An Interview with Artist Rob Shetterly

(Two-Minute Read)

Policy in Brief:

Cover artist for Maine Policy Review Rob Shetterly came to Maine in 1970, as part of the back-to-the-land movement. He lived off the grid for 11-years and taught himself how to draw and paint in his downtime. He has no formal training, but has worked for several Maine publications since the 1970s as an artist. He aspires to be a surrealist, creating visual metaphors to the issues he finds most important in each edition of Maine Policy Review.

Fascinating Features:

He began working for MPR in 1997 when the journal underwent a redesign and hired Designwrights, a firm in Blue Hill, Maine that asked Shetterly to come up with some concept ideas.

When designing a cover, he first thinks about the major concerns explored in the issue and reads some of the articles. Once he identifies a piece that he feels will be fun and challenging to represent visually, he begins making sketches.

For Shetterly, the best covers extend thinking on a social issue, not simply illustrate a concept or idea. He tries to challenge the viewer through wit and feels that if a cover amuses him, it will likely amuse others.

His goal with the cover art is no to offend, hurt, or baffle anyone. In some instances, his metaphors say one thing to him, but the audience interprets them a different way.

His favorite covers include:

Image of Uncle Sam with his fingers crossed over an indigenous woman's head

Image of man thinking about the ocean

Donkey and Elephant eating from the same money tree

Image of Pinocchio under water with a polar bear on the tip of his nose


Shetterly feels that Maine Policy Review is a great publication, and he is honored to have been associated with it for so long.

Image of Robert Shetterly

Dig Deeper:

“Interview with Artist Rob Shetterly.” Maine Policy Review 27.2 (2018) : 60-61. (Two-Pages. Three-minute Read)

From MPR’s Archive:

Dobelle, Evan S. . “The Creative Economy in Maine.” Maine Policy Review 14.1 (2005) : 8-9.

Kinghorn, George. “Regionalism and Contemporary Artists in Maine: Opportunities and Challenges.” Maine Policy Review 24.1 (2015) : 84-90.

Lamdin, Lois, and Willard J. Hertz. “Art and Culture in an Aging Maine.” Maine Policy Review12.2 (2003) : 76 -82.

Related Resources:

Americans Who Tell the Truth (Website)

The Samantha Smith Challenge

Shetterly, Robert. 2009. Americans Who Tell the TruthBaker & Taylor CATS.