the ART of illustration
Participating illustrators:
Anna and Elena Balbusso • Ed Binkley • Chris Buzelli • Marcos Chin • Tatsuro Kiuchi • Miriam Martincic • Bill Mayer • James Prosek • Ralph Steadman • Matt Wiley

Curated by Liza Wynette

Anna and Elena Balbusso (Balbusso Twins)

Milano, Italy
Represented by Shannon Associates LLC, New York

Illustration by Anna and Elena Balbusso (Balbusso Twins)Identical twins Anna and Elena Balbusso are an international multi-award-winning artist's team based in Milan, named Anna+Elena=Balbusso (or Balbusso twins), whose work has been published by major international publishers and companies through out the world on various media such as print, corporate, promotion, ads, educational, social communication and magazines. They have illustrated many book jackets and over 40 books from children's books to contemporary novels, such as Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Some of their publishers include Creative Editions (US), Tor Books (US), Random House (US), Simon and Schuster (US), Scholastic (USA), Macmillan (UK), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (US),The Folio Society (UK), Penguin Group (UK), Headline Publishing Group (UK), Editions Gallimard (FR), Éditions Milan (FR), Éditions Sarbacane (FR), Yeowon Media (Sud Corea), Giulio Einuadi Editore (IT) Mondadori Ragazzi (IT), Black Cat- Cideb (IT), De Agostini Group (IT), Giunti Progetti Educativi (IT), Einaudi Ragazzi (IT), El Editions (IT).

The Balbusso Twins have been featured in many magazines articles, blogs and annuals: American Illustration, Annual of Illustration SOI New York, 3x3 Illustration Annual, Spectrum The Best Fantastic Art, Communication Arts Illustration Annual, Creative Quarterly, Applied Arts Magazine CA, Lürzers Archive 200 Best Illustrators worldwide. In 2014 their artwork was the focus of an extensive profile on the culture blog "Illustrados" hosted by the major Spanish newspaper El Paìs. In 2015 the Balbusso Twins were included among the 100 greatest artists from around the world in Gestalten´s book Illusive Part Four, a comprehensive showcase of contemporary illustration.

Artist's Statement: We have a high school diploma with a specialization in graphic design and photography but we also studied printmaking techniques such as etching, woodcut, engraving, screen printing and linocut. After earning this 5-year diploma, we chose to specialize in painting and art history at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan (Accademia di Brera), founded in 1776. Upon graduation from the Brera Academy, for two years we continued our studies at the UniMi University of Milan in art history, modern literature, philosophy, history... In all our work there is a clear reference to painting, sculpture, architecture. Most projects require a strong knowledge of art history with a careful iconographic and historical research. Italian art plays a key role in our work. We look at not a specific art period, but art in general, from Ancient Rome mural painting (frescoes at Pompeii), Italian Renaissance, Romanticism, Modern Art (symbolism, surrealism, Russian constructivism, Italian Futurism) and Contemporary Art. While the texture painting and pictorial stroke of almost all of our painterly style has as a reference the frescos, the artistic references can always change. Gradually we developed a personal style where traditional painting tools (acrylic, gouache, pencil, pen, collage) were combined with digital programs (Photoshop, Illustrator). We do not use digital paint brushes, instead we do all our brush strokes by hand with black gouache, then digitize (scan) them and use Photoshop to color the image. The coloring process is very complex and has been developed after many years of work experience. The final result is like a painting. During this process we test the color many times through digital color proofs. Our final art is in digital format. Our goal is to obtain images with strong ideas, synthesis, strength of expression, emotions. It's important capture the viewer, creating questions.

