THE OFFICIAL ACA MEMBERS MAGAZINE |
ink spot issue #73
DIVINE RECOGNITION THE ‘POPESTER’ GETS THE GONG AT THIS YEAR’S STANLEY AWARDS STORY AND PHOTOS PAGES 1-4
A WORD FROM THE PREZ
President’s parlay CONTENTS page
ANIMATION NEWS 60 FOOT LADY p10
AN ODE TO tony
TONY RAFFERTY OBITUARY p13-14
A WORD FROM GINGER MEGGS JASON’S OPINION p19-22
letters to the editor
The last INKSPOT carried the number 73. However the copies in my files suggest it should have been 72.
You are right, of course.
The Stanley Awards Sydney 2014 issue carried the number 71 and I don’t think there was one in-between. This is not the first time the issue numbers have gone out of sequence. There were two issues numbered 67 and the one after them was 69. There was no issue numbered 68. So if I am right we might need to number the next issue 73, before moving onto 74 in two issue’s time. Yours Sincerely, Lindsay Foyle.
Illustration by Rolf Heiman (see story pages 5-6)
Thank you for pointing out our error. As you can see, we have followed your suggestion and numbered this issue Number 73. However, to prevent future confusion, we are going to henceforth number every future issue as Number 73. Most Sincerely, The Editors.
issue #74 CONTENTS Stanley Awards Wrap-up
Spotlight on Rolf
Former ACA Prez Ce Hartt
Your View: Farmers (Part 2)
Hatch, Match and Despatch
Anton’s Spring Clean
News From Underground
Jason’s Opinion (Ginger Meggs)
Australian Cartoon Museum
nat karmichael email@example.com
Patron Vane Lindesay
Aca Affiliated Orgs
President Jules Faber firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy President Jason Chatfield email@example.com Secretary Peter Broelman firstname.lastname@example.org Treasurer Kerry-Anne Brown email@example.com Membership Secretary Grant Brown firstname.lastname@example.org Committee cathy wilcox email@example.com mark knight firstname.lastname@example.org ian mccall email@example.com mike nicholas firstname.lastname@example.org
National Cartoonists Society President: Tom Richmond www.reuben.org Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain President: Terry Christian www.ccgb.org.uk FECO President General: Peter Nieuwendijk www.fecoweb.org Inkspot Team Editors: Nat Karmichael Sub-editors/writers: Jules Faber, Christophe Granet, Tim McEwen, Lindsay Foyle, Phil Judd and Nat Karmichael Layout ARTIST: Chris Barr Cover: David Pope carticature by David Rowe
Inkspot is produced four times a year (or try to) by the Australian Cartoonists Association PO Box 318 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012 email@example.com www.cartoonists.org.au Phone: 1300 658 581 ABN 19 140 290 841 Australia Post Registration PP 533798/0015
Hey gang! What a stellar Stanleys! I mean, we’ve had some great Stanleys before but this one was just a little extra special. Between the day out on the bus visiting various Melbourne cartoony hotspots (including Peter Viska’s boutique animation studio, Brunswick’s amazing Squishface Studio and the Canson factory in Keysborough) and Saturday’s Conference featuring a brilliant line-up where practically everything was a highlight, it was a phenomenal weekend. And that’s before mentioning the incredible night that was the 31st Stanley Awards! It was a glorious night in which the ACA Members present were finally able to meet ‘in person’ the one and only original Stan Cross cartoon ‘For Gorsake, Stop Laughing! This is Serious!’ and the queue of people wanting to see it up close was a constant all night. Revered by the ACA and finding its influence spreading into general pop culture, the cartoon was a spectacular hit among those present. And, for the first time ever, for services to Australian Cartooning, the Jim Russell Award was given to an actual cartoon! (It even had a few jockeylike words to say about it afterward!) For those who missed it, it’s a shame you couldn’t be there. Between honouring the Stan Cross cartoon, inducting new treasured Members into the Hall of Fame and honouring our own working cartoonists through peer votes, the night was truly spectacular. Next year we’ll be in Sydney so keep an eye out for details on the weekend coming very soon.
Caricature by Peter Broelman Naturally we can’t do what we do at the Stanleys without the assistance of our sponsors and I’d like to take this moment to acknowledge them for their support. In no particular order: The Herald Sun, Copyright Agency Limited, Wacom, Supanova, The Australian, Media Super, The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, The Walkley Foundation, KPMG, Officeworks and Canson. It was also great to have the National Library in attendance to bring our 82 year old special guest along. Inside this issue you’ll find pages of photos from the weekend and no doubt you’ll see some familiar faces. Maybe even your own. There’s also plenty of unrelated content that’s awesome, so I shan’t waste anymore of your time. Get stuck into it. In the meantime, cartooning forever!
The Pre-Stanley Workshops By Nat Karmichael The Pre-Stanley Workshops, held in Melbourne on the 13th and 14th of November 2015, could have been a somber occasion, tinged with the historical events simultaneously taking place in Paris. However, while the cartoonists were aware of these happenings, they were not willing to allow it to dampen their enthusiasm for the various events taking place over the two days. The Friday Workshop began in Federation Square, where members of the public were invited to have themselves caricatured in exchange for a donation to a children’s charity. Even Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Robert Doyle availed himself of this opportunity! We then all climbed aboard the ACA bus to Viskatoons Animation, where our host Peter Viska and his team showed us around his working animation studio. Not simply content to watch, Members were
given the opportunity to work on the Wacom tablets and Cintiqs, with many planning to move into animation post-careers! Brunswick was the next stop, where host David Blumenstein showed us both a modern comic studio and the reason why, when you pack a whole busload of ACA Members into a room, it is aptly called Squishface Studio! For reasons that are a still a little unclear, there was no time for even a toilet stop, as we wound up the day being bussed to and shown around the Canson Australia warehouse, and being fed a scrummy bar-be-que as the day wound down. The only bus taken on the Saturday was to and from our Workshop that was held at the Abbotsford Convent, in (um) Abbotsford. Following the AGM, Sue Nelson from the Copyright Agency gave a talk that had Members sitting transfixed when they learnt membership was free! Jim Bridges imparted his passion in his talk about the Australian Cartoon Museum, before Judy Horacek gave an interesting overview of her career. Just before lunch, cartoonist Gavin Aung
Than of Zen Pencils gave an inspiring presentation on his perseverance to his comic strip success and his creative process. Now refreshed, we listened intently as Mike Bowers hosted a panel of political cartoonists (Ron Tandberg, John Spooner, Mark Knight, David Rowe, Cathy Wilcox and Oslo Davis), who discussed the state of political cartooning (including the International events occurring that day). The workshops concluded with a Frantz Kantor masterclass (with everyone wearing 3D-Glasses!), and Lindsay Foyle and Nat Karmichael sharing the ‘finding’ of the original Stan Cross ‘Stop Laughing: This is Serious’ cartoon. There was more information imparted, given that there was less travelling involved, although the second day’s Workshop was just as enjoyable as the first. Despite the events in Paris, Members enjoyed the camaraderie, with many new friendships being forged over those two days.
