In America, we have an anxiety problem similar to many teenagers: dealing with the dichotomy of feeling both stagnant and impatient simultaneously. We struggle to deal with problems that require long-term mental and physical commitments. Ultimately many of us either lash out in raw emotion or sit back and hope that things will turn out okay. Is it any wonder that the most financially successful films revolve around superheroes who handle all of our problems? Or why millions of people play the lottery each week, hoping to earn more than a lifetime of cash all at once? Whether it’s watching superheroes, game shows, or wealthy reality-stars at home, America is consuming the idea of magic. A victory with no struggle, a physique earned with no sweat, an empire built with no shameful past.
With Prizes May Vary, Jon Stich aims to show the disconnect we face when it comes to our history, our present, and our future because of our willingness to accept many facets in life as out of our control or out of our reach. There is no magic, no “ta-da” moment that came to fruition without struggle and he is interested in telling that whole story rather than showing only the end result. He hopes to humanize those we idolize and to contextualize people and places in their naked, unedited history.
Jon Stich has been creating pictures since he was nine years old, when his father took him to a Red Lobster and he scrawled all over the menu. Since then, he has turned drawing and painting into a career, as he has been a freelance illustrator for the past decade and currently teaches art courses at California College of the Arts and the University of California at Berkeley. Some of his illustration clients include Chronicle Books, Bloomberg Businessweek, Scholastic, Time Magazine, Mother Jones, The Washington Post, The New York Observer, Intercom, The San Francisco Giants, and Adult Swim. He is also the author and illustrator of Sketch Your Stuff, published by Quarto Press. He lives and works in San Francisco.