The Lowdown on Simon Greiner's New Yorker "Dandy" Cover

The Lowdown on Simon Greiner's New Yorker "Dandy" Cover
(The New Yorker)

Sydney-born, New York-based freelance illustrator Simon Greiner has been thrust into the limelight after winning a competition to design the cover for the 2013 anniversary edition of The New Yorker

Greiner’s design was submitted through the 2013 Eustace Tilley Contest which invites readers to redefine The New Yorker’s mascot, Eustace Tilley, the Regency dandy who appeared on the cover of The New Yorker’s first issue, in 1925, and has returned, in one guise or another, for nearly every Anniversary Issue since.

“The cover is a reinterpretation of The New Yorker’s mascot, the dandy Eustace Tilly,” Greiner explains. “Eustace is depicted as a contemporary dandy, the hipster.”

“This is not me,” Greiner says of his cover design. “I certainly move in a world where those people exist – they’re all around me – but they’re not my people. I’ve been identified as a Brooklyn hipster, but I’m sure I’m sort of at the edge of that Venn diagram.”

Eustace Tilley was drawn by Rea Irvin, the magazine’s first art editor, for the cover of the first issue of The New Yorker, in 1925, and has returned for nearly every anniversary issue since. Other than the fact that the image was a joke – which is more ephemeral, the dandy or the butterfly? – little is known about the original inspiration for the image.

ARTINFO AUSTRALIA recently got in touch with Simon Greiner and found out more about his New Yorker cover.

What was the inspiration for the “hipster” dandy?

Dandies are basically hipsters separated by a few centuries — it makes sense! A lot of the line work was trying to echo shapes in the original Eustace Tilley illustration.

How would you describe the person you portrayed?

He's a quintessential hipster, the kind that are a dime a dozen around Williamsburg. There are certainly hipsters of a more extreme/dedicated style but he's a solid, upper-mid level hipster dude.

Which artists influenced the style of your portrait?

A lot of my influences come from cartoonists and comics. At this point I feel I can say I've reached a personal style which is an amalgam of influences and basically boils down to a combination of hard-edged line drawing and textured colour.

What are the main characteristics of the "Hipster" dandy?

Hipster dandies need a few core competencies, mostly in the beard, spectacle, and tattoo department. Also a kind of admirable self confidence to dedicate one’s self to one’s appearance. It’s almost performance art.

What has the reaction been to your cover?

Amazing, I think especially from the younger readership of the New Yorker who relate to it instantaneously. There have been a few accusations flung my way as to whether or not I'm a hipster (no comment) and a bunch of emails from bearded Brooklyn guys claiming they're the subject of the cover!

Where to from here?

I'm just gonna keep on drawing! I look forward as always to new collaborations.