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PHOTOS: Page 1 (top, left to right) - The ACA created quite a media fenzy in Federdation Square; Peter Broelman attempts to reassure his caricature subject, and it worked; Proudly displaying Peter’s caricature for the world to see. Page 1 (bottom, left to right) - Peter Viska from Viskatoons hosts a workshop at his animation studio; Squishface Comic Studio invites the troup in to see the goings-on; El Presidente Jules Faber shows off his multi-tasking skills. Page 2 (top, left to right) - ACA Patriach, Vane Lindsay; Lord Mayor Robert Doyle seems pleased with the result of the ‘cloning’ experiment. Page 2 (middle, left to right) - Gavin Aung Than (a.k.a Zen Pencils) describes his creative process; Cathy Wicox explaining her political point of view. Page 2 (bottom, left to right) - Franz Kantor (left) and Judy Horacek (middle) talk through their inspirations and techniques; Mike Bowers and Mark Knight enjoying the lighter side of politics.
PHOTO: Phil and Monica Judd
PHOTO: just the usual crowd of misfits...and Dean Rankine in the forground
PHOTO: Gary Clark gets the gong for ‘Best Comic Strip Cartoonist’
PHOTO: Stan Cross original
And the Stanley goes to... ANIMATION CARTOONIST supported by The Bunker Cartoon Gallery Matt Bissett-Johnson Andrew Fyfe Harry Gold
PHOTO: MC of the night, Bernard Caleo
PHOTO: Mark Knight and Dean Alston
CARICATURIST sponsored by The Australian David Rowe Judy Nadin Terry Dunnett Anton Emdin John Spooner CHILDREN’S BOOK ILLUSTRATOR sponsored by The Walkley Foundation Leigh Hobbs Peter Sheehan Jules Faber Dave Emerson Chris “Roy” Taylor COMIC BOOK ARTIST sponsored by Supanova David Follett Roger Fletcher Thomas Campi Gavin Aung Than David Blumenstein
PHOTO: Matt Bissett-Johnson
PHOTO: The Stanley Steamers in action
COMIC STRIP CARTOONIST sponsored by The Herald Sun Gary Clark Jason Chatfield Tony Lopes “Stoney” Ian Jones Phil Judd EDITORIAL/POLITICAL CARTOONIST sponsored by Media Super Christopher Downes David Pope Mark Knight George Haddon Glen Le Lievre ILLUSTRATOR sponsored by Wacom Pat Campbell Anton Emdin George Haddon Glen Le Lievre John Shakespeare
BEST CARTOON ON THE NIGHT: “Missing Tony Abbott” Pat Campbell CARTOONIST OF THE YEAR David Pope David Rowe Mark Knight Anton Emdin Judy Nadin Glen Le Lievre JIM RUSSELL AWARD The 1933 Stan Cross cartoon “For Gorsake, Stop Laughing: This is Serious!” AUSTRALIAN CARTOONING HALL OF FAME Emile Mercier Ron Tandberg Vane Lindesay
SINGLE GAG CARTOONIST Cathy Wilcox Oslo Davis Robert Black Andrew Weldon Lindsay Foyle
When did you first start drawing/ cartooning? Do you have a first memory? I was always one of the kids in school who was regarded as a “good drawer” and was called upon to do graphics and writings. There are always competitions in Germany to encourage children, and I won a few. When I was fifteen, I escaped from East Germany to the West and made full use of my new-found freedom and traveled as much as I could, to France and Holland, always sketching and painting and searching out art galleries. In 1959 I migrated to Australia and my letters home were full of cartoonish drawings illustrating my activities. My jobs were grape-picking in Mildura, or cleaning toilets at the Queensland Railway and such odd work I had to do before I learned English. I drew myself as a hippopotamus, inspired by the Scandinavian comic strip called “The Mummin-Trolls” in English. That was my favourite strip. Recently I was delighted to see that my sister had collected these letters from 50 years ago! What was your first break in the business? It wasn’t until 1975 that I sent some cartoons to the Nation Review, and they used them. Michael Leunig was their main cartoonist then, and
Victoria Roberts. It encouraged me to send some cartoons to the Melbourne Age and they used them too. Arthur Horner who did the main Saturday cartoon was often sick, and The Age called me in on Fridays to do the Saturday cartoon. I did some crappy work then, not being used to such on-the-spot pressure. And I have a different take on Australian politics. I can’t see it as a sporting contest between parties that you barrack for. I sent some cartoons overseas as well, to Germany and England, including Playboy and Penthouse etc, and Punch, and suddenly discovered that one could make a living from it. Punch used some of my cartoons the second time for their “Best–Of” yearbooks, so there was a double income. How do you create your ideas? Coming from a background of heavy politics (Hitler’s Germany and Communist East Germany) I have strong opinions, one can say strong hates. When I see bad things happen on the world scene, I feel like I must take part in fighting them. Being anti-war and engaged with environmental issues I got arrested several times and even spent some time in Pentridge Prison. In hindsight I am grateful to the cops who invented their accusations against me, as I gained new insights into the Justice-Industry and the
BY phil judd
prison system. These experiences provided good material for cartoons. I must admit that there were times when I deliberately went through cartoon books to get inspired for new ideas. Sometimes that came close to stealing ideas, but more often it happened that I saw “my” ideas being used somewhere. One can’t help that (great minds think alike). What category of cartooning does your work cover? What formats do you use? Before I did cartoons, I also worked for publishers and printers. Over the years I did many hundreds of illustrations and book covers, often in a cartoonish style. The Nation Review once had a full-page feature “The Iron Outlaw’”. I carried on calling it “Iron Inlaw”. It was very popular and I even got fan mail. Later I continued the strip for the centerfold of Access magazine. What is first the drawing or writing? Both can be the case. I do like cartoons without text, like Steinberg’s. And being involved in the international cartoon scene I find “sans parole” cartoons very useful, they don’t need translations. Cartoons with too much writing are a turn-off for me. Same with cartoon strips, I don’t read them if most of it is writing.