Ed Binkley

Madison, Wisconsin

Illustration by Ed BinkleyEd Binkley is a fantasy artist and art teacher whose work has won Gold and Silver Awards in Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, and was included in The Best of Spectrum exhibitions at the Society of Illustrators in New York in 2009 and 2014. He has received a number of awards in other publications, and he was an award finalist in Share One Planet, a worldwide invitational exhibition in Beijing sponsored by the People's Republic of China. His artwork is included in two issues of Fantasy Plus: The World's Best Digital Artists published by CYPI Press in London, and he is a featured artist in Sketching From the Imagination published by 3DTotal, Drawing magazine, Kunst magazine (Denmark), and four issues of ImagineFX magazine. He was a keynote speaker and presenter for the Illustration in Motion convocation at The Savannah College of Art & Design, and served on a discussion panel on education and illustration for Spectrum Fantastic Art Live.

Ed is a Professor in the Art Department at Madison College in Madison, Wisconsin, where he created the curriculum for the Animation & Concept Development degree program. He lives in Madison with his wife, Lisa, who is also an accomplished artist.

Artist's Statement: I've been fascinated by imaginative art and literature my entire life, and I've always tried to create work that has a narrative thread, whether it's my own story or that of another creator. I was an intaglio major in college, and that look is an important part of my work to this day -- the background plate-tone, the linear quality, sometimes even the illusion of a copper-plate edge -- even though I work mostly digitally now.

Chris Buzelli

New York City

Illustration by Chris BuzelliChris Buzelli is an artist from Chicago who currently lives and works in New York. Since graduating from Rhode Island School of Design his illustrations have been published in many high-profile publications and he has worked for a vast array of prestigious clients. His work explores conceptual themes, incorporating intense color palettes, incisive symbolism and stylized characters to depict his folkloric stories.


Marcos Chin

New York City

Illustration by Marcos ChinMarcos Chin is an award-winning Illustrator whose work has appeared as surface and wall designs, on book and CD covers, advertisements, fashion catalogues, and magazines. He has worked with such companies as MTA Arts for Transit, Neiman Marcus, Fiat, Budweiser, Time, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, GQ, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, and created the illustrations for the children's book, Ella written by Mallory Kasdan and published by Viking Press. In 2013 his illustration, "Grand Central Catwalk" appeared in New York City subways, celebrating Grand Central Terminal's Centennial year, through MTA's Arts for Transit program. In addition to his illustrations, Marcos has also created a custom design T shirt label called YEE YEE. The Tees are printed, cut & sewn in his studio in Brooklyn. Marcos has given lectures and workshops throughout the US and abroad, and currently lives in New York where he teaches Illustration at the School of Visual Arts.

Artist's Statement: The thread that runs through most of my artwork is that it contains some sort of a narrative element; my pictures tell a story. Whether the stories are told in a linear, or didactic way, or sometimes poetically using visual metaphors, my artwork usually communicates some sort of message to the viewer. Whenever appropriate I also use my memories and personal experiences to inform the pieces I am creating.

Tatsuro Kiuchi

Tokyo Japan

Illustration by Tatsuro KiuchiTatsuro Kiuchi was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1966. A biology major and graduate of International Christian University in Tokyo, he made the switch to an art career after graduating with distinction from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Tatsuro began illustrating children's books with several publishers in the US and Japan, eventually branching out into editorial work for magazines, book jacket illustrations and advertising commissions. Tatsuro's first picture book The Lotus Seed (text by Sherry Garland / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) has sold more than 200,000 copies worldwide. He has also been commissioned by such clients as Royal Mail to design their Christmas Stamp Collection in 2006, and Starbucks for their Worldwide Holiday Promotion "Pass the Cheer" in 2007. He was contributing a serial comic strip titled THE EARTHLING, appeared regularly in a quarterly magazine. Tatsuro is the owner of studio PEN STILL WRITES and a member of TOKYO ILLUSTRATORS SOCIETY. He teaches illustration at AOYAMAJUKU.

Artist's Statement: As most of my works are illustrations, subject matter usually comes from the external world, nature, people, animals, economics, politics, science and so on. Within the given pictorial frame, I try to view things differently in order to come up with unique compositions whenever possible. Whether the work is conceptual or narrative, colors and composition are the most important elements. I want my work to be eye-catching at first glance, but still quiet, calm and understated, retaining some abstraction and leaving a little room for viewers to interpret and eventually have an emotional response. It's too greedy, probably, but that's what I am always thinking I want my artwork to be.

