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St Just for laughs

October 22, 2014 in Events, General, News

St Just poster © Daryl Cagle

St Just poster © Daryl Cagle

Simon Ellinas writes:

I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Salon International Du Dessins de Presse et d’Humor at St Just-le-Martel in France. Impressively installed in a brand new building on the outskirts of this small satellite of the city of Limoges, this cartoon festival has been running for 33 years.

The permanent display of cartoons and caricatures from around the world makes this the largest public museum of cartoon art in Europe. The last time I was there, five years ago, the events took place inside a series of marquees, while the first bricks for the centre were being laid.

My cartoonist friend John Landers and I travelled by Eurostar to Paris where we met other cartoonists. The travel is laid on by the festival organisers and local residents put visitors up in their own homes. I was delighted to find that we had been handed over to my previous hosts, who live in a very spacious and comfortable house 12km away in Boisseuils.

Cartoonists Simon Ellinas, left, and John landers, second right, with new friends at the St Just festival

Cartoonists Simon Ellinas, left, and John landers, second right, with their hosts at the St Just festival

The whole weekend is taken up with a huge exhibition of cartoons and caricatures from around the world and a grand hall full of cartoonists drawing for the public. And the public really do appreciate this event, arriving in many hundreds on both days. The festival is actually spread out over ten or so days, with the first and second weekends being peaks of activity.

Various awards are handed out by the charismatic mayor and chief initiator of the whole thing, Gerard Vandenbroucke, the main award of the festival going to the Venezuelan cartoonist Rayma Suprani.

stjust_doc

We were treated to a French cabaret evening on the Friday and a superb visit to an old cinema in nearby St Leonard. This was to see the Cartooning for Peace documentary Caricaturistes: Fantassins de la Democratie (poster above). This featured 12 cartoonists from around the world who have been working, many under great restrictions from their governments, to uphold their rights to democracy and to free speech.

Featuring Suprana as well as the Cartooning for Peace organiser Jean Plantu, the film also revealed the difficulties faced by cartoonists as far afield as China, Palestine and Israel. A very moving film which I would urge you to see.

Daryl Cagle, left, with a caricature drawn by Philippe Moine, right

Daryl Cagle, left, with a caricature drawn by Philippe Moine, right

There was a contingent of political cartoonists from America, led by Daryl Cagle and including Monte Wolverton, Rick McKee, Steve Sack, Nate Beeler and Adam Zygler. The differences between US and UK political cartooning are interesting to compare. My impression is that the UK style is more predominantly “painterly” while the US cartoons are heavily populated with a very cartoony comic-strip style.

Jean Gouders, in the striped  shirt, and John Landers, in the traditional "defacing" of tablecloths

Jean Gouders, in the striped shirt, and John Landers, demonstrate the traditional “defacing” of tablecloths

Of course, part of the celebration and festivity are the meals with fellow cartoonists and friends. These take place at long tables in a huge marquee with the paper tablecloths becoming the centre of attention for all the artists and their arsenals of pens and markers.

All in all, a very inspiring if ultimately exhausting experience. I’ll be back.

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by Royston

Cartoonists on film

July 11, 2014 in Events, General, News

We like anything that bigs up the noble art of cartooning and a new French documentary called Cartoonists: Footsoldiers of Democracy does that with its title alone.

Details of a UK release date or TV screening have not been revealed but this English-subtitled trailer recently appeared on the internet, so hopefully we will get to see it.

The film, which focuses on 12 cartoonists from around the world, was screened earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival. Read a review here.

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by Royston

Talking truth to power

February 2, 2014 in Events, News

Cartoon © Andy Davey @ Procartoonists.org

Cartoon © Andy Davey @ Procartoonists.org

Andy Davey, PCO member and former editorial cartoonist at The Sun is presenting a talk hosted by the Centre for Journalism at the University of Kent on Wednesday (5 February).

It’s called Truth, Power and … Cartoons: Are political cartoons irrelevant? and is part of a week of presentations on activism, campaigning and politics at the university.

Andy told us: “I’m showing how important, trenchant and powerful cartoons have been in times of yore and comparing with today’s cosy relationship between cartoonists, newspapers and politicians.”

He said the talk will also look at how political cartooning is “a life and death business” in other. less democratic countries.

