Frank Viva

The cover of the latest (June 27th) New Yorker, by artist Frank Viva: “Love”, a defiant response to the Orlando Pulse massacre:


We throw vibrant love — rainbow kisses — in the face of death

Françoise Mouly’s cover story

“It’s a celebration of love – it’s just that simple,” the artist and designer Frank Viva says of his cover for the June 27th issue. Viva originally conceived of a silhouetted couple a few years ago as a celebration of the Supreme Court ruling that struck down the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. (See the first iteration of the image below.) He returned to the thought in the wake of the massacre in Orlando.

The earlier version:


Not (yet) kissing, and not fully embracing (but on the way).

The kissing image fits into the current story about Omar Mateen, the Pulse shooter. From the L.A. Times today:

Omar Mateen’s father, Mir Seddique, spoke to NBC News about the shooting . “This had nothing to do with religion,” he told the network.

“We were in downtown Miami, Bayside, people were playing music. And he saw two men kissing each other in front of his wife and kid and he got very angry,” Seddique told NBC. “They were kissing each other and touching each other and he said, ‘Look at that. In front of my son they are doing that.’ And then we were in the men’s bathroom and men were kissing each other.”

Public faggotry means death. To some who profess Islam. And to a regrettable number of people who profess to be “Christian” and proclaim that “God’s Law” requires that that faggots are an “abomination” and must be stoned to death (or some modern equivalent, like shooting) — if only it weren’t for the pesky, inferior “laws of men”. Throw us off a rooftop to our deaths, stone us to death, shoot us like dogs, who cares, just rid the world of us.

But I’ve let my despair and my anger get the better of me. Back to Frank Viva, who hasn’t appeared on this blog before. From the AI-AP (American Illustration – American Photography) site on 3/5/15, an illustrator profile by Robert Newman:

Frank Viva is an image-maker, art director, brand developer, and highly-talented illustrator whose artwork appears regularly in The New York Times and on the cover of The New Yorker. His Toronto-based Viva & Co. studio does branding, product design, corporate identities, digital and website design, as well as traditional print design work, but it’s Frank’s bold, stylish, retro-modern illustrations … that have garnered him so much … attention.

Frank’s first cover for The New Yorker appeared in 2010. Since then he’s created cover illustrations and designs that have touched on themes as diverse as Earth Day, the Olympics, and scenes from the urban landscape, and several have incorporated his love of hand-drawn typography. With simple, graphic drawings and often monochromatic color schemes, Frank’s cover illustrations create a fun, surreal almost cartoonish look, like a 21st Century fusion of the jazz LP covers of Jim Flora and Gerald McBoing-Boing cartoons.

It’s no surprise that Frank’s illustration work has a very childlike aspect to it. With the publication of Along a Little Road in 2011, he has crafted a remarkable series of children’s books. He latest, Outstanding in the Rain, will be published by Little, Brown Books in April, and he has several more in the pipeline for later this year and 2016.

Viva did 12 covers before “Love”. The most recent, “The Long View” of 1/4/16:


Two earlier memorable covers: “Asleep at the Wheel” of 11/25/13 and “Mental Landscape” of 1/31/11:



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