I’m not sure what concatenation of events has led to the last few months of work, but Brian Stauffer is on fire. Lüerzer’s Archive chose one of his illustrations for the cover of this year’s 200 Best Illustrators; 11 illustrations were accepted in total. His graphic illustrations are beautifully designed for maximum impact. Sophisticated commentary on cultural and political subjects of the day, they pack a visual punch—their bold conceptual approach and dynamic colors are memorable. They’re powerful. Smart. Arresting. And not for the faint hearted.
The prolific illustrator has won various prestigious awards from the Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, and Graphis, including garnering gold and silver medals from the Graphis Poster Annual 2014. He has just completed #32 in an ongoing series of covers for Worth Magazine and has produced some hard-hitting on current events.
The affable Stauffer is a tall man (6 feet six inches), with a ready smile. We met at the first Design Family Reunion, held two years ago in Pacific Grove. He and his family, wife Alina and sons Andrés, 12, and Julian, 11, camped in their cool VW Westfalia van at one of the rented guesthouses, and partook of all the outdoors and cultural events with great enthusiasm. In 2010, they moved across country from Miami to San Rafael, California. After three years there, they moved further north where they now live in a lovely house in the woods about 30 minutes from Sonoma.
He loves adventure—he spent his birthday in 2012 in Katmandu with his friend and fellow illustrator Robert Hunt. “We did a grueling two-week trek to [the] Mount Everest Base Camp which at 18,300 feet sits about 200 feet below the Khumbu Icefall (where 13 Sherpas were killed this past May). It is our plan to go back next May and hopefully take a few other illustrators along,” Stauffer explains. He even tried cliff diving on Oahu’s famed North Shore during a recent Hawaiian vacation.
Stauffer comes from a creative family; both of his parents make art, his father paints and his mother works in mixed media. His two boys are following in his footsteps. They make things like he did as a kid, including miniature skate parks and have been known to take his pen nibs to make darts.
Born and raised in Prescott, Arizona, he graduated from The University of Arizona with a BFA emphasizing graphic design, a background that has enhanced his ability to work with art directors and to create clear, concept-driven art that complements the stories they illustrate.
Stauffer easily combines digital and traditional mediums to great effect. His work has appeared in the New York Times, TIME magazine, The New Yorker, The Nation, The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Esquire, GQ and more than 300 other publications worldwide.