Miriam Martincic

Blue Ridge Mountains, NC

Illustration by Miriam MartincicMiriam Martincic is an artist, illustrator, and designer with a BFA in Fine Art from Columbus College of Art and Design and MFA in Sculpture from Ohio University. She has taught sculpture and drawing and sculpture at the college level and has worked as a professional graphic designer. She is currently making art, freelancing, and illustrating a book, The Wreck of the Goodship Lollipop, a poem by William Gillespie. Miriam lives and works in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina with her person (who is a designer) and their dogs (who are dachshunds).

Artist's Statement:
I love the flatness of drawing and its illusion of dimension.
I love the edge of the picture plane as a boundary and suggestion.
I love intersection and tangency, the shared line as a visual puzzle.
I love finding humor and kindness in awkwardness and discomfort.
I love embracing and abandoning the structure of the body.
I love mobility in stillness.
I love the perfection of imperfection.
And as much as I love drawing, I love dogs. 

Bill Mayer

Decatur, Georgia

Illustration by Bill MayerThis year, along with the many awards of merit from Spectrum 24, 3x3 Annual 14, American Illustration, and more, Bill has just finished a large collection of paintings for an illustrated edition of George Orwell's Animal Farm, which has been featured in Communication Arts Illustration Annual, Society of Illustrators 60 New York, and won a gold medal in Society of Illustrators 56 West. Also from SI West, a gold medal for his poster "Savages," for Steppenwolf Theater, A silver medal for "A Time for Reflection" for Strategic Insight, along with his Radio Flyer poster, "See Octopus Shiny Treasure Bay" receiving the Patrick Nagel Award of Excellence. Bill was also chosen to be this years chair for the 3x3 illustration shows in 2018.

Artist's Statement: The way I work is a hybrid or both traditional and digital techniques. Thumbnails and sketches are done traditionally and scanned in to relay to clients for approval. Final illustration is usually done traditionally either painted by hand or air brushed using gouache on water color paper or hot press Straphmore illustration board. After the base art is competed it's scanned in retouched and finished in Photoshop. The amount of digital really depends on the graphic look I am trying to get.

James Prosek

Easton, CT

Illustration by James Prosek
Artist, writer, naturalist, and Yale graduate James Prosek published his first book at nineteen years of age, Trout: an Illustrated History (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996), which featured seventy of his watercolor paintings of the trout of North America. Prosek's work has been shown at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, NY, Gerald Peters Gallery, NY and Santa Fe; The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, The Yale Center for British Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, with solo exhibitions at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT, The Addison Gallery of American Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The New Britain Museum of American Art, The Buffalo Bill Center of the West, The North Carolina Museum of Art and the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC among others.

Prosek is a curatorial affiliate, as well as on the board (Leadership Council), of the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale, a member of the advisory board of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies, and the board of The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut

Ralph Steadman

Kent, England

Illustration by Raph SteadmanRalph Steadman was born in 1936. He started as a cartoonist and through the years diversified into many fields of creativity. He has illustrated such classics as "Alice in Wonderland,, "Treasure Island" and "Animal Farm."

His own books include the lives of Sigmund Freud and Leonardo da Vinci and "The Big I Am," the story of God. With American writer Hunter S. Thompson he collaborated in the birth of GONZO journalism, the definitive book in the genre being "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," which was made into a feature film. He is also a printmaker. His prints include a series of etchings on writers from William Shakespeare to William Burroughs.

In 1989 he wrote the libretto for an eco-oratorio called "Plague and the Moonflower" which has been performed in five cathedrals in the UK and was the subject of a BBC 2 film in 1994. He has traveled the world's vineyards and distilleries for Oddbins, which culminated in his two prize-winning books, "The Grapes of Ralph" and "Still Life With Bottle." He has an Honorary D. Litt from the University of Kent.