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What materials, technology and methods do you use currently to create your work? Any favourites? During my travels I did a lot of watercolours, mainly landscapes, and I have great admiration for such artists. Most of my sketching in the islands was done with a rapidograph. During he last ten years I have taken increasingly to computers. Some of my childrens books were done entirely on the computer, in photoshop. I also did a lot of oil paintings, starting in the fifties during my childhood. Have you ever won any awards for your work? I won a number of awards, and I feel guilty about it. For a cartoonist in Africa five-hundred dollars is a fortune, for us it is merely a welcome addition to our existing wealth. So as not to feel too guilty I have donated award money to Medicins sans Frontieres. I have won some Awards in Australia as well, such as the Gold Stanley and the Jim Russell Award, and a bronze Stanley for Computer Graphics (Wacom Award). Some minor awards too, such as best Tourism cartoon in the Coffs Harbour Rotaries. What’s the best thing that has happened so far in your cartooning career? I was chuffed to see my first cartoon printed in The Age, and I admit feeling proud winning awards. But there are many little pleasures, mainly when you are satisfied with your own work. It does not happen often to me, but there are times when I’m really proud of what I have done. I also get a kick out of it when young people say to me: “You are THE Rolf Heimann? Your books were my favourites when I was a kid!” I was also proud when I saw in a bookshop in Beijing a children’s maze
book that was clearly a take-off of mine, almost a copy. Somebody had admired me enough to do that! Any advice, tips or insights you could offer your fellow cartoonists or those aspiring to be? I often get phone calls from mothers who want my advice on how their talented sons can become cartoonists. I never know what to say. It sounds so trite to give such general advice as “work hard” and “take an interest in what’s going on in the world” and “love what you do”. But what else can one say? Do you have any favourite Australian cartoonists? I should not mention any, because I would have to leave some out that merit inclusion. As cartoonist I admire some that are politically opposite to me, such as Pickering. Every time I came back from the Stanleys I feel how lucky I am to live in a country with so much talent and good will. Who would you say are your five favourite cartoonists that inspire you? I grew up thinking of Wilhelm Busch as the tops. These days it is Scarfe and Steadman that blow my mind. It also happens that I suddenly discover a genius I had never heard of! People that are born in the sixties are no longer children (hard to believe to us oldies) and do fantastic work, much better than I ever did or will be able to do. What are your favourite five comic strips, books or films that have inspired and motivated you? I did not grow up with comics, I saw my first ones when I fled to the West
in 1955. For a long time I thought of them as something low-class, for people too stupid to read. Then slowly I discovered them as artform. I loved the Mummin-Trolls in Germany. Then I found myself, against my will, enjoying Tin-tin and I saw that very clever and witty people were actually working in that “industry”. Any obscure cartoonists you can suggest checking out? Peter Van Dongen is hardly obscure, but probably unknown in Australia. His graphic novel “Rampokan” is currently only available in Bahasa Indonesia, but an English version is planned. Where does your current work appear? “Overland” magazine occasionally publishes cartoons of mine. For many years I had a regular page there. There are a number of small magazines I contribute, like “bog-bog” published in Indonesia. My books are occasionally reprinted. Where can we find out more about you, your business and your work? The internet annoys me; I have been guilty of googling myself and find things said that are not true at all, and it is impossible to correct them. In my book “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” I wrote about my time of sailing the Pacific. It sounds self-indulgent, but I am making a little film about myself. I made a number of films about fellow-cartoonists, and always have trouble getting their pictures from childhood etc., there is often a lack of cooperation. By cooperating with myself I can establish a good example of what I am after!
BY Lindsay Foyle & Nat Karmichael
VISITOR: “What is your earliest recollection?” OLDEST INHABITANT: “Beer a tray a pint.”
Cecil Lawrence Hartt was born in the Melbourne suburb of Prahran, on the 16th July 1884, the son of James Hartt. The family moved north to the town of Beechworth where he grew up, getting drawing lessons from Alek Sass. He started working as a freelance artist in Melbourne in 1908, contributing to Comments and The Clarion. He moved to Sydney the following year, after getting a cartoon accepted by The Bulletin. He had work published in the Comic Australian in 1911. Just prior to this, in September 1910, Hartt was involved with the establishment of the Writers and Artists’ Union, which eventually merged with the Australian Journalists’ Association in 1913. In 1913, Hartt was a founding member of the Newspaper Cartoonist’ Association of New South Wales. It was said that about this time that Cec Hartt first met the poet Henry Lawson. Lawson usually abhorred artists, believing that they were far inferior to literary people. However, Hartt, besides being an accomplished draughtsman, had “a ready sense of humour with a genuine common touch” and as an indication of his natural charm, Lawson loved him like a brother. The friends kept in touch, even after Hartt joined the newly formed 18th Infantry Battalion of New South Wales
on 2 March 1915. Most Diggers during the early years of World War I used to write home and described the German onslaught as being ‘taking the lid off hell’. Lawson used to carry Cecil’s letters in his pocket, and delighted in reading excerpts to all who would listen. Hartt described the War: “Henry, the noise is hardly supportable. It’s like working at home!” Cec Hartt continued to draw. He contributed to a book published in 1915, Sydneyites As We See ‘em and had cartoons published in the Australian Worker. That same year, on 27 August during the Gallipoli campaign at Suvla Bay, he was badly wounded in the right hip and ankle. While convalescing in Horseferry Barracks in London from 1916 he contributed drawings to the Bystander, Passing Show and London Opinion (there are some reports that Hartt also contributed to the British Australasian, published weekly in London). His booklet of Digger jokes, Humorosities, was a surprise best-seller in England, selling over 60,000 copies. Australian soldiers were very popular in England, probably none more than Hartt when, to his amazement, he was presented to King George V. It was this remarkable personality that first attracted Cec Hartt to the owners of a proposed new Australian newspaper, and why
he became the first cartoonist to be signed up for… Smith’s Weekly. Wanting to make that paper “The Digger’s Paper”, Cec was a natural drawcard for the old soldier readership when the first issue was published on 1 March 1919. As George Blaikie records in Remembering Smith’s Weekly: “Homecoming soldiers, on being discharged, rushed straight to Smith’s to search out good old Cec and have a drink with him. And Cec, as good a performer with a glass as a pen, was ever eager to rewarm old wartime friendships. One secret of his attraction was the curious real life stories he used to tell. His appearance in a Sydney bar would result in an audience gathering quickly to listen to his delightful chatter. One of his star stories concerned the first meal he had on returning home from the war. “Very conscious that Cec loved kidneys (cooked whole) beyond all know meats, his wife tramped to a myriad of butcher shops begging a kidney here and a kidney there until she had a splendid potful. Happily Cecil sat down to his first post-war meal at home with his wife and little son.” He attacked his favourite food heartily, until he noticed his son would not eat. Between eager bites Cec urged his son to tuck in. However,
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when his son continued to refuse to eat, his patience was exhausted, and he demanded to know “Why in heaven’s name won’t you eat any?” His son replied:“ ‘Cause I’ve seen ‘em hanging off dawgs!” Blaikie states that “It was Cecil Hartt, with his love of a tale and a beer with merry pals, who initiated the tradition that all Smith’s artists had to be jolly good company.” From 1919 until his death he established the character of the “Digger” page (which continued for 30 years, the paper’s entire lifetime) with “The Unofficial History of the AIF”. He created the strips “Bob and ‘Orace”, “Dummy” and “Ask Bill, he knows Everything”. Many of his cartoons continued to be about Diggers and in 1920 some were collected into booklets. On the 17 July 1924 the Society of Black and White Artists was formed, with Cecil Hart elected its first President. He remained President until 21 May 1930, when he was found
dead with a selfinflicted wound to his head and a shotgun beside him on a mountain near Moruya in New South Wales. Although the reasons were never established, it seems likely that alcohol and what is now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (relating to his war service) were contributing factors. The staff of Smith’s Weekly took Cecil Hartt’s sudden tragic death particularly hard. A funeral urn, supposedly containing Cec’s ashes, was placed on a special ledge in the art room where he worked. On any occasion that the artists and cartoonists took to collectively head off to the Assembly Hotel (conveniently next door to the Smith’s workplace), the urn would come along. It was described as “taking Cec for a grog” and the urn would be placed at the bar with all the drinkers. Each person present would
order a round, and Cec was included. After everyone had shouted, then, there would be a row of untouched drinks in front of the urn. It was then Cec’s turn to shout: so every drinker present would take a filled glass from in front of the urn and drink a toast to Cecil! George Blaikie reports that this “happy act of respect and remembrance was repeated day in, day out.” However, one afternoon after returning from the pub, the artists noticed the urn had not been returned to his special ledge. “Clearly it had been left at the bar. The artists rushed back to the pub. The ashes had gone and were never seen again.” References: Blaikie, George (1966) Remember Smith’s Weekly. Adelaide: Rigby Limited Design and Art Australia On Line (a database and e-research tool for art researchers) Foyle, Lindsay (writings) Lindesay, Vane (1994) Drawing from Life: A History of the Australian Black and White Artists’ Club. Sydney: State Library of New South Wales.
