“All I did was change the pronouns. And that added a layer to it, expanded on the idea of these paintings.”
With her new book, Another History of Art (Fantagraphics), legendary illustrator & artist Anita Kunz beautifully reimagines classic paintings from a female perspective, offering up homages to the works of Leona Da Vinci, Paola Picasso, Gertrude Klimt, and many more. We get into the origins of this project, what it meant when she flipped the gender pronouns and feminized the names of artists & critics across the centuries, and how important it is for her to make art with a purpose, whether it’s cultural, social or political. We get into how her career as an illustrator has evolved over 4+ decades, how she straddles the line between illustration & fine art, the importance of working with great art directors, and the old days when she had to race to an airport to make changes to a piece of art. We also get into how primatology explains politics, the joy of discovering that she has multiple books ahead (like this fall’s Original Sisters), why she’s been making a painting a day during the pandemic, why she volunteered at a monkey sanctuary & how she wound up collaborating with a Capuchin monkey named Pockets Warhol, and much more! (Plus, you get some news about my recent health issues.) Give it a listen! And go read Another History of Art!
“I’ve been learning more about the gallery world, but I’m still completely baffled as to how it works. If you’re an illustrator, you need to have a cohesive style, you need to be professional, and you need to meet deadlines. In the gallery world, it’s not always about that kind of stuff.”
“It’s really interesting to see all of your work up on the wall. It makes you think about where you are and where you’ve come from.”
About our Guest
Anita Kunz is an acclaimed illustrator and painter whose work has graced the covers of the New Yorker, Time, Rolling Stone, The New York Times Magazine, and many other mass circulation periodicals. She was named one of the 50 most influential women in Canada by the National Post. She was the first woman and the first Canadian to have a solo show at the Library of Congress. She has been appointed Officer of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honor. She lives in Toronto. Her new book is Another History of Art.
Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded remotely via Zencastr. I used a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of Anita by someone else. It’s on my instagram.