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Offensive Weapon?

March 16, 2020 in Events, General

Glenn Marshall writes:

Procartoonists recently hosted a panel discussion labelled ‘OFFENSIVE WEAPON?’ at the North London Story Festival. The talk centred around the issue of cartoons causing offence and where to draw the line. I was joined by Carol Isaacs AKA The Surreal McCoy and The Guardian’s Martin Rowson.

I opened with a brief look at the history of cartoons causing offence, including this one by Richard Newton in 1798, of John Bull farting in the face of George III – oh how we love a fart gag! Newton had his first cartoon published when he was 13 and went on to be supported by the radical publisher William Holland, producing further attacks not only on the Royals and Napoleon but also the slave trade. His short but prolific career ended when he died of typhus aged just 21.

This cartoon by James Gillray of the then Duke of York could’ve been a recent cartoon about the current Duke of York – it’s regularly pastiched. It was deemed acceptable when drawn 1792, but when it was included in a collection of Gillray’s work in the more puritanical Victorian era – around the 1840s – the books were impounded by the police for being obscene. It was only deemed suitable for the public at large in 2009!

Martin mainly talked about his own experience with offence. The cartoon above from the Guardian was his response to the 2017 van attack on the Finsbury Park Mosque, a comment on how some of the print media can incite hate.

Paul Dacre’s Daily Mail went apoplectic with a front page banner raging ‘Fake news, the fascist left and the REAL purveyors of hate’ and went on to an outraged ‘comment’ page. Clearly Martin was doing something right!

Bernard Verlhac (Tignous), Georges Wolinski; Jean Cabut, (Cabu), Stephane Charbonnier (Charb) Jean Cabut (Cabu).

Martin also talked about the Charlie Hebdo attack, paying tribute to the 12 people murdered including the four cartoonists above.

Carol, who is the PCO’s committee member for overseas, discussed issues around the globe of cartoonists who have been persecuted and censored. This covered many of the people we have campaigned for, along with our friends from Cartoonists’ Rights Network International

This is one of many great drawings Carol showed by the Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat who has had a long history of being attacked and censored by the current regime for his work. He now operates out of Kuwait.

This topical cartoon by Niels Bo Bojesen from Danish daily newspaper Jyllands-posten published in January caused the Chinese embassy in Denmark to demand an apology.

Following our talk, we were fortunate that the next speaker cancelled, as we ran into a prolonged and lively Q&A.

Our travelling GAGGED exhibition on suppression and censorship of cartoonists sound the globe also had an outing over the festival.

Thanks  to the festival organiser from Middlesex University for inviting us along.

The Wolf of Baghdad released

February 27, 2020 in Events, General, News

I’ve just wolfed down in one sitting the wonderful, recently published ‘The Wolf of Baghdad’ by PCO’s Carol Isaacs, AKA The Surreal McCoy, published by Myriad Edition. It follows the story of Carol’s family roots and the everyday life of the Jewish community in Baghdad, where a quarter of the city’s population were Jewish up until the little-known vicious pogram of 1941. Within a decade nearly all 150,000 had been murdered or exiled.

All illustrations © The Surreal MCoy

The wolf in the title originates from the Baghdadi Jews belief that the wolf protects them from harmful demons.

I love the illustrations of the ghostly characters and buildings and the limited, muted colour palette that evolves to segment different parts of the story. The wonderful, clean line drawing reminded me of Marjane Satrapi’s ‘Persepolis’.
Although the novel is wordless it is punctuated by really insightful testimonies.

There is also a superb, evocative soundtrack which Carol performs on along with the band ‘3yin’ which is great to listen to while reading the book for the complete Surround-O-Vison experience!

Some quotes about the book:

The book has some great reviews including this from UK comic shop Page 45. This from The Jewish Cronicle and one from The Morning Star.

Carol and 3yin playing live with visuals from the motion comic at The Phoenix cinema in East Finchley last November.