COMPILED BY PHIL JUDD
WILLIAM GOODWIN (VICTORIA)
DAVE EMERSON (VICTORIA)
60 Foot Lady’ – On the Scene: An Insider’s View to Animating a Music Video Clip! By Peter Viska Jeff Raglus is renowned for his association with the Mambo artists that lit up surf culture in the eighties. . He was also once a member of the bands Bachelors from Prague, Black Sorrows, Feeling Groovies and Beachniks. He continues to paint and exhibit and he still creates music. Jeff with partner in life and art, Vicki Gaye Philip, form the musical project Victoriana Gaye, a surf-folk-pop band out of Melbourne, Australia. “60 Foot Lady” is the latest music video clip for the group, and the third love affair Jeff Raglus has had with animation. The innovative ‘LERT’ Television commercial for Melbourne’s MET was his first; warning of the dangers of crossing rail tracks, and the precursor to Dumb Ways to Die. Jeff’s second foray was a nearly successful take up of his book Schnorky (The Wave Puncher!) for a children’s series. It was a lot of hard work but ended as a
drawn out disappointment. With their new album “Red Moon Ray” launched in late October, Victoriana Gaye had reached out to Viskatoons Animation Studio to create a bold music video clip for the launch. “60 Foot Lady” was chosen to be released as the first single from the album, as it captured both the style and textures of Jeff’s work. Viskatoons CEO Peter Viska wanted to create a bold animated piece of art for the clip that felt like you were inside of one of Jeff’s art pieces, so it was no question that the art and direction had to come from Jeff himself. The video clip production started with some rough sketches from Raglus and a very loose storyboard. Viskatoons’ animation director Mark Sheard then worked his magic with the visual narrative and using Storyboard Pro and key artwork created by Raglus, blocked out the full clip to make the first animatic. Sheard explains, “Viskatoons created the music video clip using Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Toon Boom Harmony. Vector traced inked drawings from Jeff Raglus were used for all the designs to keep Raglus’ distinct thick and thin line work. Then we asked Jeff to hand paint a
number of small canvases for us to utilize. By applying a colour override to them we easily created a unique look, allowing the distinctive Raglus art style to then animate and bring to life. “Our team of animators then channeled Jeff’s vibe. In the end we believe we captured what we set out to achieve. That is to make an original, moving, breathing work of pop art, blending traditional and modern techniques into a showpiece of which Viskatoons is very proud.” A search for “60 Foot Lady” will let you see the clip on YouTube. Or type in the following link: https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=8JFaDwjuxrg
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PHIL JUDD (QUEENSLAND)
JOHN ALLISON (VICTORIA)
COMPILED BY PHIL JUDD
MATT BISSETT-JOHNSON (VICTORIA)
CHRISTOPHE HAGEN (NSW)
TERRY MOSHER “AISLIN” (CANADA)
CHRIS WILSON (ACT)
PHILLIP DAY (QUEENSLAND)
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Tony Rafferty Obituary On 12 October 1915 in the Sydney suburb of Paddington, Anthony Raftopoulos was born to Greek parents. Tony Rafty, as he became known, started his education at Rose Bay Public School. It was not far from the Royal Sydney Golf course where – when he was 10 – Tony and his brother started working as golf caddies. It was not long before Tony had taken up the game and eventually became a well-respected amateur golfer. He continued his education at the Sydney Technical College, although he was unable to graduate. In 1935 with the depression really biting – the 14 year-old Tony was forced to leave school, as his parents could no longer afford to keep him there. At the time the only work available for him was as a golf caddie. Royal Sydney attracted many famous people and one day Rafty found himself carrying the golf clubs of former Prime Minister Billy Hughes around the
course. It was not an experience he was keen to repeat. Hughes refused to pay. Soon after Rafty founded the NSW Caddies Association. Rafty had better luck with Jimmy Bancks, then famous for drawing the comic strip Ginger Meggs. The meeting sparked Tony’s interest in cartooning. Despite being untrained, Rafty decided to try and make money freelancing as a cartoonist. He was not an overnight success…. he had a cartoon published in The Bulletin in 1936. But it was not until 1939 when his cartooning career looked like it was finally taking off. He obtained a job with The Referee, a sporting newspaper owned by Smith’s Weekly. Both publications were struggling at the time, with The Referee ceasing publication on 31 August 1939. War clouds were looming, so Rafty joined the Citizens Military Forces on a parttime voluntary basis. He took a job with the Sydney afternoon newspaper The Sun in 1940, drawing political and sporting cartoons. This was a time when the Federal Government placed restrictions on the supply of newsprint, although comic book publishers avoided these limitations by producing oneshot editions. The New South Wales Bookstall Company published over 40 other one-shot titles during the next few years. The first title they published was by Tony Rafty: ‘Jimmy Rodney on Secret Service’.
