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Exhibition: Pastiche, Parody and Piracy

June 12, 2014 in Events, General, News

Steve Bell: "I licence the logo bearers ..."

Steve Bell: “I licence the logo bearers …”

Many PCO members feature in an exhibition that brings together cartoonists and contemporary artists called Pastiche, Parody and Piracy and opens at the Cob Gallery in north London on 20 June.

The exhibition was put together by the the curator Camilla Ellingsen Webster with artist Miriam Elia and cartoonist Jeremy Banx, with the aim of showing the importance of the “appropriation” of images made by others in art and satire.

The team say that they were inspired to “celebrate the historical creative act of pastiche, parody and piracy” after Penguin UK threatened to pulp Elia’s book We Go to the Gallery, a parody of the Ladybird series of children’s books.

Alongside Banx, the PCO members involved are: Nathan Ariss, Steve Bell, Andrew Birch, Matt Buck, Wilbur Dawbarn, Pete Dredge, Noel Ford, Steve Jones, Kathryn Lamb, Chris Madden, Glenn Marshall, Alexander Matthews, Jonathan Pugh, Ken Pyne, Royston Robertson, Martin Rowson, Cathy Simpson, Bill Stott, The Surreal McCoy and Mike Turner.

Wilbur Dawbarn plays with Dance by Matisse

Wilbur Dawbarn plays with Matisse’s Dance

As well as cartoons, this exhibition will feature projections, photographs, prints and collage that use or pastiche other works of art, characters and logos.

The use of other works – though it has long been a tool in art – can be a controversial issue, particularly as those works are often copyrighted. The exhibition has already stirred up debate within in the PCO, with some members refusing to take part.

The gallery says: “The pieces in this exhibition play with other people’s ideas and pre-existing works to showcase a selection of contemporary appropriation in art that is often mischievous, somewhat humorous, and often unsettling. It plays with what the viewer might be comfortable with and questions ideas of authorship and originality.”

The title for this exhibition was inspired by a proposed exception for parody, satire and pastiche in a government copyright law. If it is passed, the act of subverting and appropriating elements of popular culture will be protected from large companies that often seek to silence artists through the courts.

Chris Madden takes on the House of Mouse

Chris Madden takes on the House of Mouse

“We believe this is crucial for the future of appropriative art and satire, and although the law has been delayed, we are putting on this exhibition to celebrate artists, satirists and cartoonists who are paving the way,” say the organisers.

Pastiche, Parody and Piracy: Exploring Different Approaches in Contemporary Art Appropriation is at The Cob Gallery, London NW1 from 20 June – 5 July. For more, email info@cobgallery.com or call 020-7209 9110

Festival cartoon: Moving stuff

March 31, 2014 in Events, General

Music cartoon © Pete Dredge @ Procartoonists.org

Music cartoon © Pete Dredge @ Procartoonists.org

Here’s another cartoon submitted for the exhibition With a Song in My Art, part of this year’s Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival.

This one is by Pete Dredge a Procartoonists.org member. You can see all our members’ portfolios here.

We say gags, they say single-panel

July 2, 2013 in Comment, General

Pete Dredge offers a British perspective in reaction to an American cartoonist’s views on the cartooning game

“Single-panel” or “gag” cartoonist? The former is the default description from over the pond and is infinitely preferable to the UK’s more downmarket “gag” label for those of us who create the stand-alone joke.

Cartoon by Pete Dredge

Single-panel or gag? Cartoon © Pete Dredge

Apart from that, there appears to be little difference in attitudes to gag cartoonists on either side of the Atlantic, if the video talks by the New Yorker cartoonist Matthew Diffee – as recently featured on this blog – are anything to go by. (Well, apart from the fact that most US cartoonists seem to be equally as eloquent with a microphone as they are with a pen, something that the reserved UK cartoonist can find difficult to master.)

