April 30, 1958|
Côte Saint-Luc, Quebec, Canada
|Education||Ontario College of Art and Design|
|Known for||Illustration, cartoons|
Barry Blitt (born April 30, 1958 in Côte Saint-Luc, Quebec) is a Canadian-born American artist.
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)
- The Founding Fathers!Those Horse-Ridin', Fiddle-Playin', Book-Readin', Gun-Totin' Gentlemen Who Started America by Jonah Winter Simon & Schuster (2015)
Book Cover Art
Awards and honors
- Les Usherwood Lifetime Achievement Award 2016 
- 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 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. Titled The Politics of Fear, the cover satirized the rumors about Obama and his wife as he ran for the presidency.
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 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.
Blitt is married to Angie Silverstein.
- Owen, Rob (April 19, 2010). "Love for Penguins behind city's setting for 'Romantically Challenged'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 8, 2010.
- Ashley Walters (2009). "Ryerson Review of Journalism". Archived from the original on June 28, 2013.
- Wendy Carlson. "Town Vibe: Cover Boy". Retrieved May 20, 2013.
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- "PBS Newshour". July 14, 2008.
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- "Los Angeles Times". Retrieved May 10, 2013.
- Korte, Travis (September 6, 2011). "Francoise Mouly Discusses The Cultural Impact New Yorker Cartoons". Huffington Post.
- "NPR Books". February 20, 2012.
- Gary Susman (September 25, 2008). "'Entertainment Weekly Pop watch".
- Josh Klenert (June 27, 2010). "Society of Publication Designers".