Matt Wiley

Champaign IL

Illustration by Matt WileyAs a Design Specialist for University of Illinois Extension, I constantly try to inject humor into the work I do. I used to do this to challenge authority, but now it's encouraged and appreciated by my superiors. As someone who continues to struggle with ADHD, I have to find ways to ensure a project holds my attention. I ask myself what's the fastest way to get this concept across, without sacrificing the quality of the final product.

Artist's Statement: I'm interested in impermanence and the amount of work that goes into creating a unique, brief moment in time. This manifests in my love for urban decay photography, lightpainting, gig posters, guerilla post-it note sketches, and stand-up comedy.

The tools I regularly use are pretty standard, Adobe Suite, DSLR, sketchbook. But I like to experiment and find unusual ways to execute ideas. Like a poster where all the typography is created on-foot in a physical space and painted with light; or creating collateral and a full visual identity for two businesses that occupy the same space, but in parallel universes; or taking weekly mathematical averages of the color tones in a corn field for a full year, and translating the numerical data into short musical compositions.

About the Exhibit

"The ART of Illustration" brings commercial art out of the wild and into a gallery setting. This environment provides visitors an opportunity to truly appreciate the strong conceptual imagery, outstanding craftsmanship, and unique visual language exercised by these contemporary illustrators. 


 (view slide show in Flickr)


For "The ART of Illustration," guest curator Liza Wynette selected 10 contemporary U.S. illustrators known for their innovative work, personal style, and varying methods of creating their originals from paintbrush and gouache through digital manipulation. The exhibition will also feature books, packaging, and animation.

"In our visually saturated environment, illustrators must create work that communicates efficiently and effectively," Wynette said. "However, the creativity and fine craftsmanship of their art is often overlooked as we go about our hectic lives. The goal of "The ART of Illustration" is to bring the best commercial art out of the wild and into a gallery setting where the audience will have the time and space to truly appreciate the work.

These artists were selected for their strong conceptual imagery, outstanding craftsmanship, and unique visual language. They are ambassadors representing the current state of contemporary illustration. Their works have been published throughout the world on such varied media as book jackets, children's books, classic novels, magazines, and newspapers including The New YorkerThe New York TimesNational GeographicTimeRolling StoneGQSports IllustratedThe Village Voice, and the Wall Street Journal.

Commercial clients for these illustrators have included the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Sundance Film Festival, Dream Works, Cartoon Network, Macy's, Sony, Facebook, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, MGM Resorts, Budweiser, Mattel, Hasbro, Levi's, Wild Turkey, Neiman Marcus, Fiat, Japan Airlines, Asahi, Fluevog, Jose Cuervo, IBM, and the US Postal Service.

Curator's Statement

Liza Wynette (curator)Illustration is all around us. It illuminates our books, billboards, graphic novels, movie posters, video games, and product packaging. It's found almost everywhere in our environment; taped to storefront windows, crammed on store shelves, framed in our living room, flashing in the corner of a browser window, or simply thrown in the recycling bin. Sometimes we connect strongly with an illustration, such as a page from our favorite children's book. But the majority of illustrations tend to go unnoticed, drowned out in our visually saturated world where the creativity and fine craftsmanship of their art is often overlooked. It is in this environment that illustrators must create work that communicates efficiently and effectively.

The goal of "the ART of Illustration" is to bring the best commercial art out of the wild and into a gallery setting where the audience will have the time and space to truly appreciate the work. Artists were selected for their strong conceptual imagery, outstanding craftsmanship, and unique visual language. They are ambassadors from around the world, representing the current state of contemporary illustration.

—Liza Wynette

Liza Wynette is a practicing illustrator and owner of Esoterra Studio. She currently teaches illustration and graphic design classes at Parkland College. Her goal in curating the exhibit was to give visitors a glimpse into the wide range of styles, techniques, mediums, and formats illustrators work in today.

Note: All images are the copyrighted property of their respective owners.