“I want to make the point that we mainly address the Westminster Village soap opera, regardless of the fact that it has less and less power. Why do the real power brokers – global institutions, banks, funds, world trade organisations etc – escape criticism while we shout at the Westminster puppets on stage?”

He will also look at the changes cartoonists face in the digital age and what their future might be. Andy said he will be “making a plea that cartoons can still be powerful – perhaps when released from editors’ whims”.

The talk, which will be followed by a question and answer session, is at 1pm in room PK008 of the Pilkington Building, in the university’s Medway Campus in Chatham.

End of an era at Private Eye

December 17, 2012 in Events, News

Tony_Rushton_private_eye @ procartoonists.org

Tony Rushton, for sometime of Private Eye @ procartoonists.org

Private Eye magazine says farewell to its longtime art director Tony Rushton tomorrow, with a party near its offices in Soho, London.

Tony has been with the magazine for 50 years, joining at issue 11, and is responsible for the old-school “cut n’ paste” look to which Britain’s leading satirical magazine has doggedly stuck over the decades.

He’s also the man the cartoonists deal with, though the ultimate decision on what goes in the mag is made by Ian Hislop, the editor. Pete Dredge, a Procartoonists.org member and Private Eye veteran (sorry, Pete) told us:

“Receiving a ‘Good morning, good morning, it’s Tony Rushton’ phonecall is usually a precursor of good news for cartoonist contributors to Private Eye. An acceptance of a single gag idea, or more rarely, a cartoon strip commission, is usually heralded by a call from Tony.

“Things do change at the Eye but usually inperceptibly – when did Colemanballs become Commentatorballs? – so it will be interesting to see how Tony’s departure after 50 years will have an impact on the unique look of the mag, a look that has borne the Rushton stamp for all these years.”

The Independent has a profile of Tony here, which features this key quote:

“If you took away the cartoons from Private Eye it would be a very boring magazine, a worthy, boring magazine.”

Procartoonists.org says amen to that and wishes Tony Rushton the very best for his retirement.

Photo from V&A’s Private Eye at 50 video, via Eye magazine (a different one)

Gin and opinions

December 14, 2011 in Comment

Gin Lane Gazette

Cartoonists have long adopted the technique of writing about the future or the past as a good way of talking about the present day.

But PCO member Adrian Teal is adapting this artifice with a crowd-funded project on the history of 18th century Britain, which he explains in a short video pitch. 

Adrian is working with the Unbound book site which provides a platform for authors to pitch their products to would-be book buyers for self-funding.

His Gin Lane Gazette – an 18th century version of Heat magazine – follows a similar path to The Opinions of Tobias Grubbe, the news cartoon that appears weekly in the digital Telegraph.

Tobias Grubbe animated cartoon © Michael Cross and Matthew Buck hack Cartoons

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by Royston

Private Eye: Looking good at 50

September 13, 2011 in Events, News

Private Eye at 50

Private Eye celebrates its 50th birthday next month and appears to be in rude health, bucking the downward trend for magazine circulation in the digital age.

The anniversary is October 25 but the celebrations start on Tuesday (September 20) with the release of a new book Private Eye: The First 50 Years, a history of the magazine written by the Eye journalist Adam Macqueen that charts its rise from 300 copies of the first edition in 1961, below, to a fortnightly circulation of more than 200,000.

First issue of Private Eye

The book features interviews with key players in the Private Eye story, rare archive material and unseen photos. (There are some “seen” ones too.) And, of course, there is an abundance of the cartoons that are so central to appeal of the magazine.

You can see more of those, including many by members of the PCO, which runs The Bloghorn, when the famously anti-establishment magazine puts on a First 50 Years exhibition at the very establishment Victoria and Albert Museum [Shurely shome mishtake? – Ed]. It opens at the V&A on October 18 and runs until January 8.

Cartoons will be shown in themed sections, on politics, royalty and social observation, and there will be gags, long-running strips and caricatures. The Bloghorn will have more on the exhibition nearer the time.

Ian Hislop, Editor of the magazine, has said of the 50th anniversary: “I do not want anyone to think that this is all just a huge celebration of ourselves. Our 50th year is a chance to look back and take a dispassionate view of how marvellous we are.”

