Gannett Project Features Cartoonist Charles Burns March 15

Award-winning illustrator will take audience behind the scenes of his artistic creations

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A self-portrait of cartoonist and illustrator Charles Burns, the next speaker for RIT’s Caroline Werner Gannett Project, “Visionaries in Motion V,” March 15 in Webb Auditorium.

Cartoonist and illustrator Charles Burns will enlighten his audience about his dark, artistic creations when he visits Rochester Institute of Technology for the 2011–2012 Caroline Werner Gannett Project’s “Visionaries in Motion V” speaker series. Burns’ talk, “Drawn in the Dark: The Art of Charles Burns,” is at 8 p.m. March 15 in Webb Auditorium.

Burns, perhaps best known for his pen-and-ink comic-book drawings, first garnered attention in the early 1980s in the pages of RAW, a comics magazine. RAW books also published two of Burns’ books, Big Baby and Hard-Boiled Defective Stories. In 1994, Burns was awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, presented by The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage to talented artists working in a variety of performing, visual and literary disciplines.

From 1993 to 2004, he serialized the 12 chapters of his Harvey Award-winning graphic novel Black Hole. In 2010, Burns released the first part of a new series, X’ed Out. He is also known for his short stories including “El Borbah,” “Big Baby” and “Skin Deep.”

Burns’ high-profile illustrations include work for Iggy Pop’s album Brick by Brick, and his art was also licensed by The Coca-Cola Co. to illustrate product and advertising material for their OK Soda product. More recently, he has worked on advertising campaigns for Altoids and portrait illustrations for The Believer magazine. In the early 1990s, his Dogboy stories were adapted by MTV as a live-action serial for Liquid Television.

Founded and chaired by Mary Lynn Broe, the Caroline Werner Gannett Professor of Humanities, the Gannett Project’s “Visionaries in Motion” series explores new connections across technologies, social sciences and humanities, increasing opportunities for interdisciplinary understanding and collaboration both on campus and in the Greater Rochester community. In 2009, the series was selected by City Newspaper’s Critics’ Pick for “Best Lecture Series in Rochester.”

All Gannett Project talks are free and open to the public. For more information about the Caroline Werner Gannett Project, go to