Cartoonist, Illustrator and Author
Since joining The New Yorker in 1978, Roz Chast has established herself as one of our greatest artistic chroniclers of the anxieties, superstitions, furies, insecurities and surreal imaginings of modern life. Her works are typically populated by hapless but relatively cheerful “everyfolk,” and she addresses the universal topics of guilt, aging, families, money, real estate and as she would say, “much, much more!” David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, has called her “the magazine’s only certifiable genius.”
Chast is the author of more than a dozen books for adults, including the award-winning Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? (2014). Using handwritten text, drawings, photographs and her keen eye for the foibles that make us human, Chast addresses the realities of what it is to get old in America today – and what it is to have aging parents today – with tenderness and candor, and a good dose of her characteristic wit. Bloomsbury Publishing describes her latest graphic memoir, Going into Town (2017), as a “part playful guide, part New York stories, and part love letter to the city, told through Chast’s laugh-out-loud, touching, and true cartoons.” Chast has also provided cartoons and editorial illustrations for nearly 50 magazines and journals from Mother Jones to Town & Country. She lectures widely and has received numerous prestigious awards including honorary degrees from Pratt Institute and the Art Institute of Boston. In 2013, she was inducted as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2015, she was nominated for the Eisner Award and received the Reuben Award from the National Cartoon Society.
Roz Chast grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design with studies in graphic design and painting.
Deborah Willis, Ph.D.
Photographer, Professor, Art Historian and Curator
Deborah Willis, Ph.D., has pursued a dual professional career as an art photographer and as one of the nation's leading historians of African American photography and curator of African American culture. She is a university professor and chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and has an affiliated appointment with the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Social & Cultural Analysis, Africana Studies. She teaches on subjects including the black body, women and gender. Her research examines photography’s multifaceted histories, visual culture, the photographic history of slavery and emancipation, contemporary women photographers and beauty.
Willis received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship, was a Richard D. Cohen Fellow in African and African American Art, Hutchins Center, Harvard University, and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. She received an Emmy nomination as producer of the documentary “Through A Lens Darkly,” and has appeared in and consulted on media projects including “Question Bridge: Black Males,” a transmedia project which received the ICP Infinity Award 2015, and “American Photography,” a PBS Documentary. Since 2006 she has co-organized the Black Portraiture[s] conferences exploring images of the black body in the West. Willis served as board chair of the Society for Photographic Education, received the Honored Educator Award in 2012, and was a board member of the College Art Association. She was recently appointed to the Board of Commissioners of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and is currently researching a book on an early 20th-century portraitist and educator.
Willis grew up in Philadelphia, and received a BFA from Philadelphia College of Art, a MFA in Photography from Pratt Institute, a MA in Art History from City College of New York and a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from George Mason University.
Visionary Woman Awards artwork by Michelle Lynch ’13, Something for Gellner (detail)