Monte Beauchamp, 2012
Monte is an award-winning art director and graphic designer whose work has appeared in Graphis, Communication Arts, SPDA, Print, American Illustration, and The Society of Illustrators Annual. He has received numerous awards and honors, and has served as a juror for both American Illustration and The Society of Illustrators.
He is the founder and editor of the graphics-illustration-comics annual BLAB! His books include: The Life & Times of R. Crumb (St. Martin’s Press), Striking Images: Vintage Matchbook Cover Art (Chronicle Books), The Devil in Design (Fantagraphics), and New & Used BLAB! (Chronicle Books) and many more.
He is the founder, editor, and designer of BLAB! Picto-Novelettes—a series of storybooks presented in a faux-children’s book format for adults. Titles include: Sheep of Fools by Sue Coe and Judith Brody, Old Jewish Comedians by Drew Friedman, The Magic Bottle by Camille Rose Garcia, and several others.
Marc Burckhardt has this to say about Monte:
For more than a quarter century, Monte Beauchamp has been the Patron Saint of the pop culture world, dedicating himself to creating a platform where illustrators, cartoonists, and misfits of the visual world could safely play with sharp objects and run amok.
When he started BLAB! in 1986, Monte was working as an art director at an ad agency in Chicago, and BLAB! was the outlet for his passion for our medium and the vision we share with the world. More than perhaps any other art director or designer over those years, Monte has sought out rising talent and provided a no-holds-barred forum for artists that include Sue Coe, Christian Northeast, Jonathon Rosen, Fred Stonehouse, and the Clayton Brothers, to name just a few.
I've been fortunate to be included in that roster of talent, and to experience the combination of joy and abject fear that comes with knowing you have complete freedom--and a very big legacy to uphold. But there's something in Monte's disposition--a combination of child-like enthusiasm and focused energy--that brings out the very best in every artist. I think we recognize a "fellow traveler" when we see one, and Monte is a brother-in-arms to all those who want to make "high" art in the "low" medium of print. He sees us at our best, and in the process encourages us to raise the bar for our field. I congratulate you on this well-deserved award, Monte. On behalf of us all: Thank you.
I was thrilled to learn that he was voted in to receive this award because contribute is what Monte Beauchamp has done and continues to do selflessly and solidly for the past two years here at the Society.
In 2010 Monte organized and curated the BLAB exhibit—one of the first significant exhibits of underground art that has been held at the Society. It brought a huge influx of new visitors to the Museum and generated tremendous awareness by the press. Right after that he asked me if we would ever be interested in having an R. Crumb exhibit—well we all know what my answer was and this past Spring we had that show—a truly momentous occasion for our Museum, for the Society and for the public at large. Monte spent endless hours curating this exhibit with collector Eric Sack, ensuring every detail was right, making it all perfect for Crumb’s visit. And perfect it was. Our opening event saw record- breaking crowds, 650 people lined up around Lexington Avenue waiting for hours to get in. Crumb’s exclusive interview for us with Associated Press went global receiving over 2 million hits online.
And on the horizon in 2013 Monte will be curating another blockbuster show for us—Harvey Kurtzman and MAD Magazine.
In Monte’s words:
But I don't pay attention to the doomsayers of illustration and those who are attempting to force all publications to put their periodicals on the web. Printed illustration is here to stay. People will forever enjoy a great illustration printed on pulp. Illustration isn't going away, it's just being challenged, that's all. Nations challenge each other all the time, and oftentimes battles have to be waged for people to protect their own turf.
- Anelle Miller
Executive Director, Society of Illustrators