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She was born in Toronto and grew up in Kitchener. She graduated from the Ontario College of Art in 1978. Kunz has lived in London, New York City and Toronto, contributing to magazines and working for design firms, book publishers and advertising agencies in Germany, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Canada, South Africa, Holland, Portugal, France and England. Her clients include Time magazine, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, GQ, The New York Times, Sony Music, Random House Publishing and many others. From 1988 to 1990, she was one of two artists chosen by Rolling Stone magazine to produce a monthly illustrated History of Rock 'n Roll end paper. She has produced cover art for many magazines including Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Time Magazine, Newsweek Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly and The New York Times Magazine. She has also illustrated more than fifty book jacket covers. In 2004, Canada Post used illustrations by Kunz on stamps issued for the Year of the Monkey.
Kunz frequently teaches workshops and lectures at universities and institutions internationally including the Smithsonian Institution and the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington DC. Her summer workshops have been conducted at the Illustration Academy in Kansas City, and at the Master of Arts degree program at Syracuse University.
She has been honored with many prestigious awards and medals and her critically acclaimed paintings and sculptures have appeared in galleries worldwide, including the Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts and the Teatrio Cultural Association in Rome, Italy. Her works are in the permanent collections at the Library of Congress, the Archives of Canada in Ottawa, the McCord Museum in Montreal, The Norman Rockwell Museum in Massachusetts, the Musèe Militaire de France in Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, and a number of her Time Magazine cover paintings are in the permanent collection at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. In 1987, she showed a collection of her works at Canada House in Trafalgar Square, London. In 1997 she had a one-woman show at the Foreign Press office in New York City; in 1998 she had a solo show at the Creation Gallery in Tokyo; and the Society of Illustrators Museum of American Illustration mounted a mid-career retrospective of her work in the fall of 2000. In the fall of 2003, Kunz was the first woman and the first Canadian to have a solo show at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. In 2000, she was invited to speak as one of The New Yorker magazine cover artists at the annual New Yorker Festival in New York and in 2001, 2004 and again in 2009, Kunz was invited to speak at ideaCity, a think tank of luminaries from the fields of medicine, politics, science and the arts in Toronto. From 2000 to 2003, Kunz served on the Board of Directors of the Illustration conference. She received the Hamilton King Award in 2003. In 2004, Kunz served as chair for the Society of Illustrators Museum of American Illustration annual exhibit and she has also served as chair of the Museum Committee there. In 1997, she received the Les Usherwood Lifetime Achievement Award from the Advertising and Design Club of Canada. In 2007, she gave a short talk at the prestigious TED conference (Technology, Entertainment, Design) in California about her New Yorker magazine covers.
Kunz has been named one of the fifty most influential women in Canada by the National Post newspaper. Articles about her work have appeared in Graphis and Novumgebrauchsgrafik magazines (Switzerland), Communication Arts and Step by Step magazine (USA), Idea, Illustration and Creation magazines (Japan), Applied Arts (Canada), Nuvo (Canada) and The Design Journal (Korea) and many other publications.
In 2009, Kunz was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada "for her contributions as an illustrator whose insightful works have graced publications around the world". In 2010, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Ontario College of Art and Design University, her alma mater. In 2015 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. In 2012, Kunz received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal of honour.
- "Overview". Canadian Counterpoint: Illustrations by Anita Kunz. American Library of Congress.
- "Artist Interview: Anita Kunz". Modern Eden Gallery.
- "Year of the monkey". Canada Post. January 8, 2004.
- "Anita Kunz". DesignThinkers.
- "Anita Kunz". ideaCity.
- "Governor General announces 60 new appointments to the Order of Canada". July 1, 2009.