This Week's SPD Guest Editor: Steve Brodner

This Week's SPD Guest Editor: Steve Brodner BRODNERSIGNER.jpg[A note from the SPD Grids Editors: This is the third in our ongoing series of Guest Editors. Steve Brodner is an illustrator, artist, journalist, teacher, and all-around graphic provocateur who has been responsible for some of the most memorable publication imagery of the past 30 years. His work has been collected in the book Freedom Fries: The Political Art of Steve Brodner, published by Fantagraphics. Steve will be sharing his work and selections from some of his favorite illustrators, along with some very smart graphic and political commentary during the coming week. Consider this a healthy antidote to last week's election results! Many thanks to Steve for his generous and enthusiastic contribution to the SPD site.]

By Steve Brodner
There is nothing wrong with your computer. It's just SPD taking temporary leave of its good common sense and giving the guest editor keys for the next week to me. I've been an artist/journalist in media since the president was an unpopular, brooding, dispirited, secretive bomber of people overseas. No, not him, I mean Nixon. Since then I've gone from drawing editorial cartoons for daily newspapers to rendering political and cultural stories for top magazines and websites.


Nixon Obama replacement.jpgThis journey has included many stories reported, written and illustrated on such topics as the Clinton impeachment, guns in Philadelphia and what it's like to climb Mount Fuji. I've also dabbled in video at great expense to The New Yorker, PBS and Slate. All the while I have been amazed and grateful at how a visual artist can arrange (through great luck and lots of sweat) to join the national conversation on the questions, great and small, of our time.

For me it has always come down to point-of-view. This simple idea is at the core of my work as well as those of colleagues I most respect. No impact in narrative is possible without it. This is also, of course, true in design. So, in the posts to come, please forgive this overarching liberty I and my friends will take; the idea that art may occupy a zone of social and political dialogue with editors, viewers, politicians; engaging in commentary. Some of these images may piss you off. If that happens please enjoy the rush and consider it an invitation to dish some ideas yourself. That, to me, is what democracy looks like. The great value in all this is the breaking of the every day torpor that buries dealing with the larger, urgent, seemingly insoluble questions we face. Confronting them, however, is the first step in a kind of group recovery from the, in my view, corporate takeover we have been gradually experiencing. Illustration and design have a great tradition (and current part to play) in connecting, clarifying and illuminating ideas. This will be an increasingly important role, as expanding challenges to the world are met with increasing paralysis in public life and government. The graphic arts' ability to illuminate will be more valuable than ever.

(Photograph of Steve Brodner by Greg Preston)

Visit Steve Brodner's website for illustrations, news, great links, resources, and more.

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Guest editor Steve Brodner hard at work.
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