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New Yorker cover artist Ivan Brunetti reveals the full range of his art, in Aesthetics: A Memoir
In Aesthetics: A Memoir, Brunetti traces his artistic trajectory and output, from youthful doodles to his latest cover illustrations and comic strips.

NEW HAVEN, CONN.- Ivan Brunetti, critically acclaimed and award-winning cartoonist, author, New Yorker cover artist, and university professor, reveals his personal aesthetics in a new book, Aesthetics: A Memoir, published by Yale University Press. The eye popping illustrated retrospective opens a window into the mind and artistic process of a fascinating contemporary artist, containing plenty of surprises for readers both familiar and unfamiliar with the author’s highly praised work.

Born to working class parents in a small town in Italy, and reared in Chicago, Ivan Brunetti (b. 1967) was drawn to cartoons and comic strips from an early age. Finding inspiration in Spider Man and Peanuts, he began crafting his own stories and gradually developed a unique style that he applied to imaginative, sometimes shocking subjects. The dark, scathing humor of his early graphic novels—notably the series Schizo—earned him a cult following, yet his illustrations have had broad appeal. Now recognized as a masterful cartoonist and illustrator, Brunetti has published his work in the New Yorker (often as a cover artist), the New York Times Magazine, and McSweeney’s, among others.

In Aesthetics: A Memoir, Brunetti traces his artistic trajectory and output, from youthful doodles to his latest cover illustrations and comic strips. The book unearths a trove of previously unpublished materials, including working drawings, sketches for cartoons, book covers, personal photographs, and items from the artist’s collection of toys and remarkable handmade objects. In an introductory essay and captions, Brunetti explains—in a voice that is as quirky, smart, and clear as his drawings—his creative process and aesthetic sensibility. This overarching retrospective conveys Brunetti’s philosophy of life and art-making through his keen words and unforgettable images.

Brunetti previewed the book last month at TCAF, the Toronto Comics Arts Festival, and made an appearance alongside Art Spiegelman at the Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest in early June. The breadth of his appeal is such that both the Paris Review—which ran an enticing excerpt from the book on its website on June 12—and the Comics Reporter (which hailed the book as “the happiest surprise of the year” immediately upon its release) have embraced the new volume with enthusiasm, alongside Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly.

Brunetti—whose highly praised Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice won a 2012 Eisner Award and was hailed by Publishers Weekly as an “enormously empowering” guide— continues to serve as an inspiration for aspiring cartoonists, and many established ones as well. With Aesthetics: A Memoir, however, he not only broadens his art into three dimensions through the inclusion of numerous photographs of his handmade objects, but in the process offers inspiration for aspiring artists and designers of all kinds.

Yale University Press has also released a book trailer and announced a Brunetti–inspired contest on its blog. In his voiceover to the video, Brunetti, who has taught courses on editorial illustration and comics at the University of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago, states:

“As a teacher, I like to encourage my students to explore their own past and explore the things that shaped them. And from there, I think you can use that as raw material . . . I don’t think anyone should be ashamed of where they came from or the things that aesthetically shaped them.”

His ambitions for the book are admirably in keeping with this attitude:

“I’m sure people will look at my drawing style and think, ‘That’s pretty simple. I can do that.’ And actually, I think that’s good. That’s what I want people to say. Hopefully it will inspire someone . . . That’s my hope really: that people will look through [the book] and just feel inspired to make something of their own and start valuing whatever it is they make.”

Aesthetics: A Memoir by Ivan Brunetti * Price $25.00 * ISBN: 978-0-300-18440-2 Cloth 120 pages, with 120 color + 20 b/w illus. * Officially published May 28, 2013

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June 19, 2013

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New Yorker cover artist Ivan Brunetti reveals the full range of his art, in Aesthetics: A Memoir

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