It was comforting to know that our US counterparts are bombarded with the same probing questioning from inquisitive admirers. “Where do you get your ideas?” appears to top both the UK and US list. Diffee perceptively regards this as “a good question, it is the only question because without an idea there is no cartoon”. He then offers up the disarmingly honest answer “We think of ‘em!”

Brilliant!

Why haven’t we ever thought of that? UK gagsmiths start to ramble on about lateral thinking, brainstorming and word association whilst our inquisitor’s eyes start to glaze over.

“I wish I could do that” and “I could never do that” are supplementary statements thrown up by the misguided onlooker. Diffee believes that these admissions underline the misconception that cartoonists draw “for fun”, something that can be churned out at the drop of a hat. “How long have you tried?” he asks. He points out that it takes several hours and a pot of coffee to come up with ideas.

Then there’s the ability to handle rejection. Diffee likens the inevitable low hit rate – at The New Yorker one in ten is “top of the game”, more often it’s something like one in 30 – to the a mother sea turtle laying thousands of eggs. After being subjected to the ravages of crabs, birds and fish, if one baby makes it through then it’s job done.

Another characteristic shared by both US and UK cartoonists is the requirement to develop stoicism when confronted by other media types. One video featured Diffee being interviewed after his talk by a hack from Forbes magazine.

Trying hard to describe the idea-creating process, he says: “It’s about concepts, like comedy writing, it’s about language, not drawing, at this stage.” The journalist seemed to struggle with this abstract notion.

But Diffee soon has the measure of his inquisitor and describes how he is trying to keep up with the latest hi-tech devices. “Have you seen them? They’re amazing. You click on the end and it comes out here,” he says, describing a propelling pencil to his bemused interrogator.

Many thanks, Pete. Do you have any views on cartooning US and UK style? Let us know in the comments below.

Counting days to cartoon festival

March 19, 2013 in Events, News

Time cartoon by Pete Dredge

© Pete Dredge @ Procartoonists.org

Cartoonists are sharpening their pencils as it is a month today until the tenth Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival.

The big weekend for the festival, when live drawing events will take place, is 19-21 April. For the first time there will be a full programme of events on the Sunday.

Before that, the main festival exhibition, on the theme of “Time”, will open on 2 April at the Upper Floor Gallery in the town’s Market Hall. The above cartoon was submitted for the exhibition by Procartoonists.org member Pete Dredge.

The exhibition runs until 6 May and will then appear at the Qube Gallery in Oswestry. We will have more detail nearer the time. You can also visit the official website and follow the hashtag #shrews13 on Twitter.

Avatar of Royston

by Royston

Dutch success for cartoonists

February 4, 2013 in Events, News

 

Pete Dredge birdbox cartoon

© Pete Dredge @ Procartoonists.org

The Procartoonists.org members Pete Dredge and Graham Fowell have been singled out in the “Special Mention” category at the 18th Dutch Cartoon Festival. The theme of the exhibition was “Prejudices and Stereotypes”.

Pete told us: “I hadn’t entered one of these competitions for many years, probably over 30, so after the promptings of our Feco [Federation of Cartoonists' Organisations] officer, The Surreal McCoy, I thought, ‘Why not give it a go?’ Just missed out on the prize money, but delighted to make the Special Mention stage.”

Graham Fowell shepherds cartoon

© Graham Fowell @ Procartoonists.org

Graham added: “It is a lovely event – I have been a regular attendee for the past few years. The festival is now permanently held in Bergen op Zoom, a lovely little town in the south of Holland with a beautiful medieval town square.”

The full list of winners can be seen here. We send our congratulations to Pete, Graham and all the winning cartoonists.

Cartooning: Can I have that idea please?

August 9, 2012 in General, News

One of the prices for the skill of visual thinking is that sometimes other people admire them to the point of purchase, but not for direct attribution.

