Rob Sussman

New York, NY
MFA in Illustration

Rob was born and grew up in New York City. He studied art at SUNY Purchase and the School of Visual Arts, where, he met famed illustrator, Mirko Ilic, who gave him his first gig for the Letters page of The New York Times. Rob subsequently did illustrations for The Nation, Village Voice, The NY Times Book Review and many other publications. After a long sabbatical during which Rob focused on family life and exploring music and fine art, he returned to school and received a BFA in Illustration from the Otis College of Art and Design, and a Masters in Education from Antioch University. He taught art in Malawi at the Jacaranda School for Orphans, helping facilitate an exchange program which brought the first ever Malawians to the US to study art. Rob now lives in Beijing, China, where he teaches English and continues his illustration work.


8” x 8”
The second of a half dozen images rendered for “Washington Babylon” — this portrait of President Trump is an homage to Honoré Daumier and utilizes his 1831 lithograph of French King Louis Phillippe, “Gargantua,” for which the artist served six months in prison.
8” x 8”
Rendered for “Washington Babylon,” I wanted to portray VP Joe Biden’s penchant for handsiness in more overtly poli-cal terms. As the Chair of the Senate Judiciary CommiFee, Biden played an essen-al role in the humilia-on of Anita Hill, preven-ng witnesses from corrobora-ng her tes-mony, and allowing his colleagues to harass her, paving the way for reac-onary dinosaur, Clarence Thomas, to the Supreme Court.
Decolonial Deck
The Decolonial Deck is composed of 55 individual playing cards celebra-ng revolu-onary historical figures from six con-nents, all of whom fought colonialism.
24” x 18”
This collage was inspired by my adopted city, Beijing, and the 750 year old neighborhood where I love which surrounds the Bell Tower — likewise in the center of image. It celebrates the sense of optimism that permeates the city, which maintains commanding views of both the future and ancient past.
15” x 11.75”
Rendered shortly after making plans to go to Cambodia for Chinese New Year, this collage was intended as an illustration of Anthony Bourdain’s assessment of Henry Kissinger. “Once you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands. You will never again be able to open a newspaper and read about that treacherous, prevaricating, murderous scumbag sitting down for a nice chat with Charlie Rose or attending some black tie affair for a new glossy magazine without choking. Witness what Henry did in Cambodia — the fruits of his genius for statesmanship — and you will never understand why he’s not sitting in the dock at The Hague next to Milošević.”
Opium Smokers
22.5” x 16.5”
This collage of 19th and 20th century opium smokers was ini-ally going to be an image about the Opium Wars — two mid-19th century wars between China’s Qing dynasty and Britain and France — before I opted to illustrate a more dreamy, nuanced editorial perspective.
Phnom Penh
24” x 23.5”
After initially making plans to spend five days in Cambodia, the coronavirus necessitated we extend our stay for five weeks. The country embodied the most striking contrast of what it means to be human, embodying exquisite, transcendent heights and bloody, nightmarish depths — temples and torture sites — in close proximity.
Oliver North
Mixed media
17” x 20”
The first of my reaction pieces, I was emulating Ralph Steadman as I utilized 1980s subject matter: Oliver North and the Reagan Administration’s criminal dealings in Iran and Nicaragua. I rendered North with pen and ink, splattering ink on dozens of sheets of paper before finally capturing this controlled spontaneity.
12” x 12”
This portrait of Brazilian fascist leader Jaír Bolsonaro was made while studying with Gary Kelley and Robert Hunt, two extraordinary artist-heroes who, with both carrot and stick, encouraged me to dig deep and execute with equal parts viscera and intellect.
Luis Buñuel
9” x 12.5”
For my second reaction piece, emulating an illustrator — this time, the duo of Leo and Diane Dillon — I rendered the great Spanish Surrealist director, Luis Buñuel. His fantastic autobiography had long been a favorite of mine, and the subject, upon receiving the assignment, was an obvious choice.


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