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Knokke Heist 2017/8 cartoon festival

June 27, 2019 in Events, General

Des Buckley writes:

“It’s all doves with laurels flying over a tank.CCGB doyenLes Lilley.

The Knokke-Heist Cartoon Festival sets up camp on a Belgium beach promenade each Summer. On display are two major exhibitions including their International Competition. Knokke & Heist are conjoined seaside towns on the sandy channel coast. In recent years Ive dropped by their shiny plastic tent to dawdle & gawp. Last year, perhaps unsurprisingly no Union Jacks adorned the flag poles outside. Indeed in the last two years only two UK Cartoons were on show, both from the same artist. I’m genuinely unsure whether this reflects recent spats with FECO, indifference or nothing in particular. Alas I’ll miss this years 58th show as my annual road trip falls after it closes. A couple of visits to Cartoon Fest does not a critic make, I’m no Brian Sewell, though I do have a red face & talk bollocks…

The Festival features 2 x shows. A selection of Belgian editorial cartoons & the International Gouden Hoed’ (Golden HatCartoon Exhibition. Facsimiles of the cartoons are interned within the fabric of plastic panels in the marquee.

1. Belgian Cartoon Exhibition

The Belgium press cartoons are helpfully translated into English, French & Flemish. Our European pals across the Channel share our liberal sensibilities & disdain for authority. In the wake of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ & outrages in Brussels Belgian Cartoonists seem less ‘sensitive’ in their representations of terrorism, terrorists & sexual politics. I’m aware there are fault lines between Belgium’s French & Walloon populations but lacked the nous to spot evidence of this in this display. The Politico-Social Cartoons were lively & vibrant. The impudent pocket cartoons almost poke you in the eye. Whilst I can’t be sure, my impression is the cartoonists aren’t entirely on the same page. I found this refreshing & imagine them (perhaps unfairly) as dysfunctional hissing cats. The general direction was ‘look at what those prat politicians are doing’ but, there were a couple taking wicked potshots at demented demonstrators. The sexual quotient was more muted than I anticipated but in the shop there were postcards that would have Donald McGill gagging on his little stick of Blackpool rock.

2. Gouden Hoed’ (Golden Hat) Int. Cartoon Exhibition

Linguistic gymnastics are almost superfluous in the larger International show. Most artwork carries no captions and little text. In attempting to reach out to all, artists opt for high visual impact and political caricature.

Cartoon by © Kanar (Belgium)

We in the West seem to be indulging in bouts of self flagellation & unseemly flirtations with shameless snake-oil salesmen. I like Rich Hall (Melty faced US Comedian) but don’t agree with his tirade against Political Cartoons. Much on display at Knokke-Heist is absolutely glorious. But however gorgeous the artwork or compelling the theme, viewing multiple Donald Trumps somewhat dulls approbation.Some International Contributors whilst happy to take a swipe at his Orangenessmay be transmitting more nuanced messagesabout repression. In the UK our ability to lampoon without fear of grim consequence was hard won.

Cartoon by © Josef Parchal (Spain)

It’s foolish to draw conclusions about a show chosen by panel from global Cartoon submissions. One embarrassing anomaly being the Brazilian cartoon that appeared inthe 2017& 201catalogue! It is remarkable however, that so much content comes from countries that might euphemistically be considered to haveauthoritarian regimes.Whilst Mr Putin was another predictable ‘aunt Sally’ other obvious brigands & despots were noticeable by their absence. My prejudice on this was informed by remarks made at a recent PCO hosted event. The fear of giving offence is not just about personal safety but genuine anxiety about the implications for family members, even if that cartoonist is exiled. Cartoonists elsewhere may live with harsher sanctions than an ugly Twitter-storm.

Cartoon by © Nicola Listes (Croatia)

Visiting this exhibition is a rewarding & enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. Humour is subjective & was not entirely obligatory. The artworks went from animated squiggles to epilepsy inducing tapestries of colour. There were a sprinkling of earnest graphic statements but most works had humorous intent. Cartoonists from Iran & Turkey were especially numerous with an exquisite variety of work. We all understand that an apparently tossed off doodle can take hours! Some of the carefully crafted Iranian Artwork was Herculean in ambition & execution. I loved the exhibition.

Les Lilley’s quote (above) was made in jest but there is truth in it. Perhaps a lack of embarrassment when illustrating occasionally naive political statements confers gravitas. If a cartoon dares to be serious it may persuade viewers to take cartoons seriously. This could explain why Continental Cartoonists can be afforded respect as artists & why ruthless regimes harass them. Me, I prefer cartoons to be funny too!