Private Eye Olympics cover @procartoonists.org

Private Eye Olympics cover 9th August 2012 @procartoonists.org

The picture above of the cover of the most recent issue of  Private Eye magazine is an example of this. But, er, exclusively, we can reveal the original cartoon behind the mass-market cover page printing.

Olympic_Martian_invasion_on_BBC © Pete Dredge @ procartoonists.org

© Pete Dredge @ procartoonists.org

Bright ideas, we’ve often got ‘em.

Putting on one’s top hat

June 6, 2012 in Events, General, News

Cartoonists have to be resourceful creatures because of the range of jobs they are asked to undertake. Procartoonists member Pete Dredge explains more:
At the start of the year I had a call from an agency requiring a witty cartoon to publicise a client’s beer festival. This was no ordinary beer festival…
Procartoonists.org  Peter Dredge Ascot Beer Festival

© Pete Dredge

Their budget was reasonable, roughs were presented and the job was completed and fee paid on time. There was also some throw away line about sending me some comp tickets for the October beer festival and also tickets for a June race meeting.
I had forgotten all about it  when, a few weeks ago, an invite to lunch with Ascot’s chief executive arrived, along with two passes for the Royal Enclosure on Royal Ascot Ladies Day. I had hardly time to get the eBay account online before the better half had bought the hat, chosen the outfit and matching accessories and booked the day off work. There was no way back. A visit to Moss Bros soon followed for suiting and booting (and top hatting). With a bit of luck there may be something left from the original fee to place an each way bet.
Procartoonists.org  Kate Scurfield on AScot Race Day

© Kate Scurfield

Pete was also in good company as the event has a fine tradition of using cartoonists to promote their day.
They had used Mac, Peattie & Taylor (“Alex”) and our very own Kate Scurfield in previous years, all hard acts to follow.

Private Eye gets services to cartooning award

December 7, 2011 in Comment, Events, News

Nick Newman Private Eye

Private Eye was presented with the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation Award for Services to Cartooning last night.

A small delegation from the PCO descended on the Eye’s Soho offices to present the award to Nick Newman, cartoonist and writer at the magazine, above, on behalf of the Editor, Ian Hislop.

Accepting the award, Nick said that the Eye had always been a staunch supporter of cartoons, from the early days when it would run two or three Willie Rushton cartoons to the present day which sees dozens of gags and strips in each issue.

Noting that the PCO gave the Award for Services to Cartooning last year to the Church Times, he added: “Obviously the Church Times is a much more humorous magazine …”

Pete Dredge, PCO member and regular Eye contributor, handed over the award, which he described as “a stylish, crystal-fashioned engraved paperweight recognising Lord Gnome’s 50 years of supporting the best of British cartooning and cartoonists”.

PCO Award for Services to Cartooning

He told the Bloghorn: “It is understood that the paperweight will be on display amongst the Eye’s other trophies, rather than holding down the ever-growing pile of cartoon submissions on the Editor’s desk.”

The PCO thanks the Eye for accepting the award, and appreciates the fact that the Ed did not say “Sorry not to use. Thanks for sending.”

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival 2011

April 14, 2011 in Events, News

Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival kicks off tonight with a drop-in cartoon workshop at the Bear Steps Gallery at 4.30pm, and a talk by Dr Nick Hiley from the British Cartoon Archive on the cartoons of Carl Giles at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery at 7pm, tickets £5.

In the meantime, the exhibition Personal Bests opened on Monday (also at the Bear Steps Gallery) and features cartoons on the Festival’s Olympic theme, including these:

Bloghorn Shrewsbury 2011 Olympics cartoon © Pete Dredge

Bloghorn Shrewsbury 2011 Olympics cartoon © Chichi Parish

Bloghorn Shrewsbury 2011 Olympics cartoon © Noel Ford
Bloghorn Shrewsbury 2011 Olympics cartoon © Royston Robertson

 

Come back to Bloghorn for coverage of the festival as it happens, or follow the hashtag #shrews11 on Twitter.

