MassArt Illustration

November 4, 2015
by alice.stanne

Anita Kunz On Campus

The end of October saw the end of Anita Kunz’s wonderful Serious Wit show in the President’s Gallery. The department was honored not only to be able to display the work but to also have Anita on campus, presenting and interacting with our students. Below are pictures from the show, as well as Anita’s gallery and  artist talks.

Anita speaks with students and faculty of the Illustration department in a gallery talk.a08a05a07

All photos by Scott Bakal.


May 11, 2015
by alice.stanne

Anita Kunz – Honorary Degree Recipient

Award-winning illustrator, Anita Kunz, will receive an Honorary Degree from MassArt this year, and will speak at commencement.
Anita412Anita was greatly inspired by her uncle, who was an illustrator, and would influence her in making the decision to follow in his footsteps. He sadly died when she was 13, but she decided to go to art school, to follow her dream. She graduated Ontario College of Art in 1978. Since then Anita Kunz has lived in London, New York and Toronto, contributing to magazines and working for design firms, book publishers and advertising agencies internationally.

Anita’s portfolio has included producing cover art for many magazines including Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Time Magazine, Newsweek Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly and The New York Times Magazine. She has also illustrated more than fifty book jacket covers, and has shown her work at a number of galleries internationally.
kunzIn the fall of 2003 she was the first woman and the first Canadian to have a solo show at the Library of Congress in Washington DC. Later, in spring of 2007 Anita gave a short presentation about her New Yorker covers at the prestigious TED conference in Monterey California.

Anita has been named one of the fifty most influential women in Canada by the National Post newspaper.

In the past 10 years, Kunz has produced a body of work best described as personal work, which is now shown in galleries. She has recently received an honorary doctorate from the Ontario college of Art and Design in Toronto, and has been made an Officer of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honor.

Anita has also received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal of Honour for her work.


May 4, 2015
by alice.stanne

Visiting Artist – Dan Blakeslee

1On April 22nd, guest artist Dan Blakeslee visited MassArt and gave a presentation of his work to  Mark Reusch’s section of Sophomore Illustration and Lisa Kennedy’s Digital Illustration class.  Dan’s a well-known New England artist and musician, and has created hundreds of concert and event posters, as well as illustrations for the book, advertising, and snowboard industries.

Dan’s most iconic image in recent years is the “Hearts Over Boston” scratchboard illustration he created on the day of the Boston Marathon bombings.  After posting it on Facebook, it was shared countless times and became an emblem of Boston’s spirit in the wake of the tragedy.  Working with local screenprinters, including MassArt alum Dave DiAngelis’ Emulsion Apparel, the illustration was reproduced on t-shirts and signed prints that raised $20,000 for the One Fund.
HeartDan’s talk dealt with his experiences as a Maryland  illustration student during the 90s, to his first freelance jobs, and his later work for Burton Snowboards, the Alchemist Brewery in Vermont, and designing cd covers.  The MassArt illustration students got to view Dan’s process work for many assignments, as well as several of his hand-drawn alphabet fonts.

April 24, 2015
by alice.stanne

Visiting Artist – Sally Dean

On April 13th, Irena Roman’s Senior Illustration class hosted artist Sally Dean, who in addition to being a wonderful and versatile artist is the great granddaughter of Walter Smith, the founder of MassArt!
Sally-Dean-30-Paintings-AlphabetSally presented a PowerPoint show about her bright, colorful imagery and the variety of media she uses as an artist to achieve the look she’s after, including acrylics, watercolor and mosaics. She also shared some original artwork.

Sally straddles the line between “fine artist” and “illustrator” and her subject matter ranges from people, to animals to landscapes. Her clients range from private collectors to corporations and institutions.

You can see more of Sally’s work on her blog and website.

April 17, 2015
by alice.stanne

Visiting Artist – Seth Apter

Last month Bob Maloney’s Experimental Illustration class hosted mixed media artist Seth Apter.


Seth spoke to the students about his process and brought several of his works for the students to view, including his incredible artist’s book, Handbook as well as a beautiful found object piece, and several of his sketchbooks. More of Seth’s work can be viewed his website as well as his blog The Altered Page.

February 2, 2014
by alice.stanne

Victo Ngai Presentation at MassArt


Attention to all Illustration Students! We have a very special guest coming in to speak to the department – Victo Ngai!

