April 30, 1958 |
Côte Saint-Luc, Quebec, Canada
|Training||Ontario College of Art and Design|
Barry Blitt is a cartoonist and illustrator, best known for his New Yorker covers and as a regular contributor to the op-ed page of the New York Times. Blitt creates his works in traditional pen and ink, as well as watercolors.
Early Life and Education
Blitt grew up in Côte Saint-Luc, Quebec, a municipality on the Island of Montreal. The artist's first publication credit came at age 16: a series of drawings in the Philadelphia Flyers 1974 yearbook. He graduated from The Ontario College of Art and Design and moved to the US in 1989.
The artist is also well known for illustrating Frank Rich’s Sunday op-ed column in the New York Times. Regarding that work, Rich is quoted as saying, "It’s a long-distance collaboration — me in New York City, Barry in Connecticut — but one of the most satisfying I’ve had in my career."
Many of Blitt's New Yorker covers have been finalists for the Cover of the Year from the American Society of Magazine Editors, including, in 2008, Narrow Stance and I'll Get It!,First Anniversary in 2010, and The Book of Life in 2012.
Children's Book Illustrator
- Once Upon a Time, the End (Asleep in 60 Seconds) by Geoffrey Kloske, Simon & Schuster (2005) 
- The 39 Apartments of Ludwig Van Beethoven by Jonah Winter, Schwartz & Wade (2006)
- What's the Weather Inside? by Karma Wilson, Simon & Schuster (2009) 
- The Adventures of Mark Twain by Huckleberry Finn by Robert Burleigh, Simon & Schuster (2011) 
- George Washington's Birthday (a mostly true tale) by Margaret McNamara, Random House (2012) 
Book Cover Art
- Blown Covers by Françoise Mouly’s, Abrams Publishing (2012)
Awards & Honors
- Cover Of The Year for Deluged published by The New Yorker, awarded by The American Society of Magazine Editors (2006) 
- Art Directors Club, Hall of Fame (2012) 
- Work showcased at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Museum of American Illustration in New York 
Blitt's 2008 New Yorker cover titled The Politics of Fear, depicting Michelle and Barack Obama standing in the Oval Office was labeled "tasteless and offensive" by Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton. A campaign spokesman for Senator John McCain also condemned the art. In the cover art, Obama is shown wearing traditional Muslim clothes, including sandals, robe and turban. His wife, Michelle is shown dressed in camouflage, combat boots and has an assault rifle over her shoulder. Behind them, an American flag is burning in the fireplace.
The controversial art was covered by numerous media outlets including the Los Angeles Times, PBS  and others. In defense of the art, Eric Bates of Rolling Stone was quoted as saying "...I don't think it (The New Yorker) crossed the line. I would question whether there's much of a line to be crossed. I think their intent was clear, but I think it's clear from the response that a lot of people didn't get the joke.". The New York Times called it the most memorable image of the 2008 presidential campaign, and Françoise Mouly, the Art Editor of the New Yorker, said she was "extremely proud" of the piece. Regarding the controversy, Blitt was quoted as saying "Anytime I produce a cover, I always regret it afterward"." 
In spite of the controversy and condemnation by the Obama campaign, after taking office President Barack Obama chose one of Blitt’s New Yorker covers to hang in the White House. The Dec. 8, 2008 cover depicts the President picking the family dog at the same time as he is vetting candidates for his national security cabinet. Additionally, President Obama requested and received a signed New Yorker cover by the artist, which depicts the President walking on water.
- Owen, Rob (April 19, 2010). "Love for Penguins behind city's setting for 'Romantically Challenged'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
- Ashley Walters (2009). "Ryerson Review of Journalism".
- Wendy Carlson. "Town Vibe: Cover Boy". Retrieved 20 May 2013.
- "New Yorker Contributors". Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "Vanity Fair Contributors". Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "Art Directors Club". Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- "IMDb - Barry Blitt". Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "Simon & Schuster". Simon & Schuster. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- "Random House Authors". Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "Book by Jim Mullen". Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "Abrams Publishing". Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- "American Society of Magazine Editors 2006 winners-finalists". Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- "PBS Newshour". 14 July 2008.
- "Huffington Post". 07/21/08.
- "Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 10 May 2013.
- "Francoise Mouly Discusses The Cultural Impact New Yorker Cartoons". 09/06/11.
- "NPR Books". February 20, 2012.
- Gary Susman (09/25/2008). "'Entertainment Weekly Pop watch".
- Josh Klenert (06/27/2010). "Society of Publication Designers".