Varoom 29 – The Politics Issue

Illustration, Culture, Society Spring 2015

Cover illustration by Studio Smack

Purchase here

Varoom 29 highlights new directions in tackling the idea of politics, from the expanding platforms for American political cartoons in the 21st century, to politics and images presented together in the Graphic Design Festival in Breda and the challenges certain children’s books face when attempts are made to remove them from libraries – including And Tango Makes Two which is in America’s top ten of banned books of 2014.

One of the ideas driving this issue of Varoom is that ‘politics’ and illustration has multiple, alternative lines of thinking, subject matters and ways of expression. Issue 29 builds on this with a range of approaches, which includes the illustrators who were bucking against prevailing illustration trends in 1981 to forge a new direction, the experimental directions for three fashion illustrators and an animated fictional propaganda of North Korea’s guide to the USA.

Our cover image by Studio Stack moves Fight Club‘s Tyler Burden’s rage against the system into the digital age via the logos of the corporations that harvest our information and extract value from it.

Featured in this issue:

Lol: The Changing Formats of Humour

The political cartoon is becoming animated and its content is becoming broader as webzines explore the possibilities of visual storytelling. In a frank series of interviews, Jen Sorensen, Liza Donnelly, Mark Fiore, and Molly Crabapple tell Varoom about the changing forms and contents of the political cartoon in the 21st Century, and how they see it evolve in the future.

Illustrators, Designers and the Social Imagination

From The Drone Survival Guide to role-playing an immigration officer in a video game, Dennis Elbers talks about innovative ways of engaging the public with thought provoking design and outdoors installations, in addition to new directions in politics and the image.

Banning Children’s Books

You might be surprised at the extent to which children’s books are removed from US public libraries. We hear the reaction from illustrators and writers Henry Cole, Stern Nijland, Linda de Haan, Adam Rex, Amy Timberlake, as well as Tony Ross and Jeanne Willis who didn’t even know Big Bad Bun had been challenged.

The Radicals

In 1981, a group of illustrators edited a special issue of the AOI’s magazine, calling it Radical Illustrators. Paul Burgess hears from the creators of a benchmark publication, including Anne Howeson, Ian Pollock, Garolyn Gowdy, Robert Mason and George Snow.

Awkward Gestures

In the world of controlled fashion cool, Zoë Taylor explores playful and experimental visualisations through a series of interviews with Helen Bullock, Damien Florébert Cuypers and Florence Shaw.

American Histories

Ann Field examines different uses of drawing by punk icon Raymond Pettibon and Guantanamo court artist Janet Hamlin, whose contrasting styles and commentaries illuminate 21st Century American politics.

Labour of Love

Several years ago, Andrew Foster and his wife had three consecutive miscarriages. Foster’s Labour of Love show is a visual account on the experience, as well as a “space to play with his three imaginary children.”

Also in Varoom 29, Paul Davis gives a personal reflection on Charlie Hebdo, crap political cartoons, political cartoons being ironic about political cartoons, poo, political satire, the Afghan graffiti artist putting Street Art controversies in perspective. Each issue, Marian Bantjes delivers a uniquely crafted double-page image, and for issue 29 Bantjes produces an illusive pattern in response to politics. Shane Walter examines David O’Reilly’s Heaven’s Countryland, an animated fictional propaganda of North Korea’s guide to the US. A “bimbimbap, bonkers, batshit, crazy bowl of ridiculous fun.”

Varoom 29 is available from the AOI Shop. 64 pages of great images and insightful comment.

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