The Surreal McCoy has recently been talking about the book at the  Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters in Kerala, India and has visited New York for a premier screening of the DVD at The New York Sephardic Film Festival 2020. There are also some shows coming up including Carol and 3yin playing live with moving visuals from the book at JW3 in London on 5th March. Recommended for a unique experience.

The book can be purchased direct from Myriad Edition

For updates on the project follow The Wolf of Baghdad blog.

Political Cartoon Awards 2019 – The Results

December 17, 2019 in Events, General, News

The winners! Peter Schrank standing in for Peter Brookes, Photo © Kasia Kowalska


Clive Goddard writes:

Another year of backslapping and mingling with strangers has been and gone at the glitzy Poltical Cartoon Awards. This time the whole event was forced to decamp from its usual palatial venue due to ‘the impending election’ causing everyone to cram into the offices of the sponsor over the road. The body heat generated by the assembled humans made the free, cold beer even more essential.

Veteran MPs, Kate Hoey and Ken Clarke had been dragged away from their respective sofas and selflessly agreed to miss Emmerdale in order to hand out the gongs, almost all of which went to the younger end of the cartooning spectrum. The winners, featuring a good showing from PCO members, were as follows:

Political Cartoon of the Year, 
Rebecca Hendin, The Guardian.

Runner up Politcal Cartoon of the Year, Ben Jennings, 
The Guardian.

Political Cartoonist of the Year
, Dave Brown, The Independent.

Runner-up
 Political Cartoonist of the Year, Peter Brookes, The Times.

Pocket Cartoon of the YearZoom Rockman, Private Eye.

Pocket Cartoonist of the Year
, Jeremy Banx, Financial Times.

Jeremy Banx says a few words, Photo © Ellwood Atfield

Cartoon Glenn Marshall meets Ken Clarke, Photo © Lord Lucan

Zoom Rockman meets Ken Clarke, Photo © Ellwood Atfield

Rebecca Hendin meets Ken Clarke, Photo © Ellwood Atfield

Brian Adcock meets Ken Clarke Photo © Donna Payne


Send in the Clowns?

December 8, 2019 in Comment, Events

Cartoon by © Rupert Besley

Rupert Besley writes:

[a personal viewpoint, not purporting in any way to represent the opinions of the PCO]

For the first time in my life I’m seriously wondering if humour might not be doing more harm than good. That’s a worrying thought and no conclusion I would ever wish to reach. I get to this point down the following route.

The expert analysis of recognised independent think-tanks all seems to agree that Brexit, hard or soft, will leave the country’s economy worse off than before and that those who will suffer most are those already hardest hit and at the bottom of the pile. And yet the parties pursuing this course (Conservative and Brexit) are those that have been riding high in the polls and especially so in the least well-off areas.

I can think of only one explanation for this and it comes in three parts.

Firstly, television has turned politics into a celebrity contest. The two-second conclusions of grassroots opinion foisted on us each day by television news are by their nature superficial and short. Vox pop verdicts may do people a disservice, but from them it seems that large numbers of voters are deciding not on policy or even party but just on the personality of each leader.

Next, no such Johnson-Corbyn dance-off begins on an even footing. The UK press, predominantly in right-wing hands, has seen to that. Boris Johnson, one of their own, is portrayed as loveable chump, accorded the status of national treasure and first-name recognition. The cameras love him, as he does them. For years the most widely read papers in this country have found space each day to vilify Corbyn (surname only), made out to be some kind of crazed communist blend of racist and terrorist. (The shame, perhaps, is that he himself does not do personal attacks on anyone.)

Finally, in any such competition, the guy-in-the-pub, say-it-straight, got-all-the-answers funster image of a Johnson or a Farage will come across to many (or any who don’t know them) as more appealing than the duller, dour, more complicated and apparently humourless mode of a Corbyn.  What else is there to explain the strong personal lead Johnson enjoys in the polls, regardless of his track record? Baffled by the complexities of the political situation and bored with its repetitiveness, people are looking instead for good cheer and light relief.

