On the design front, Canadian Art art director Barbara Solowan and her work on the Fall 2009 silver-anniversary issue was nominated for Art Direction for an Entire Issue.
Editorially, writer John Bentley Mays was nominated for Best Short Feature for his essay on Jack Burman, “Days of the Dead,” in the Summer 2009 edition, while critic R.M. Vaughan was honoured in the Arts & Entertainment category for his article on John Dickson, “Beautiful Disasters,” in the Winter 2009 edition of Canadian Art.
Canadian Art’s images were also highlighted, with two nominations in the Portrait Photography category: Miguel Jacob for his portrait of Ben Walmsley in the Fall 2009 “Faces” section, and Eric Tschaeppeler for his photo of Adad Hannah in the article “Masterpiece Theatre,” also in the Fall 2009 edition.
“You always get excited about a National Magazine Award, even a nomination,” says Mays, a recipient of several such awards throughout his career. Mays also notes that his Best Short Feature essay simply emerged from following his curiosity: “I had seen Jack Burman’s work a few times, and was intrigued by it. But it hadn’t been written about anywhere; it was very under-criticized. I felt I could do something, so I did it.”
Vaughan, also the recipient of multiple NMA nominations in the past, says his essay on John Dickson developed out of a variety of fruitful contradictions. “I don’t know how to make things, but I am so intrigued by work that is about craft, about a level of skill with machinery. John’s work has that level of actual construction I’m incapable of. John’s also a really bubbly guy—but if you look at the work it’s about disasters, and I found that interesting.”
Photographically, Solowan is excited about the vast amount of Canadian talent that is out there to work with. “Whether it’s assigning veteran photographers or new ones, it’s great to commission portraits that take reader’s into an artist’s studio.” Of the redesign recognition, she says, “the size is new, the paper is new and the larger format lends itself to showcasing the art. People get to see a lot more as a result.”
Though all the nominees are busy with current projects—a web series on German landscape projects and a fall 2011 book on Toronto’s founders for Mays, a new video and book of poetry for Vaughan, and more—all will be present at the final prize announcement and celebration on June 4 at the Carlu in Toronto.