Name check: The singular British contributor was Jason McClarnin, top marks to him.

Information

The Knokke-Heist Festival’s event is popular & well resourced. The coastal towns heavily promote it on the web, in their literature & tourist office. Cartoons seems to enjoy a cultural prestige which is absent in the UK. Belgium has surrealism ‘form’ and a fine cartoon legacy from Herge (Tin Tin) through Peyo (Smurfs) to Bob de Groot. For those grumbling about lack of markets, check out the cash prizes & consider entering by December 2019 in time for 2020!

Web: myknokke-heist.be. Address: Strand ter hoogte van het Heldenplein

Exhibition: 29 June – 1 September 2019 

Opening times: 10am to 7pm Entry: Free

Prizes: 1. Gold €10,000 2. Silver €5,000 3. Bronze €1,000.

All photos by © Des Buckley

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by Jonesy

Crowdfunding the soundtrack to a motion comic

June 17, 2019 in General

© The Surreal McCoy

PCO member The Surreal McCoy/Carol Isaacs is turning to the world wide web to fund her new audio-visual project The Wolf of Baghdad, the little-known story of Iraq’s lost Jews as told through her family’s memories. With the graphic memoir drawn and turned into a motion comic (semi-animated film) all that’s needed is to record the music soundtrack to complete the project and turn it into a DVD.

Through an online campaign on Kickstarter she is hoping the age-old patron-artist relationship will provide the necessary pledges from fans already gained to date and spread the word over the internet to new ones. However if the £8000 budget isn’t raised over the 30-day fundraising window all pledges are cancelled and it doesn’t go ahead.

Early critical responses to the live performances of The Wolf of Baghdad have been extremely positive. Claudia Roden (food writer and cultural anthropologist) said it was “an enthralling and moving combination of art and music” and “magical”. Lyn Julius of Harif called it a “tour de force” and “the most exciting animated audio-visual experience since Persepolis”. Alex Fitch at Panel Borders/Resonance FM, found it “moving, exhilarating and powerful, and the musical accompaniment fits the visuals perfectly”. Adding, “The Wolf of Baghdad is a terrific addition to the newly emerging form of the live motion comic, following in the footsteps of other recent examples such as Dave McKean’s Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash, and Neil Gaiman and Eddie Campbell’s The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains.”

Through this exciting new genre of a motion comic, the story has a chance to be seen by a much wider audience. The Kickstarter pledges will pay for London-based JudeoArabic band 3yin – pronounced “ayin”, Hebrew for eye – to record the soundtrack for the animation using traditional instruments and repertoire and for the manufacture of DVDs and music CDs. Other rewards include limited-edition signed prints from the graphic memoir and an exclusive house concert by 3yin.

© The Surreal McCoy

The campaign launches today: To learn more visit the Kickstarter pitch page here.

About The Surreal McCoy/Carol Isaacs:

As cartoonist The Surreal McCoy her work has been published in the New Yorker, Sunday Times, Readers’ Digest, Spectator and more. Her first graphic memoir The Wolf of Baghdad will be published by Myriad Editions in January 2020. As a musician Carol has worked extensively with many international artists including Sinead O’Connor (Ireland), Indigo Girls (USA), Phongsit Kampee (Thailand) and Ahmed Mukhtar (Iraq).

See more at thewolfofbaghdad.wordpress.com

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by Jonesy

PCO member Royston Robertson is holding his first solo exhibition at his local micropub

June 14, 2019 in General

A classic Royston cartoon from Private Eye © Royston Robertson and Private Eye
A regular contributor to national magazines such as Private Eye and The Spectator, he is showing 15 of his favourite published works at the Four Candles, a tiny pub that also brews its own beer, in Broadstairs, Kent.
Royston said: “I’ve exhibited cartoons in group shows all over the UK and internationally, but I’ve somehow never managed to get round to putting on a solo show. So what better place to start than the micropub at the end of my street?
“There are 15 gag cartoons on display so we’re calling it a micro-exhibition. I hope people will pop along to see it and have a few chuckles with their beer.”
The man himself with pen – correction – pint in hand…
Photograph by Brian Green Photography
The cartoons are all available as signed and framed prints at just £50 each, with £5 from each going to Macmillan Cancer Support, the pub’s favourite charity.
Four Candles regulars will be familiar with Royston’s work as he drew a large board explaining the brewing process in cartoon form, and featuring many of the pub’s clientele, which has been displayed alongside the casks for the past four years. Prints of that cartoon are also on sale in the show.
For each cartoon sold £5 will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support, the pub’s favourite charity
Photograph by Brian Green Photography

