Monograms, once used to identify clothing at Roman baths,
are now mainly machine-rendered tokens of convention.
But Phil Lubiner’s hand-drawn monogrammed initials (left), for
each of our New Visual Artists, have their own distinct personalities. They’re a perfect introduction to the overwhelming diversity
and talent on the following pages.
Judge for yourself: Kingston, Jamaica–born Simon Benjamin
makes motion graphics inspired by Michel Gondry, and Bob Chen uses
the cultural past of his native China to create a rich body of work;
Cybu Richli’s cerebral infographics contrast with Japan native Masayoshi Nakamura’s artfully imperfect animations. The existential, high-concept illustrations from Milan-based Shout offer an elegant counterpoint
to John Pobojewski’s irreverent mix of biblical and pop culture references and Erik Adams’s devout sensibility. Our U.S. artists have roots in
locales stretching from New York, Connecticut, and North Carolina
to California, Washington, and Hawaii.
And they’re as accomplished as they are diverse. Whether you’re
paging through magazines like T: The New York Times Style Magazine, admiring a tricked-out commercial featuring Pharrell, browsing the
latest Barbara Kruger monograph, watching MTV, or downing a
Coke Zero, these innovators are shedding their own bright lights on the
stuff you see (and love) every day. Given Emily Lessard’s political-
campaign design ambitions, Joe Marianek’s “design for good”
philosophy, and Mark Mahaney’s quiet conscience, their hearts are
in the right place as well.
And yet—they’re so young! It’s hard to believe, but two of our
winners were little children on the other side of the Iron Curtain in 1989. Thomas Porostocky left Czechoslovakia for Canada when he was 8;
Helen Yentus was born in Moscow but landed in Brooklyn in time to start fourth grade. We’re a little jealous, of course, but mostly, we’re just proud,
like a parent showing off a wallet full of pictures. We know we can’t claim them forever, but we’re keeping the bragging rights.