Artist of the Month: Nathan Ariss


Nathan Ariss tells Bloghorn what and who makes him laugh in the last of our posts about him and his work:

I admire any stand-up or sit-down comedian who can actually make me laugh as I’m quite a tough audience. I enjoy clever, quick-witted jokes, but I can also go for gentle, human, observational stuff and even the lightest of whimsy (so long as it’s delightful). I love the strength and simplicity of purely visual – “silent” – comedy and revel in surreal, lateral and blatantly absurd cartoons, because I think I must be really smart to “get” them.

A simple name-check of artists would have me list Quentin Blake, for sheer freedom of line and overall life-affirming execution; early Searle, (particularly Molesworth and St. Trinian’s), and Thelwell both for their superb techniques for what is, in essence, simply getting black on white. Hargreaves for required lessons in describing movement; David Low’s war cartoons; Posy Simmonds, Jean-Jacques Sempé, Charles Ardizzone, David Gentlemen and Chris Orr, variously, for illustration; Mort Drucker and David Stoten for characterisation; Liberatore’s RanXerox, Manfred Deix and Terry Gilliam for grotesques; Don Martin, Gary Larson, Gilbert Shelton, Robert Crumb, Hunt Emerson, Frank Cotham, “Bud” Handelsman and Holte, all for various style and cartoon services rendered; and finally, nearly everyone I can think of with that casual, “free-line” feel: Scarfe, Steadman, Larry, Tidy, Hoffnung, Bretecher, Husband, Lowry, Feiffer, Sorrel, and Myers, not to mention more than a few of the artists currently frequenting the membership pages of the PCO.

Not content with Nathan’s efforts to answer this question, Bloghorn ruthlessly asked him how he sees the future of cartooning in the digital age:

I tend to believe that the future is full of unexplored possibilities and is not one automatically to be feared. Yes, these are serious times for humourists, but I am determined to remain positive about the prospects for the arts in general, no matter how impoverished and altered the markets may become. Cartooning, it seems to me, is the last remaining art form which is not recognised as such, and I believe that the next decade will see a better appreciation and understanding develop for the craft in its own right. There are some exceptional talents currently working in this country, and who knows? We may just have entered a glorious new age of the modern cartoonist.

Bloghorn thanks Nathan for his thoughts over the past four weeks and promises a new artist of the month next Friday. Please come back to find out who it will be.

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