Borderline Funny

June 13, 2019 in Events, General

Rupert Besley writes:

On the banks of the Tyne at Wallsend, downstream from Newcastle, is Segedunum, the large Roman fort that marked the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall. A century back, the space was crammed with terraced housing and rang to the sounds of shipbuilding in the Swan Hunter yard. It was here in 1906 that the Mauretania was launched, then the biggest moving structure ever made.These days the houses have gone and site cleared to reveal the foundations of the mighty garrison. Shipyard buildings have been converted to form a superb museum, impressive for its collection of Roman finds, its reconstructions and its many activities. The museum’s Viewing Tower is a welcome sight to those completing the 84-mile Hadrian’s Wall Walk from Bowness-on-Solway. And this summer, for all who like cartoons (that’s everyone, isn’t it?), there is one further attraction: an exhibition of Hadrian’s Wall in cartoons.

The museum exterior.

Many congratulations to all involved, notably the volunteer Friends of Segedunum who have so well researched, resourced and curated Borderline Funny. With generous support from a variety of directions (including Lottery funding), they have put together a handsomely mounted show that includes contributions from a good few PCO members along with cartooning colleagues well known from Private Eye and Viz.Prominent in the exhibition, and rightly so, is the work of Roger Oram (1952-2016), an archaeologist who worked for 20 years at Segedunum and was also a spare-time cartoonist with an eye for satirical barbs.

One of the contributions from the children of Richardson Dees Primary School.

The exhibition spills over into the adjoining gallery with its cartoon contributions from visitors and local children, notably those from Richardson Dees Primary School in Wallsend, who worked on the project with Beano artist Nigel Auchterlounie.

Time was when printed publications had plentiful space for cartoons. Such outlets are shrinking fast, so it’s a most welcome thing that the enterprising folk of Tyne & Wear have done. A themed cartoon show makes an attractive add-on for any event or site – not just museums or places of interest: think sporting occasions, food fairs, professional conventions, local festivals, cultural happenings…

The PCO has regularly engaged with such undertakings, but the costs and logistical problems of such an exercise are really too much to expect one or two volunteers to manage. The task of assembling originals from all round the country, storing these, mounting, framing, hanging, insuring, supervising, handling sales and return despatch, is prohibitive, unless done in partnership with a gallery set up full-time for such activity.

Cartoon original by © Tony Husband

Top panel by Viz cartoonists © Graham Dury and Simon Thorp, courtesy of Dennis Publishing. Plus below cartoons by ©  K J Lamb and Clive Goddard.

At Segedunum they found another way through. Dispensing with originals (apart from the two generously donated by Tony Husband for fundraising purposes), they first obtained permissions and digital scans from the artists and then had these plus text printed by a local firm (to a very high standard) on to thick display board, cut to appropriate shapes. (A note advises visitors of contact details available to anyone interested in buying.) Still a way that needs money, hard work and much input from volunteers, but a very neat solution. Borderline brilliant, I’d say.

©  Rupert Besley’s take on the theme.

List of contributors

The exhibition runs right until Sunday 22 September.

Book Marks exhibition

June 5, 2019 in Events, General, News

Poster cartoons by © Sarah Boyce, The Surreal McCoy & Noel Ford.

Clive Goddard writes:

An exhibition of cartoons on the theme of books, literature and libraries drawn by the UK’s finest and funniest cartoonists. Appropriately enough the show will be taking place at Westminster Reference Library from June 3rd to 22nd and is free to enter.

The show features work by over 30 members of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (PCO) including a host of familiar cartoonists from the pages of The Guardian, The Independent, Private Eye and the rest of the British press, whose signed originals and prints will be on sale. For a list of exhibitors & price list for the works please email:

info@procartoonists.org

Cartoon by © Chris Madden.

Cartoon by © Jeremy Banx.

During the exhibition, on Saturday 15th June 2-4 pm, there will be a free drawing workshop run by cartoonist Zoom Rockman, creator of the Zoom comic and the Beano’s Skanky Pigeon strip as well as work in Private Eye magazine. This event is free and suitable for all ages but spaces are limited so booking is highly recommended via the Westminster Libraries website.

Cartoon by The Independent’s © Dave Brown

Cartoon by © Richard Jolley.

Westminster Reference Library can be found at: 35 St. Martin’s Street, London WC2H 7HP.D

Cartoon by The Guardian cartoonist © Martin Rowson

Private Eye cartoon by © Glenn Marshall