In 1941 Rafty enlisted in the AIF. After training he was sent to Darwin with the 14 Infantry Brigade. Six months later he transferred to the Military History Unit in Melbourne where he worked in publishing and designed covers for Khaki Green, before being assigned to New Guinea as a war artist where he “sketched the horror, pathos and humour of war and experienced many hazardous exploits.” Rafty was discharged as medically unfit with malaria seven months before the end of the war. However, he was almost immediately reemployed by The Sun and a month later was back in New Guinea as artist-correspondent working for Associated Newspapers. In this capacity he followed the end of the Japanese campaign in New Guinea and their surrender on 10 September 1945 in Borneo. He then flew to Singapore and covered the Japanese surrender two days later, along with the release of thousands of Australian prisoners of war. Rafty was then sent to Indonesia to cover their War of Independence (1945 – 1949). The irony of seeing one war end only to be sent off to see another to begin was not lost on him. He was there when the ceasefire was declared and witnessed the moment when Indonesia became an independent nation. Rafty later returned to Sydney and Associated Newspapers and continued contributing to The Sun.
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When Associated Newspapers was taken over by Fairfax in 1953, his drawings started appearing in the Sun-Herald too. He stayed there till 1957 when he left to work freelance. While freelancing Rafty was a regular visitor to all the newspaper art departments in Sydney. Sometimes he was just pop in for a social call. Other times it was more work related. In 1960 Ken Prior, the chairman and managing director of The Bulletin Newspaper Company, started negotiations with various publishers to sell the business. Before those talks concluded, Prior had agreed to donate some of the cartoons that had been published in The Bulletin to the West Australian Art Gallery. The artwork had been accumulated over the previous 80 years. It was all stored in a room with a large fireproof metal door. It would have been one of the largest collections of cartoons in the world. Rafty says Prior “asked me to choose works of the greats of the cartoonists held in storage.” It has been estimated almost 200 were dispatched to Perth. Rafty then said, “It came to my notice what remained in storage would be thrown out.” So he notified the Mitchell Library. Negotiations took place and in January 1961 about 18,000 drawings were transported to their new home at the Mitchell Library! In 1962 Rafty gave freelancing away and returned to the Fairfax
art department where he again contributed cartoons, illustrations and sporting cartoons to The Sun and SunHerald. He stayed with Fairfax for almost two decades before retiring in 1981. But he did not retire from work. Early in 1981, a set of four Australian sports star prints created by Rafty were released to coincide with the release of Rafty’s Australian stamp series. There was a 1983 book of Rafty caricatures too: Tony Rafty’s Golfing Greats with text by Terry Smith. For many years Rafty was involved with the Journalists’ Club in Sydney. It had been founded in 1939 when Rafty was starting his career. In November 1963 the Journalists’ Club in Sydney held an exhibition of paintings, featuring work by Russell Drysdale, William Dobell, George Finey, William Dargie and Bill Pidgeon. Rafty was involved in putting it together and producing the exhibition catalogue. Rafty organised another exhibition, Fifty Years of Australian Cartooning, the following year. The exhibition contained over 200 original drawings by 150 artists, with biographical and career details in the catalogue compiled by Rafty along with Brodie Mack. Vane Lindesay pointed out that it was the most comprehensive exhibition of Australian cartoons up to that time. All up Rafty was involved with the running of the Journalists’ Club a total
of 23 years; he was a Member of the board, Vice President and became President in 1985. Unfortunately the club fell on hard times and closed in 1997. There are no records of when Rafty joined the Australian Society of Black and White Artists (now known as the Australian Cartoonists’ Association), but it could have been as early 1939 when he was starting out as a cartoonist. Rafty was elected President of the collective (when it was known as the Sydney Black and White Artists’ Club) in 1975. In 1988 Rafty was smocked by the Australian Cartoonists’ Association and was elected a Life Member in 1991. He was awarded the Silver Stanley in 1997. He is represented in the Australian National Library and has 2000 drawings from World War II with the Australian War Memorial. He was awarded an Order of Australia (OAM) on Australia Day 1990, for service to the media as a cartoonist. He passed away three days shy of his 100th birthday on 9th October. Story by Lindsay Foyle, Edited by Nat Karmichael
Yoram Gross Obituary
Animation Producer, Director and Creator, Yoram Gross died in September aged 88, leaving a wonderful animation legacy behind him. He arrived in Australia from Poland in 1968, and established his first studio with his wife Sandra in their home in Paddington. Starting with experimental films and film clips for the television show Bandstand, he moved onto longer form of animation. His first animated film was Dot and the Kangaroo made in 1977, and based on an Australian children’s classic. Yoram came up with the clever idea to replace traditional painted backgrounds with live action backgrounds. The animation was worked out
to marry the ‘real’ background (a photo), and with the use of an aerial image technique the animation cels were filmed and appeared to be part of the background. The success of Dot led to a series of Dot films. Later Yoram and Sandra optioned the rights to Dorothy Wall’s Blinky Bill, and adapted it to make a film that then spawned two series, The Adventures of Blinky Bill and Blinky Bill’s Extraordinary Excursion. Robbert Smitt was a longtime director for Yoram’s studio. Robbert was involved in storyboarding the Blinky Bill TV series and was given the opportunity to hone his craft with Yoram. When asked how Yoram worked, Smitt suggested that Yoram always had a concept (story) in mind. He would allow his artists to develop images to improve the concept. They would then evolve the concept further, and finally when it was right, he would pull in the scriptwriters to craft the screenplay. Smitt’s relationship with Yoram spanned 40 years.
BY CHRISTOPHE GRANET
Q: What did you end up throwing away and what goodies did you find in the clean up?
Yoram Gross had a healthy working relationship with Deane Taylor, whose team were asked to handle the storyboards for the original 2D Blinky Bill feature. However, it never came to pass. Ironically, Taylor ended up directing Blinky Bill The Movie – the CGI version that was released this year! Deanne respected Yoram for his ability to survive and fondly recalls a story of Gross showing his cartoons on the side of a truck in the middle of the outback. Yoram wasn’t a cartoon artist per se but loved to create stop motion and see objects move under the camera. From Sydney, Yoram Gross’s studio was able to survive in an international market and was a launching point for many young artists wishing to break into animation. The Yoram Gross Studio formed a partnership with Village Roadshow in 1996 and EM.TV acquired Village’s 50% share in 1999. The studio changed name to Flying Bark in 2006 when the family sold their 50% share.
A: I had kept pretty much every single magazine or newspaper I’d had art published in since the 90’s. Seriously. So I started taking clippings, but that was quite laborious. So in a fit of rage not unlike The Hulk’s I threw it all in the recycling bin (no green jokes, please). I mean, I haven’t looked at these things in 20 years, and probably won’t for another 20! I also threw away a great majority of my sketchbooks and original art. I know a lot of people are shocked when they hear of this craziness, but carrying around paper for decades is ridiculous. I kept a few choice pieces that I liked, but the rest are now off for recycling and will hopefully come back as something more useful perhaps a cardboard box for the next cleanup. When I moved my desk I did find a couple of pencils (useful), a baby’s dummy (not useful any more), and a spider (very useful). Q: Were there drawings you could not remember you did? A: Oh, so many. And I could see why I had forgotten them; they stank!
