or galleries, mainly clients. The next are the old timers. They know how it was and are thrilled to be in the game, but lament the changes. Then there are the stars. They are immune to slow downs, style changes and income dips. They run the table. Anita is a whole other breed. She's a star, a veteran illustrator, a new illustrator and a working illustrator. She is all of that. I think of her as I aim myself down the road. She's a good role model. Plus she's an amazing spirit!
Zimm April 16, 2008
We've heard The Hoot about magazines going away for what, 20 years now? History has shown we live in a much more adaptive business climate than the naysayers and intellectual troglodytes like to think. I think a more stimulating conversation is the one going on here, how publishers can attract more eyeballs with thought-provoking imagery than illustration as decoration. Thanks for all the comments, everyone!
Cathleen Toelke April 16, 2008
Zimm, thanks for the interesting questions, and Anita, thanks for your insights and especially for your candidness and an enthusiastic attitude in a challenging atmosphere. I'm hoping that the current political climate for change, which has become increasingly mainstream and which seems to have created a renewed appreciation for critical thinking, will also create an appetite for creative visual thinking. I think it's exciting, but significant change could take some time and a new focus in education. People seem to be yearning for different values than the ones that have dominated our culture. There's a gap that could be filled, especially in relevant, new ways.
Alan Witschonke April 16, 2008
We do seem to be living in a world where freedom of expression has taken a hit. I'm reminded of the cartoons that were printed in a Danish newspaper that drew the wrath of the entire Muslim world. The cartoonist and publisher were put on an infidel hit list. (To the newspaper's credit, they reprinted the cartoons to show that they wouldn't be intimidated). I don't endorse insulting anyone's religion, but I do believe that artists should not be censored -- I would hope that we play a valuable role in society in that we engage discourse and perhaps provide an opening or a starting point for people to discuss topics that they ordinarily would not. Anita was right when she said that to make a statement, particularly a political one, you will always offend someone. But maybe the consequences of that act are less important than the fact that an opinion was put on the table for people to deal with if they want to. Excellent interview Zimm and Anita. Anita, your comments were very insightful and articulate. Thank you!
Walter Vasconcelos April 16, 2008
Congratulations Zimm and Anita. Good discussions about editorial illustration and your great problems.
Adam McCauley April 16, 2008
This is one of my favorite images that I've seen of Anita's, which is saying a lot. I haven't had a chance to read the interview, but will. Great discussion.
Edel Rodriguez April 17, 2008
Zimm and Anita, great and thoughtful interview. One of the things that I think publishers don't want to do is cause too much of a stir. Zimm thinks controversy would bring readers, but many publishers think controversy gets people to cancel their subscriptions. The whirlwind of fake outrage on Cable news at some controversial magazine image does get people to cancel their subscriptions and cause advertisers to get jittery. It all rides on whether or not the editor of that particular magazine thinks the loss of subscribers is worth the uptick of the publicity and, perhaps, new subscribers. With the magazine climate as it has been for a number of years, most publishers just want to keep and hold the subscribers and advertisers they do have. I think that creates the atmosphere of cautiousness. Art departments do try very hard to push the editors and publishers, but at some point there is a "buck stops here" moment. Someone has to be responsible for what gets published. The top person is the editor/publisher, and they take the ultimate responsibility for any good or bad press. The art director isn't the one that has to go on cable news shows to defend what the magazine has done. I think a lot of this can change, and discussing it is one way to figure out ways to move forward. Art directors, editors, and publishers discuss these issues constantly. They weigh artist's expression and how best to communicate an idea all the time. Yep, Sometimes bad calls are made. Sometimes, an artist might send in an idea that they think is strong and absolutely brilliant, but it does not communicate and makes no sense to someone other than the artist. We're not just in the business of self expression, we are also in the business of communication. An artist may think they are being censored when, in fact, the idea may just not be translating very well. An important point regarding this whole censorship of art and publishing is made by Anita when she mentioned that the SI board did not let her paint more nudes on the tattooed face she illustrated. If your own people, your own industry, does not allow the artist the freedom to draw a few silly nude figures and publish it as a poster, how can we expect clients and magazines to give us the freedom? The work the industry publishes, posters, annual covers, etc., goes to all of these art departments. We should be the example, when we have the opportunity, our own industry should pick the strongest imagery for annual book covers, posters, invites, etc. Drawger gives artists a great forum to post whatever we want. The site gets seen by art directors on a regular basis and can be very influential in creating a general tone for what's acceptable as imagery in this industry. Anita, my dear friend, has a spot here where she can draw whatever she wants and help influence art directors thinking every day. I'm still waiting for her to take advantage of the opportunity. It's really easy! A lot of this can start with us.
Robert Hunt April 17, 2008
A great interview, complete with many thoughtful and insightful comments. Anita is one of the greatest ambassadors of our field. Change is a constant- but the power of great imagery is undeniable, and I believe it will always find an audience even as the venues and the business climate evolves.
Anita Kunz April 17, 2008
Sorry...I've been out of town and out of touch. Wow... I'm really moved. Thanks for all the great responses everybody and thanks for the insight Edel. I think that those of us who feel passionate about our industry want desperately for it to continue, to thrive and to be a vital part of a larger dialogue. And I'll try and contribute more...I was going to post that YouTube video of the elephant painting a picture..has everybody seen that? Sheeeeesh
Tim O\'Brien April 17, 2008
"An important point regarding this whole censorship of art and publishing is made by Anita when she mentioned that the SI board did not let her paint more nudes on the tattooed face she illustrated. If your own people, your own industry, does not allow the artist the freedom to draw a few silly nude figures and publish it as a poster, how can we expect clients and magazines to give us the freedom? " Just a point of clarification here...This was WAY before my time as a board member. It's shocking to read and it's a real indication of how far we've come. I wish I knew who objected back then. That poster was one of the best the Society ever had.