The cover for the New Yorker’s new fiction issue is illustrated by Loveis Wise.


THE LATEST EDITION of The New Yorker features a black mother and child on the cover. The image by Loveis Wise illustrates the magazine’s new Fiction Issue, a double issue dated June 4 and June 11. Wise, who graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia less than a month ago, is making her New Yorker debut. The young artist is also making history. The 93-year-old magazine is not in the habit of hiring African American women to illustrate its renowned covers. Wise is only the second to be tapped for the assignment.

“She’s indeed one of the very first black woman artists on the cover,” Françoise Mouly, art editor of The New Yorker, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Kara Walker was the first in 2007 for the anniversary of Katrina.”

“She’s indeed one of the very first black woman artists on the cover.”
— Françoise Mouly, Art Editor at The New Yorker

This year, the annual Fiction Issue includes a profile of critically acclaimed novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and assembles stories about “parenting, childhood, and the ties that bind both.” In response to the theme, Wise envisioned a maternal image placing her subject in a thriving, natural environment. Titled “Nurture,” the illustration depicts a mother kneeling as she waters lush plantings. She wears a printed scarf tied around her natural hair and holds her baby secured in a baby sling.

WISE GREW UP IN WASHINGTON, D.C., where she regularly visited the Smithsonian with her father. She fell in love with art wandering the galleries of the museums. She inherited her unique moniker from her great-grandmother, whose first name was also “Loveis” and she credits her grandmother with the nod to nature that is ever present in her work for clients such as the Poetry Foundation, Refinery 29, and BuzzFeed, in addition to The New Yorker.

“My grandmother was also into gardening; it brought her a lot of peace. She wanted to share that with us. She had a little garden in her back yard, and we’d help her on weekends. It was a way for us to bond, and also a way for us to connect with our environment, the community we grew up in. I wanted to draw from that nostalgia a little,” Wise told Mouly in a conversation about the magazine cover.

In school, Wise explored a range of mediums, from gouache and oil paintings to graphite and woodcuts before realizing illustration was her calling.

“I just dabbled in everything, until I saw that what I was doing was illustration. I would always do things with line, and then I realized my line wasn’t that great, so then I decided to play around with shape,” said Wise. “I’m still figuring out what my voice is, and how to personalize it a bit more. As artists, I think we can be afraid of putting all of ourselves into the work.” CT


READ MORE about Loveis Wise and her work on her website


A new book published in collaboration with the Library of Congress explores the history of women illustrators. “Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists” by Martha Kennedy, curator of popular and applied graphic art at the LOC,features trailblazers Jackie Ormes, the first African American cartoonist syndicated in black newspapers, the Chicago Defender among them, and Barbara Brandon-Croft, who created “Where I’m Coming From,” the first syndicated strip in the mainstream media by a black female cartoonist. Carla D. Hayden, the first woman and first African American to serve as Librarian of Congress, wrote the volume’s foreword. Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who splits her time between Columbia, Md., and Lagos, was a 2008 MacArthur Fellow. Her bestselling books include “Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions” and “We Should All be Feminists,” and the novels “Purple Hibiscus,” “Americanah,” and “Half of a Yellow Sun.”


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