David Blumenstein and Sarah Howell
Q: Was it hard to choose what to keep and what to throw away?
NAME: Rachel Blumenstein BIRTH WEIGHT: 3.75kg BIRTH HEIGHT: 50cm BIRTH DATE: June 30, 2015 Mummy (Sarah) and baby are healthy and well and we will all be taking a trip to the biggest comic fest in Europe, Angouleme, in Jan 2016, for which Rachel will be outfitted with French winterbeating animal onesies (as in, these onesies will beat the French winter).
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Our Inkspot teams asks the hard questions to multi award winning cartoonist Anton Emdin about his coming out of hibernation and 2015 Spring Cleaning… Q: Anton, can you tell us what prompted the Spring Cleaning, and when your last one was (if ever)?
A: Ha! Every few years I get all Zen/ Spartan/just plain fed up with the accumulation of STUFF and get the strong urge to throw it all away. This time, though, my hand was forced. We’re having the place painted, and I needed to pack up the entire studio into the middle of the room. Trouble was that it was so jam-packed that this was impossible to do. The only solution was to chuck out half of it.
A: I’m pretty ruthless: unless it has sentimental attachment, if it hasn’t been used in a couple of years, it’s gone. Q: Would you advise others to Spring Clean and start afresh or did you find it stressful to have to throw things out? A: No, it’s madness and shouldn’t be attempted by anyone other than a professional spring cleaner. Thank you Anton for these candid answers…
BY PHIL JUDD
the naked cartoonist by Robert Mankoff
the bunker cartoon gallery By Chris Barr, BDM 2016 is well underway and after a hectic holiday season, the Bunker Cartoon Gallery has a jam-packed calendar of exhibitions, workshops and events. Here’s just a sample of what we have planned so far...
CELEBRATING WOMEN In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, the Bunker Cartoon Gallery will be presenting a special exhibition titled Celebrating Women featuring the excellent creations of Bald Archy winner Judy Nadin, a life long Newcastle native, and local accomplished artist Julie Hutchinson who calls Bellingen home. The exhibition will run from March 4 to April 3 with special morning and afternoon tea sessions planned for International Women’s Day which will include an inspirational talk by both artists.
CARTOON WORKSHOPS Most recently we invited Sydney cartoonist, illustrator and children’s book author Rob Feldman to conduct
four workshops over two days. Cartoonist Phil Judd will be returning during the upcoming April school holidays to conduct cartoon workshops that coincide with our Aliens and Monsters exhibition. Phil will also be adding a workshop for adults on the evening of Thursday 14 April, followed by kids workshops on Friday and Saturday.
BALD ARCHY PRIZE
gallery shop The Bunker Gallery has been busy sourcing unique merchandise to fill its revamped and expanding gallery shop. After a quick trip to the last Brisbane Supernova, I was able to meet many great artists, comic book illustrators and cartoonists. Several already have made it onto the floor and are selling extremely well. If you would like to submit merchandise, host a workshop or exhibition. or simply sign-up to our newsletter, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Once again north coast residents and visitors to the area will be treated to the artistic creations that have become the extremely popular Bald Archy Prize. The Bunker OFFIC IAL MO Cartoon Gallery has NTHLY NE WS LET TE FR EE | IS R OF T secured the 2016 SUe #3 HE bu | Febr NkER UarY 20 CARTO 16 | w ON gA ww.bun edition of the much LLERY A hug kercarto ongalle ry.com e .au | in fo@bu sought after annual year nkerca rtoong allery.c om.au exhibition from 14 ahead May until 11 June. for th In addition Bunkee r 2016 is w to hosting the and afte ell underway r season a hectic holid , the bu ay nk G al er le ca ry has exhibition, the a jam-p rtoon calend acke ar worksho of exhibitions d , ps and ev Bunker Gallery planne ents d fo two of r you. exhibitio the biggest is promoting be the ns this year w re ill Archy Pr turn of the Ba ld ize corporate June) an (15 May—1 2 d the 28 Cartoo th Ro n Awar tary ds July—2 nights to local 8 augu (15 st), alon with ca g rt drawin oon worksho g ps cl , as business with ses and events specia . l Keep up -to-dat In cele al l e th with special venue e latest br info Internat atIon of on our Facebo rmation io caricat ok Day on nal Women’s page an ur M d w hire packages. taken to e award and ebsite) bunker arch 8, the bunkerca p hono cartoo abou rtoon th
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Don’t let the misleading title fool you. It’s not about drawing board chained monkeys getting their gear off! Rather a brilliant text and visuals driven description of nuding up the mind of a cartoonist (or any other creative artists mind for that matter). Robert Mankoff is better known as not only a great cartoonist but the cartoon editor for the prestigious New Yorker magazine. This alone qualifies him to know the mechanics of how to create ideas, develop them and draw them up, getting the best out of them. In this book he looks with depth I haven’t seen before, in other method books, into what a cartoon actually is, how ideas are created and how the mind actually can be led to refine and develop them. He uses a lot of visuals mapping out how the mind works and how one cartoon can be refined and changed in many differing directions. The tracking of ideas and working them up is particularly well done. The visuals in this book are its greatest asset laying bear what he is trying to show with great clarity and punch. He uses mind map type visuals to show how the brain actually reacts and develops ideas, showing roughs and cartoons developing. He also pulls in a lot of wonderful cartoons from the New Yorker catalogue to show how different cartoonists approach the same (sometimes well worn) subjects and humour. In his chapters on idea creation (Chapter 3 Idea Land) and counterfactuality (Chapter 4) reveal the delicious flow of the conscious and subconscious mind in providing a flow of ideas and visuals that are the cartoonists bread and butter. As he states on counterfactual creativity that it “simply requires simultaneously creating the real and
unreal, the possible and its opposite. This duality, and tension it creates, is the engine of creativity and humour”. The book includes a number of great interviews with established New Yorker cartoonists sharing their insights with actual cartoons explaining where they get their cartoon ideas from. His writing is very simple and clear making difficult concepts easy to digest and inspire the reader to try themselves. Sprinkled amongst this is informative passages from other cartoonists on the topic discussed in various chapters. He does this to offer a variation on his own interpretation to convey that despite these principals being universal each cartoonist (creative mind) takes them and will uniquely utilize them to
create. This makes learning how to create much easier as you realise we each have a very unique way our mind works and creates the ideas we end up with in our writing and drawing. We can learn these concepts by copying but ultimately he points us to the most important part of being a cartoonists, expressing our unique mind, interpretation, humour and stories on what we see. The book is hardcover and a good size for easy reading. It can found on Amazon at a very affordable price and is well worth the investment. Most importantly the investment of time reading and trying out his ideas yourself will definitely help you improve, and hopefully inspire you.