 

From Herriman to Holte: Another ten great cartoonists

January 19, 2011 in Comment

The cartoonist Gerald Scarfe has made a list of his ten favourite cartoonists, for the Daily Mail website. It includes some inarguable choices as well as some surprising ones.

Ronald Searle, widely regarded as Britain’s best living cartoonist, is on there. There are also choices from the worlds of fine art, such as Picasso, and film-making, which is represented by Walt Disney, more for his skill at getting great work from others than his own drawing talents.

We asked members of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, which runs the Bloghorn, to name their favourite cartoonists not on the Scarfe list. It’s not a poll, or a “top ten”, just an informal list of another ten great artists, and it shows the wealth of variety and creativity to be found in the world of cartooning.

Hector Breeze cartoon

1. Hector Breeze (Born 1928). Picked by Pete Dredge: “A master of the pocket cartoon. Out of the mouths of his mundane, benign, chunkily drawn characters comes the sharpest of captions.”

Robert Crumb cartoon

2. Robert Crumb (Born 1943). Picked by Royston Robertson: “He has been satirising the way we live since the 1960s with his dense, inky, cross-hatched drawings, displaying human folly in all its gory glory. Not for nothing was he described by the art critics Robert Hughes as ‘the Bruegel of the last half of the 20th century’.”

George Grosz painting

3. George Grosz (1893-1959). Picked by Matt Buck and Andrew Birch (both blatantly ignoring the brief of people not on Scarfe’s list, Bloghorn notes!) Matt says: “Grosz drew with an unsparing eye and produced powerful reflections of what people do rather than what they say they do.” Andrew adds: “For me German Expressionism was one of the most important art movements of the 20th century, whose brutal and honest line laid the foundation for many later cartoonists like Steadman.”

Heath Robinson cartoon

4. William Heath Robinson (1872-1944). Picked by Rupert Besley: “He was an original, creating a wonderful, instantly recognisable world of his own. He satirised the growth of mechanisation, but did so in a gloriously enjoyable way that always kept the human at the centre of it all. Which other cartoonist has added his name to the language and booked his place in every dictionary?”

George Herriman cartoon

5. George Herriman (1880-1944). Picked by Wilbur Dawbarn: “From the gorgeously scratchy line work and absolute poetry of the writing in the early years, to the sheer majesty of composition in the latter years, Herriman’s Sunday Krazy Kat pages are, to my mind, some of the finest examples of comic art ever penned.”

Holte cartoon

6. Trevor Holder, aka “Holte” (Born 1941). Picked by Roger Penwill: “Glorious technique, a master of expressive line and a very funny, wicked sense of humour. Some of his cartoons are timeless classics.”

Kliban cartoon

7. Bernard Kliban (1935-1990). Picked by Chris Madden: “I came across a book by B. Kliban: Cat Dreams. I’m not sure what they’re about. I’m not even sure if they’re funny (do cartoons actually have to be funny?) But they’re brilliant. Apparently he grew to detest drawing cats in the end, but they were what everybody wanted. Beware success.”

David Law cartoon

8. David Law (1908-1971). Picked by Steve Bright: “Beautifully fluid and loose line, amazing perspectives and angles, and the master of life and motion in all that he drew. Law inspired millions of kids to pick up a pencil through his marvellous work in the Beano, Dandy and Topper.”

Phil May cartoon

9. Phil May (1864-1903). Picked by Mike Turner: “A breakthrough in culling captions down to a minimum. Great art, brilliant caricatures, sheer good humour relating to ‘the man in the street’ or the ‘man on the horse-drawn omnibus’

Bill Tidy cartoon

10. Bill Tidy (Born 1933). Picked by Bill Stott: “For his excellent gags and consummate drawing, especially in his history-based stuff.”

What do you think of the list? Got a favourite cartoonist you’d like to add to it? Let us know in the comments below.