I accept that we live in an age when a political leader has to have ‘personality’ and be  good on television. They need that to carry the country with them. Things were different in the world I came into. Attlee was a modest man and self-effacing. Of him it was said, ‘An empty taxi drew up in Downing St and Clement Attlee stepped out.’  Stafford Cripps was not known for his laddishness. But, as Chancellor, he is credited with laying the foundations of Britain’s post-war economic prosperity. The Attlee government, which included the likes of Nye Bevan, Hugh Gaitskell and Herbert Morrison, created the NHS and greatly expanded the welfare state. Earnest, high-minded politicians, intent on tackling the ills of the world – but none of them great for a larf.

How might it have been, one wonders, if in those post-war decades the electorate had gone instead for the characters played by the most popular comics of the day? Ken Dodd for Chancellor, perhaps. Or Charlie Drake? Arthur Askey for PM or maybe Bernard Bresslaw. I only arsked.

Bringing Animals to Life cartoon workshop

October 30, 2019 in Events, General

Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery have asked Jonathan Cusick to repeat the animal cartoon workshop he ran during this year’s cartoon festival, during the October half term.
‘Bringing Animals to Life’ is on Halloween, 31st October. It’s one of the activities they’ve ran to tie in with a major exhibition by local comic leg-end Charlie Adlard. (‘Drawn of the Dead’, on show at the museum until 3rd November). Fellow PCO’er Tat Effby ran a family zombie portrait workshop in August.
Jonathan shows various key principles for cartoon drawing, then visitors get to apply these directly in a drawing session working from various exhibits from the museum’s taxidermy archive. In April the selection included squirrels, ducks, owls, badgers, crows and an alligator. It’s fun and for artists of all abilities and ages; a perfect half term activity for the family.

Places are limited, the April workshop sold out.
Tickets are £8 and can be booked via https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/shrewsburymuseum and include all-day entry to the museum.

Ye Olde Whynge

October 16, 2019 in Events

Ben Jennings, Dave Simmonds, Dave Brown & George Leigh. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Kasia Kowalska writes:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, if was the age of foolishness, if was the epoch of belief, if was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, if was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted of its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Charles Dickens “A Tale of Two Cities”

It is widely acknowledged that the collective noun for cartoonists is a whinge.

At the beginning of the year, I had asked a whinge of cartoonists to make good on their bellyaching about not seeing one another often enough. They complained that they were sick of solitary sobbing over their paint pots and drawing boards and were vexed with venting into the void about the state of the world. And so, Ye Olde Whynge was born. Seemingly, out of frustration.

Jeremy Banx & Tim Sanders in compulsory berets. photo © Kasia Kowalska

The Whynge is an informal and unaffiliated cartoonist gathering in a small, friendly pub in central London. Topics of conversation have historically included: the B-words, the T-word, the state of the nation and the state of the world, not to mention the occasional heated debate about gouache and appropriate sharpness of pencils.

 Marten Minkema interviews Ros Asquith. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

The September Whynge played host to a special guest from the Netherlands, Marten Minkema, who was gathering material for a radio programme commissioned by the Dutch National Radio, NPO 1.

The subject of the report was Brexit from the view point of British cartoonists, as a means to elucidate the current situation in the UK and explain it to those living across the Channel, with a prevailing motto of ‘show me your cartoons and I’ll show you your country.’

Marten Minkema attempts to interview Steve Way while Rob Murray savages the microphone. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Marten wanted to find out whether the dynamics of Brexit provide inspiration, or whether it is difficult for cartoonists to surpass reality. The voices of Steve Way, Ros Asquith, Martin Rowson, Bob Moran, Martin Newman, Mac (Stanley McMurtry) and Dave Brown provide some of the answers.

Many raised eyebrows when Marten said he’d brought over a substance for us all to try…turns out it was a fine Dutch cheese.

‘Brexit: De Spotprent Voorbij’ (‘Brexit: Beyond the Cartoon’) is available on NPO1 (the Whynge section begins at 06:57)

Cartoonists are welcome to come along to the next Whynge and have a good whinge.