On Comic Strips, Commercialism and Selling out as an Artist: The eternal question for comic artists: Are you a Watterson or a Schulz? On December 31, 1995 newspapers published a strip that concluded the decade-long era that was The Age of Calvin & Hobbes. Readers everywhere were devastated – they would never see Calvin and his furry best friend go exploring any more. The strip’s creator, Bill Watterson, had decisively called it a day. The brilliant comic strip influenced countless cartoonists, myself included. Some friends flung an article my way this week, all asking my take on it. The article (an essay, really), published in The Los Angeles Review of Books and written by Luke Epplin, was entitled “Selling Out the Newspaper Comic Strip”. It details arguments in response to the age-old question that has plagued every art form from the invention of the term ‘art form’: “When is an artist a sell-out?”
BY jason chatfield
I still don’t have a firm take on it. It’s not an easy topic in these uneasy days for the newspaper comic strip industry. The reason I felt compelled to write something is I’ve also had a bunch of emails lately commenting on the commercialisation of Ginger Meggs over the years on the back of his 94-year retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Sydney. I’ve never really commented on it publicly, although it really is a fascinating, albeit well-trodden topic. When comic strip cartoonists talk about artistic integrity, they inevitably come up against the “Well? What are ya? Watterson or Schulz?” which really means “Do you think comic strips are Art, or not?” With the gigantic release of a Peanuts 3D animated movie, it’s stoked the flame of this argument that holds a little less water in practice than it did last century. Epplin wrote: “With few exceptions, syndicated comic strips now seem like artefacts from the last century. The proliferation of anthologies that reprint the entirety of terminated strips speaks to the ongoing museumification of the medium. The dispute between Schulz and Watterson is the last of its kind because no newspaper cartoonist will ever garner the loyalty, readership, or prestige that those two enjoyed.
They were, in effect, the last consensus cartoonists.” As I write, I’m glancing up at my crumby studio wall in New York, upon which hangs one of my most prized possessions; a framed print of both the very first Calvin and Hobbes strip above the very last one. It was a gift from my Syndicate, Universal Uclick, who are also famously Watterson’s syndicate. I was really thrilled when I got it. Looking at it reminds me of Watterson’s unrelenting battle for comics to be taken seriously as Art. Schulz and Watterson had respectfully duked it out over the years in interviews, with deeply opposing arguments on whether a comic strip should be commercialised to the point beyond syndication. Schulz and many other creators felt it was perfectly reasonable for people to purchase things that reminded them of their favourite comic strip characters, no different than touring musicians or Disney movies. Watterson did not. Watterson’s outspoken attitude to the commercialisation of the comic strip is behind the conspicuous absence of stuffed Hobbes dolls on toy store shelves. He found it to be cheap, and a failure of a test of artistic courage. Epplin wrote: “Watterson viewed comics as an art form that,
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when printed properly and taken seriously, rivalled any of the so-called fine arts. For Watterson, licensing represented a sort of purity test that, once failed, polluted the supposedly fragile worlds that cartoonists created.” It should be noted that in an interview conducted with readers in 2005, Watterson was quoted as saying he actually wasn’t always of the opinion that strips should not be merchandised by syndicates. He said: “I wasn’t against all merchandising when I started the strip, but each product I considered seemed to violate the spirit of the strip, contradict its message, and take me away from the work I loved.” The only exceptions to his ‘no merchandising’ rule were a handful of calendars and a tutorial book called “Teaching with Calvin & Hobbes”, which happens to be the most difficult piece of memorabilia to find. The only other things you can purchase that is officially sanctioned by Watterson are his 11 highly regarded collections of the strip itself. Epplin said: “As passionate as Watterson would later be about the literary and artistic potential of comic strips, Schulz was equally adamant that cartoonists’ artistic concerns could not be uncoupled from their commercial obligations to syndicates
and newspaper editors. ‘Comic strips aren’t art, they never will be art,’ he proclaimed in a 1977 Newsday profile. ‘Comic strips are not made to last; they are made to be funny today in the paper, thrown away. And that is its purpose, to sell that edition of the newspaper.’ “This is not to say that Schulz thought his work had no artistic merit. He was keenly aware that his minimalist style and unflinching depiction of childhood grief had revolutionized the medium. But he never lost sight of the fact that he was servicing clients first and foremost. ‘The main thing is to give the [newspaper] editor what he has purchased,’ Schulz explained. For Schulz, it was pointless to fret about selling out when the daily publication of a cartoonist’s work is, in itself, an act of selling out. ‘How can [critics] criticize a commercial enterprise for being commercial?’ “ In answer to the Ginger Meggs critics, Bancks had Ginger selling everything from Ford motor cars to Margarine! The only difference between Charlie Brown and Ginger Meggs was that Ginger wasn’t really changed in character when he was selling something. He was the same, effervescent happy kid as he was in the comics. Charlie Brown, however,
was adapted from the morose kid we know and love, to a happy, smiling boy. As Epplin continues: ”The pervasive licensing of Peanuts is at least partly responsible for the ongoing redefinition of the strip’s characters. Charlie Brown smiles more in greeting cards than he ever did in the newspaper. In MetLife commercials, he comes across as cheerfully competent. This is hardly surprising. After all, Charlie Brown’s depressive disposition translates poorly to advertising and children’s products. To remain commercially viable, he needed to be stripped of his most identifiable personality traits, dulled beyond recognition. Gradually, Charlie Brown has turned into a benign simulacrum of the character who once defined himself as a friendless nothing.” Back when I first took over the reins of Ginger Meggs, some 86 years after its creation, some fans were bemoaning the commercialisation of the strip. The thing is, the year Sparky Schulz was born (1922), Bancks had already created his own ‘Charlie Brown’ comic strip star, and he knew it was a business. Nobody ‘jeopardised the artistic integrity of the work after its creator had passed’. The strip had been commercialised from the very beginning of its success.
Long before the Peanuts gang were shilling cars for Ford motors, it was a little red-headed kid called Ginger. He could sell a Ford Falcon as good as any popular comic strip character, and boy did Bancks know it. He had the same mindset that Schulz ended up sharing – that the comic strip was indeed commercial art that was created for a commercial purpose, so why should it be criticised for being commercialised? The old newspaper syndication model did not make the jump across the vast abyss and onto the web, so nowadays young web comic creators have no choice BUT to monetise their creation by creating merchandise. Crowdfunding as a one-off payment for a comic strip’s creation doesn’t appear to have worked as a viable means of employment for a web comic creator. In 2006 – nearly ten years ago now – I remember reading Kurtz, Kellett, Straub and Guigar’s book on comics in the 21st Century “How to Make Webcomics” It’s an indepth look at the new craft of webcomics and the all too real challenges of making a living as an artist in this new medium. Watterson’s ethos concerning the commercialisation of one’s creation is mentioned, but not held up as some kind of idealised industry standard.