Victo has recently worked for The New Yorker, The New York Times, McDonald’s TigerBeer, MTA NY Art for Transit, ADIDAS Hong Kong, Sundance Film Festival and many others and has won multiple medals from the Society of Illustrators and has been accepted into every other major illustration and design competition.

Recently, she was honored with being listed on the Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 for Art & Design.

This is a special treat and everyone should attend this rare visit.

Place: Tower Building, Room 659
Time: Tuesday, February 11th, 6:30pm




December 5, 2013
by alice.stanne

Interview with Visiting Artist Becca Stadtlander

Interview by Assistant Professor Scott Bakal

We had a wonderful guest speaker, Becca Stadtlander come visit a few classes to talk about her work, her start as an illustrator and also do a demo of her painting process. Now living in Rhode Island, at such a young age and only a few years since she’s graduated from MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) she has quickly grown her business in a way that would make the most seasoned illustrators jealous.

Becca has worked for The New York Times, American Greetings, HarperCollins, Hodder & Soughton, Clarion, Jamie Oliver Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, O – The Oprah Magazine, Brown Publishing, Ladies Home Journal, Family Circle and many more. You can also find her awarded works in the 3×3 Illustration Annual and the Society of Illustrators Annual.

You can find her work at: 

After her presentation, I sat down with her to have a brief conversation for our blog about what it is like, in her experience, to be an illustrator.

Scott Bakal: Hello Becca! Thank you for visiting MassArt! It is always a treat to have guests come in and speak with our students. You were very generous with sharing your relatively short yet very full career with the students as well as giving a demo of your painting technique. Your work is unique and has attracted some wonderful clients such as the Saturday Evening Post, the New York Times and Candlewick Press. Can you talk about how you got to where you are now with your work and personal voice as an illustrator?

Becca Stadtlander: Hello!  Thanks again for having me!  It was a great experience getting to hang out with you and the wonderful students of MassArt.  My work is still evolving, and it’s gone through many stages since my time in school. I struggled, in the beginning- trying to figure out what I liked/disliked and how I wanted my work to represent who I was.  I tried all different techniques (and made a mess of most of them), but it wasn’t until I embraced my mistakes and intuition, that I began to find my voice.

Scott: You found your visual voice while you were still in school, which you noted during your lectures. Once that was settled and your felt confident in your work, I want to ask about the steps you took to begin a life as a working artist. It’s an interesting topic because everyone generally has different methods of promotion and running a business. When you were about to graduate, what are some of the actions you took in the beginning and what are you doing now to promote and maintain your business? Are there any day-to-day things you do? Are there things you do in the long term?

Becca: The first thing I did was created and maintained a presence online.  Today’s tech savvy world makes it nearly impossible to be proactive about entrepreneurship without the internet.  I made a blog and slowly learned how to create a smart looking portfolio website that I could maintain myself.  Once I was satisfied with my professional image, I started sending out emails and postcards to art directors. I also submitted to any illustration competition, annual, and directory that I could think of. Now that I’ve found my footing, I try my best to post new work weekly and keep professional, positive relationships with the clients I work with in the hopes of getting hired again.

Scott: You’re obviously keeping yourself busy with your work but what do you do that is outside of your illustration work that keeps you inspired – even if it is another art form? What do you enjoy doing?

Becca: Most of my free time is spent reading books and fashion magazines, cooking, shopping, listening to music, watching movies, and browsing the internet.  I always have an audiobook, podcast or YouTube video playing.  I also enjoy some handcrafts when I have the time (mostly knitting) because it’s really relaxing to me.  I get inspiration from all these things!  It’s an important part of my process to know what I like and why I like it.

Scott: Yes! Having other forms of inspiration has certainly been key to have the continued drive to keep working and attempting/achieving goals. In the future, let’s say 5 year’s from now – where would you like to see yourself? Do you have a long range plan or have goals that you want to attempt? What are some of your dreams?

Becca: Like I touched upon the previous question, I would like to teach eventually, so I hope that the opportunity comes along.  I would also like to be working as a children’s book illustrator because I think it’s amazing and fun, but I know that will require me to work on my style more.  My dream is to work as illustrator for my entire life, so in 5 years I hope to be working at healthy pace with hopefully better work in my portfolio and more clients. I hope to move back to Kentucky and get reacquainted with my hometown, being happy and healthy, doing what I love.

Thank you Becca for inspiring our students and we look forward to seeing you again!

Photos by Scott Bakal, artwork courtesy of Becca Stadtlander