 

Additional cheese photography by Glenn Marshall.

PCO’s Gagged at St-Just-Le-Martel 2019

October 8, 2019 in Events, General, News

The Surreal McCoy writes:

Our exhibition had two outings this year: one at the high-profile Defend Media Conference in London during the summer and then again at the St-Just-Le-Martel Salon d’Humor in France over September/October.

58 cartoons by 25 members were displayed at the Centre Permanent’s exhibition space that saw many visitors over the two weeks of the festival. Very positive feedback was received from the educators who guided around 50 groups of schoolchildren around our exhibition. Yes, the art of cartooning is taken very seriously in France!

‘Steve Bell: 40 Years of Political Cartoons’ exhibition

There was a major exhibition featuring the PCO’s very own Steve Bell, plus cartoons from the Scottish Art Studio. Also on show was an exhibition that included some PCO members on the theme of Brexit.

Brexit exhibition curated by Terry Anderson, poster image by Steve Bright. All photos from Glenn Marshall

 

 

The London Cartoon Show review

September 7, 2019 in Events, General

The private view at Charing Cross Library. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Clive Goddard writes:

Imagine the excitement which rippled through the UK-wide, nay, global membership of the PCO when we announced we would be holding another exhibition down London way. And not only was it in London but was alsoabout London! Palpable joy ensued.

I’m very pleased to say that this latest exhibition, the third in Charing Cross Library, was wonderful. Just under fifty cartoonists submitted work themed around London past, present, and imaginary, and we managed to hang 130 pieces, quite a few of which were sold to grateful visitors (10% of the proceeds from sales are going to the Mayor’s Fund for London). Other prints, books, merchandise and indulgences were flogged by our volunteer invigilators.

On the eve of the show media mover and shaker, Glenn Marshall managed to get us some very nice coverage on ITV London News which, despite starting with a link to knife crime and getting our name wrong, was an excellent ad for the event and brought in most of the punters. You can see a video of the report, starring Carol, Sarah and Jeremy here.

Chichi Parish, Dave Brown & Tim Sanders. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Steve Way, Martin Rowson & Clive Goddard. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Mike Stokoe & Zoom Rockman. Photo © Kasia Kowalska

Thanks to all those listed above and to the others who sent their cartoons, gave their time and energy collating, framing, hanging, invigilating, advertising and de-hanging. Special thanks to Kipper Williams for his talk and to Rob Duncan for his cartooning workshop, both of which were well attended and enjoyed by Joe & Joanna Public. Further thanks to Kasia for capturing the action (above) on camera.

Kipper Williams’ talk. Photo © Mika Schick

Robert Duncan’s workshop. Photo © Jeremy Banx

The London Cartoon Show

August 10, 2019 in Events, General

Poster illustration by © Christopher Burke

Clive Goddard writes:

Coming very shortly to a library near you (if you live in, work in or are visiting that London): A free exhibition of cartoons on the theme of London, past and present, drawn by members of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (PCO). Be it kings and queens, public executions, urban foxes, hideous modern architecture, even more hideous politicians, gin lane, homelessness, tourists, Sweeny Todd, Jack the Ripper, knife crime, Eastenders, Dick Whittington, Sherlock Holmes or any of the other sights, sounds, and smells related to England’s teeming capital you’ll find them here.

Cartoon by © Dave Brown for The Independent

The show features work by over 30 of the UK’s finest, funniest and most insightful cartoonists including Dave Brown of the Independent, Kipper Williams, creator of the Evening Standard’s London Calling cartoon strip, Martin Rowson of the Guardian and many regular contributors to Private Eye and the rest of the British press. 

Cartoon by © Martin Rowson

Signed originals and prints will be on sale at very reasonable prices.

10% of the proceeds from sales will be donated to the Mayors Fund for London.

The exhibition will include two ticketed events: 

London Calling.

