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Friday, April 30, 2021

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2021 at 10:06 AM

Pittsburgh City Paper is honored to announce the news, arts, and entertainment altweekly has won four awards in the 2021 Keystone Media Awards, a statewide journalism competition for Pennsylvania media companies.

The awards, published on Thu., April 29 by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, are presented each year to Pennsylvania journalists whose work "displays relevance, integrity and initiative in serving readers, and furthers First Amendment values."

click to enlarge Artwork for The Health Issue - CP ILLUSTRATION: ABBIE ADAMS
CP illustration: Abbie Adams
Artwork for The Health Issue
City Paper competed in the category of "multi‐day publications with over 50,000 circulation" and won First Place under the Special Section category for The Health Issue, a publication with stories focused on mental health and suicide prevention. This issue was dedicated to former CP managing editor Alex Gordon who died of suicide in October 2020.

The altweekly also won a second place award for graphic design, and two honorable mentions.

The First Place win for The Health Issue is especially meaningful for City Paper because it was published a month after Alex's death while the staff was still grieving, choosing to honor his memory by turning their grief into something meaningful and aiming to help others who were struggling. In addition to CP's full-time staff, contributing writer Tara Fay Coleman also penned a personal essay for this issue about her own struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Page designs by Abbie Adams
City Paper art director Abbie Adams took home a second place win in the Keystone Awards for Feature Page Design for her layout on Hannah Lynn's story on Preserving Pittsburgh, a feature on Pittsburgh's three-year-old archive department working to make the city's history more accessible. Not only did Abbie design the cover and pages for the story, but she joined Hannah on her interview to take photographs, which she then used as references to illustrate all of the artwork that accompanies her page designs.

click to enlarge Black Lives Matter activists in rural Bedford County illustration for Pittsburgh City Paper and Spotlight PA story - CP ILLUSTRATION: ABBIE ADAMS
CP illustration: Abbie Adams
Black Lives Matter activists in rural Bedford County illustration for Pittsburgh City Paper and Spotlight PA story
An Honorable Mention Award went to CP news editor Ryan Deto and writer Joseph Darius Jaafari for the News Feature Story category for a story published in partnership with Pennsylvania nonprofit newsroom Spotlight PA. Ryan and Joseph's story, which ran simultaneously in both publications, looked into how video footage did not support state police accounts of shots being fired at a group of civil rights marchers in Central Pennsylvania, which then led to misinformation inspiring paranoia and rallies against the marchers in two small towns.

CP art director Abbie Adams' illustration of Black Lives Matter activists in rural Bedford County for this story also won an Honorable Mention award for Graphic/Photo Illustration.

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Friday, April 16, 2021

Posted By on Fri, Apr 16, 2021 at 11:43 AM

click to enlarge Pittsburgh artist Morg Cunningham
Pittsburgh artist Morg Cunningham
This week's Marijuana Issue cover features pals partaking in cannabis products by Pittsburgh artist Morg Cunningham. Hailing from the North Hills and now a neighbor in Beechview, Cunningham works by day as a digital designer and an illustrator at night. Pittsburgh City Paper caught up with the artist after her Marijuana Issue cover hit stands this week.

How long have you lived in Pittsburgh?
My whole life! I grew up in the North Hills and left briefly for college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Once I got my first job, I moved to Bloomfield, then to Beechview, where I just bought my first house with my partner. I’m pretty invested in my neighborhood’s community garden, so I’m staying put for a while!

How did you get into illustrating?
I was going to school for graphic design and took a digital illustration class over a summer and really enjoyed it. I dabbled a little with it throughout college, but I didn’t hone in on it like I wish I had looking back. Fine art drawing was definitely not my scene, and I wasn’t sure where my silly doodles were going to get me. I only really got back into illustration a couple years ago when my friend Alex asked me if I wanted to work on stuff to submit for the Pittsburgh Zine Fair with her. I really think that was a turning point for me and am so grateful because we got in! It was a hugely motivating and validating experience for me.
Artwork: Morg Cunningham
Is art your full time job?
I’m a digital designer so a lot of the day to day isn’t exactly art, but there’s room to be creative and I like to raise my hand when illustrative assignments come around. There was a period after college where I hardly made anything in my free time. I felt drained at the end of the day and beat down. I’ve since realized it’s the passion projects I do after-hours that keep my creative spirit alive and well.

Your art features illustrations of colorful food, critters, and lettering, as well as zines and even some Sculpey! When you sit down to create, how do you decide what to work on? Do you work in series, or do you draw on your daily experience?
I am all over the place. Sometimes I like to have a plan, sometimes things happen spontaneously. Sometimes I work on drawings to build a skill; other times I’m working on a zine or bigger idea.

Last year changed a lot of creatives work and routine … how do you think 2020 impacted your work? Are there things that you want to carry on moving forward into 2021 and beyond or evolutions in your work because of this time?
I work from home now, so the lines between work life and real life have been difficult to separate. This year I’ve been instituting a “Morg Makes Stuff” night twice a week though to help set time aside. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my phone tells me "hey it’s 7:00, you’ve had dinner, now it’s time to go make something." I sometimes turn to my partner begrudgingly not knowing what to work on. I have a tendency to start too many projects and leave loose ends for months at a time. So, he usually tells me to finish one of those and then I play with clay instead. It’s not a perfect system yet!

What is your dream job?
I think a cookbook would be the big dream of a project to check off a bucket list. I just love cooking, baking, and eating so much and would love to be part of someone’s process of putting recipes to paper.
Artwork: Morg Cunningham
What’s the most fun project you’ve been paid to do?
The City Paper cover! I’ve had the opportunity to do illustrative work for brands at my previous agency jobs and now in-house but I’ve never seen my name attached to something like that. Not to mention, it was for the Marijuana Issue, I mean it was just a lot of fun!

Do you have any big or exciting projects coming up?
I have been planning a “re-launch” of my Etsy shop for this summer. I have a “How to Drink” zine series that I’ve reworked as well as some other journals, zines and Sculpey creations! I have a few small things in my Etsy shop currently but the big restock will be coming in June. People can follow me on Instagram to peep the new stuff and know when it’s going to be in the shop! Older Entries »