You can read more on how marvellous they are in a Media Guardian article this week and even Vanity Fair is on the case with a piece by Christopher Hitchens. Updates on the 50th anniversary celebrations will appear on the Private Eye at 50 blog.

The Bloghorn is made on behalf of the UK’s Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation

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by Royston

Alex's thoughts turn to love

June 3, 2010 in News

Alex in Love
An exhibition entitled Alex in Love opens today at the Last Tuesday Society in East London, and runs until June 18.

Via a selection of comic strips from The Independent and The Daily Telegraph, from 1987 to the present day, Alex will divulge some of the wisdom and expertise he has acquired on the art of love. The infamous City boy character, created by Charles Peattie and Russell Taylor, has been married for 20 years, we are told, though that does include four affairs and a career’s worth of strip-club expenses claims.

The Last Tuesday Society, at 11 Mare Street, Hackney – a gallery which boasts a quirky shop selling a range of exotic objects from two-headed teddy bears to mummified penises – is open Wed-Sun, 12-7pm. The nearest Tube station is Bethnal Green.

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by Royston

Two political cartoon shows to open

October 5, 2009 in General

brookes_times
Two political cartoon exhibitions open in London next week, at the Chris Beetles Gallery and the Political Cartoon Gallery.

PeterBrookes: The Best of Times, above, is at the Chris Beetles Gallery from Monday (October 12) until October 31. More than 100 of Brookes’s most recent cartoons from The Times will be on display. Signed copies of the book accompanying the show are available from the gallery.

The Chris Beetles Gallery, at 8 and 10 Ryder Street, St James’s (nearest Tube Green Park or Piccadilly Circus) is open Mon-Sat, 10am–5.30pm.

Drawings by Peter Brookes also feature in Cameron in Caricature, an exhibition of cartoons on the Tory leader David Cameron is at the Political Cartoon Gallery from next Tuesday (October 13) until December 24.

morland_cameron
Cameron’s infamous Twitter faux pas, as seen by Morten Morland

The exhibition of 60 original cartoons charts the fortunes of Cameron since he became leader in December 2005. It will feature cartoons by political cartoonists such as Martin Rowson, Steve Bell, Morten Morland, Dave Brown, Peter Schrank, Ingram Pinn and Andy Davey.

The Political Cartoon Gallery, 32 Store Street, is open Mon-Fri 9.30am–5.30pm and Sat 11.30am–5.30pm.

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by Royston

The other side of cartoonist Barry Fantoni

April 9, 2009 in General

fantoni1

Barry Fantoni with his Portrait of the Duke of Edinburgh, at the Woodstock Gallery, 1963

The exhibition Barry Fantoni: Public Eye, Private Eye is at the Thomas Williams Fine Art Gallery, in Old Bond Street, London, from April 22 until May 22.

Barry Fantoni has had a long association with Private Eye magazine since 1963, and remains a member of the editorial staff, currently drawing the regular “Scenes You Seldom See” cartoon. He also writes the magazine’s comic obituary poems as “E. J. Thribb, 17” and is the man behind the stories by “Sylvie Krin”.

But his private life as a painter, creating landscapes, interiors and images of friends and lovers since the 1960s, will be revealed for the first time in this new exhibition, alongside his cartoons. The paintings show Fantoni to be part of the influential London School, whose most famous exponents are David Hockney, Lucien Freud and R.B. Kitaj.

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Barry Fantoni, Lorna, c.1975, 101.5 x 76 cm, oil on canvas

Fantoni was the front-page cartoonist for The Times from 1983-1990, a regular illustrator for Radio Times and The Listener, art critic for The Times and a music reviewer for Punch. He was presenter on the BBC’s 1960s music and fashion programme “A Whole Scene Going On” and cartoonist for the satirical show “That Was The Week That Was”.

fantoni3
Barry Fantoni, Cheer up, March 1990

A catalogue for the exhibition, with an introduction by former Private Eye editor Richard Ingrams, is published by Thomas Williams to accompany the exhibition.

The Thomas Williams Fine Art Gallery is open 10am – 6pm, Monday to Friday. For more call 020-7491 1485 or visit the website.

There’s more on Barry Fantoni in The Independent this week.