A free talk with cartoonist Kipper Williams.

Thursday 22nd August 6-8 pm

Cartooning Workshop.

A free drawing workshop on the theme of travel by cartoonist Rob Duncan. 

Saturday 31st August 11.30 am – 1 pm. Ages 6 to adults.

Both events are free but spaces are limited so please book via charingcrosslibrary@westminster.gov.uk

Cartoon by © Pete Dredge

For a full list of exhibitors & price list for the works please email:

chair@procartoonists.org

Cartoon by © Ger Whyman

More details on Charing Cross Library websites.

Cartoon by © Jeremy Banx

NB Other parts of the UK are also available.

Herne Bay Cartoon Festival 2019 – Bumper bonus photo album!

August 9, 2019 in Events, General, News

The traditional festival team photo at the start of the day.

Last Sunday saw the annual live drawing event on the Herne Bay pier as part of the Cartoon Festival which this year was themed around the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Our chief PCO paparazzo Kasia Kowalska was dispatched to record that one small step for cartooning kind.

We open with some seaside postcard humour as The Independent’s Dave Brown displays his Boris (ooh err missus)

An effigy of him would be set upon by angry crowds later in the afternoon (Boris, NOT Dave Brown)

Cheeky painting by Martin Rowson.

Christopher Burke resurfaces the moon.

Kathryn Lamb’s big board lift off.

Sarah Boyce embarks on her premier Herne Bay space mission.

James Mellor, another big board debutant, tackles Earthexit.

Guy Venables also dipped his toenails into the Herne Bay Cartoon Festival for the first time.

Festival veteran – but still VERY young – Zoom Rockman drawing Skanky Seagulls.

My only criticism of the festival this year was that some of the boards had HUGE holes in them! I’m impressed by the way Des Buckley got round this by incorporating them into his drawing.

Royston Robertson showing that two heads are better than one in solving a nation divided (Photo trickery by Royston)

Nathan Ariss and Sarah Mann on the moon selfie. Ideally there should’ve been another hole for people to put their camera arms through.

Tim Harries questions the theory of spatial dimensions and relativistic physics.

The Surreal McCoy cunningly saves the moon theme for the final frame..

The FT pocket cartoonist Jeremy Banx doing a VERY large pocket.

PCO Treasurer Amy Amani and our Chair-moon (gerrit?) Clive Goddard proving their business acumen – get your board done and flog stuff.

Steve Way was quick off the launch pad in an attempt to be ready for kick off in the Charity Shield cup final.

Pete Dredge and Alex Hughes filling in their festival expenses forms while pretending to do some caricaturing.

Andrew ‘Dancing’ Shoes’ Birch, about to launch.

The man couldn’t stop dancing. Here he is on set at the fake moon landing location shoot pictured with dance partner local artist Gill Wilson.

Cecil B DeMarshall directing his movie epic (you can tell I haven’t got much real work on at the moment) aided by clapper board intern Ace Rockman and in the background festival organiser and soundtrack penny whistle foley artist Sue Austen.

Martin Rowson summoning the gulls to eat chips out of his balloon filled Boris…the lack of takers proving the seagulls of Herne Bay have their limits.

In scenes resembling Zombie Apocalypse members of the public then set about tearing apart the defenceless Mr Johnson!

In cahoots with festival honcho Steve ‘The Dry Iceman Cometh’ Coombs, Rowson then tried to entice the gulls into eating his Dominic Cummings saveloy.

Cummings was eventually devoured by festival regular Teddy the dog.

The customary end of day cartoonists carousel ride. Dredge, Rockman & Banx (sounds like a local accountancy firm)

Chris Burke, Dave Brown, Alex Hughes and Royston Robertson on their mounts.

That man Birch again plus Steve Coombs and Nathan Ariss in traditional cartoonists stetsons.

An out take from the earlier group shot where we tried to get Señor Birch to stand still for a second.

…not easy.

All photos by and copyright of Kasia Kowalska unless otherwise stated.