Every week the New Yorker’s art editor, Françoise Mouly hosts a contest for artists to submit their own versions of would-be illustrated covers for the iconic magazine, and it was a pleasant surprise to see Plano’s Rob Polivka had won. The theme for last week’s “Blown Cover” was “food,” and Polivka used ink and pencil to create a highly believable take on the magazine’s familiar style, while still maintaining his own personal subtleties. The site had this to say about Polivka’s submission:
A quiet image that builds a whole story with three spots of red. The vast kitchen frames the young girl; I like the contrast between the fancy appliances and the spare meal. While the tomato soup may be a tongue-in-cheek reference to Warhol, the efficient and rich story telling reminded us of J-J Sempé, one of The New Yorker’s great artists.
Polivka has been producing this highly accessible work in the area for decades, though he’s fairly obscure in North Texas. I’ll admit that I’m very biased here, as I’ve probably hired Rob for more posters, fliers, album designs, and t-shirts than just about anyone else over the past twelve years. When I contacted Polivka by phone late last week, he said he’ll “probably go ahead and submit something again next week.” You can see more of the artist’s delightfully poignant, often childhood-focused work by going here.
Just this past April, Mouly released a book called Blown Covers, detailing the process behind the famed magazine’s cover images and which included sketches and rejected pieces. That can be found here.