State Fair names Twin Cities cartoonist, illustrator as 2020 commemorative artist

A Twin Cities cartoonist and illustrator has been selected as the 2020 Minnesota State Fair commemorative artist, the fair announced Tuesday.

Kevin Cannon, who is best known for cartoon maps published in the Star Tribune, is also the creator of the graphic novel, “The Cartoon Introduction to Philosophy.”

“It's a dream come true to create this artwork. The challenge, of course, will be finding a way to distill this explosion of sights, smells and sounds into one image, to create something that can hang on Minnesotans' walls during the cold winter months and allow them to relive these 12 summer days again and again,” Cannon said.

Cannon’s poster will be available for purchase after it’s unveiled in June. The 2020 Minnesota State Fair runs Aug. 27 - Labor Day, Sept. 7.

A career in art

The St. Louis Park native studied studio art at Grinnell College in Iowa before relocating to Minneapolis. He also lived in London and New York City during his career.

His former studio, called Big Time Attic, worked on animating online games for Cartoon Network and helped design the Action City, an indoor theme park in Eau Claire.

He went on to cartoon, write and illustrate the arctic adventure graphic novels “Far Arden” and “Crater XV.” He earned an Eisner nomination for “Far Arden” which is the comic book world’s premier award.

He helped illustrate memoirs and illustrated for companies like Harvard University, Apple and the U.S. Naval Academy. He was published in the Village Voice, Minnesota Monthly and Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine.

He now lives in Mounds View with his family.

In past years, State Fair commemorative artists have included: Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher (2004), Mary GrandPré (2005), Nancy Carlson (2006), Michael Birawer (2007), Edie Abnet (2008), Leo Stans (2009), Deborah Voyda Rogers (2010), Steve Thomas (2011), Joe Heffron (2012), Marie Olofsdotter (2013), Emily L. Taylor (2014), Adam Turman (2015), Michael Sweere (2016), Ta-coumba Aiken (2017), Kristi Abbott (2018) and R. J. Kern (2019).