BY jason chatfield
The 20th Century model is simply a different world. Things are done so differently now it’s hard to even put newspaper comic strips and web comics in the same category any more. (Although with the advent of Patreon platform there may be hope yet.) To make a living as a cartoonist is incredibly hard in the 21st century, which is why, as I mentioned above, the argument has gone a little stale. The ultimate question at the end of all this remains… Am I a Watterson or a Schulz? When I started out I had stepped into a very leaky old boat of an industry. Stephan Pastis analogised it best when he said of breaking into newspaper comics at this late stage: “I made it into syndication. A 1 in 36000 chance— I got in the NBA, and all of a sudden, the stadium is collapsing.” I’ve felt this sentiment quite strongly too. I finally realised my dream of becoming a syndicated newspaper cartoonist at the precise moment the newspaper industry collapsed on itself. As a result, I do see both artists’ points. It’s a very different industry we work in these days. Sometimes merchandising is the only way to make a crust! There are parts of Watterson’s argument I agree with and parts of Schulz’ argument I agree with. I sit
somewhere in the middle, I’m afraid. If I were to avoid being a dirty fence-sitter and had to nail my colours to the mast, I’d say the sad reality is that Schulz is right: We are creating a thing that exists – and was invented – to sell newspapers. You can still be creative and do wonderful artistic work like Schulz and Watterson, but doing it within the harsh constraints of a newspaper comic strip, you just can’t expect the same level of artistic freedom or integrity a fine artist has. I can adore Mr Watterson’s work whilst disagreeing somewhat with his staunch position on comic strips not being commercialised. I consider comic strips a craft. As Watterson and Schulz can both agree, newspapers are a difficult medium to try and glorify when it comes to comic strip art. It’s hard to retain artistic dignity in a medium that now more than ever undervalues the comic strips. They now resemble postage stamps, among other numerous problems. Watterson, in his 1989 speech at the Festival of Cartoon Art, outlined his grievances with the medium, Epplin writes: ”To cut expenses, newspapers crammed strips into unreasonably tight spaces, interlocking them together into something resembling a muddled jigsaw puzzle. Whereas early
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20th-century works like Krazy Kat and Little Nemo in Slumberland had once garnered full pages in some Sunday papers, the best strips in Watterson’s era were lucky to run a quarter-page. The shrunken canvases limited the expressive and narrative possibilities of the strips.” Schulz, in Peanuts Jubilee: “Strips are bunched together haphazardly in newspapers and reproduced on shoddy paper; syndicates wield significant editorial power; and copyright stickers and title lines deface each strip. ‘The true artist, working on his canvas, does not have to put up with such desecrations.’ ” The working mindsets of Watterson and Schulz really were to different ends. When newspaper comic strips are produced to keep up to deadline and sell newspapers, they are, at their purest, the definition of commercial art. However if produced with the intention of exhibiting the collection in book form, to retrospectively appreciate after revealed over a decade in their daily drip-feed, the argument could be just as readily made that they are, indeed, pieces of Art. You can create something as beautiful and singularly brilliant as Calvin & Hobbes, but you’re bringing it to a commercial table. If you were
bringing it to a gallery, it’s a different story. Some of the most beautiful draftsmanship and writing I’ve seen has come from artists like Bill Watterson in the medium, but it doesn’t change what that medium is at a basic level. It’s commercial art. When it’s exhibited in a different context, or produced with a different overall intention – I can see a strong case for it being true, pure art. (By the way, I don’t for a second want you to think I’m comparing the monolithic properties of Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes to the comparatively paltry property of Ginger Meggs, artistically and otherwise. I’m merely stating my opinion based on my limited experience as a comic strip cartoonist. Perhaps it’s tempered with the fact that it’s not my creation. There’s certainly room for the argument that had I created Meggs myself, I might think differently.) When Bancks died, he said: “Creators come and go, but their characters live on. When I pass on, I hope the character I have created in Ginger will live long beyond me”. He made it clear he wanted the strip and its legacy to continue for generations hence. Anyone is welcome to make the argument that he didn’t want
the enjoyment readers got from his creation to die with him, as much as they’re welcome to make the argument that he did it for commercial purposes – perhaps both! Who really knows? Either way, his family have since ensured its longevity with four other artists at the helm. It has sustained artistically and commercially. In response to whether readers think it has sold out, I think it’s is another issue. If they are of that mind, I’d argue they’d have to be basing it on Bancks’ commercial decisions in the 1930’s right through to the syndicate’s decisions in the early 2000’s. I personally don’t feel the strip has suffered from any of the commercial or merchandising decisions in its 94year lifespan. Oh wait a minute. W-what’s this? I can’t tell if this is commercial of me or artistic of me, but there was a collection of 94 years of Ginger Meggs strips and memorabilia on display from July until October at the Museum of Sydney. It was carefully curated to show the influence Australian Culture has had on Ginger Meggs and vice versa. It was called “Ginger Meggs: Australia’s Favourite Boy.” If you were in Sydney, I hope you saw it.
A CALL TO ARMS TO CARTOONISTS We at the ACM believe that all cartoonists have a place in Australia’s narrative. We collect all cartoonists work famous or not, as they are all bricks in the wall telling the Australian story. Besides looking after our car‐ toon heritage, we want to put those already used cartoons back to work teaching Australian political and social history. Cartoons are time capsules and are recognised primary source material by historians. We believe you can teach anything to anybody using visual material and the most condensed material is found in cartoons. Words, humour, symbols, metaphor, quotations and caricature are crammed into these bits of paper (or now online) and they have enough hooks (sorry Geoff) in them to catch the information and store it visually in our brains. (I’m obviously talking to the converted, as you all know the power of the humble cartoon ‐ and its
potential.) The ACM consists mostly of car‐ toonists, and animators, but we can’t do all this by ourselves. We need you, the cartoonists on our side! The Australian Cartoon Museum (ACM) is a non‐for‐profit organisation,
it has produced several major exhibi‐ tions, helped people do their thesis research, supplied cartoons to rela‐ tives of deceased cartoonists and pro‐
people why all genres of cartoons are Businesses, companies and educators We need you to send us scans of will need cartoons more and more as your work so we can store it forever. important and useful and that a car‐ The odd original and sketch wouldn’t toon is a vehicle for any idea. All sub‐ the World rapidly moves away from go astray either, as they are very use‐ jects can be discussed and taught be‐ words to visuals as a quicker and better way of communicating. We are ful in exhibitions and show how they cause a cartoon has both words and pictures. putting in the infrastructure to make were created. It’s your work we are this transition easy. And the collecting, storing and hopeful‐ ACM can do this because of it’s ly with your permission, public‐ massive archive. It’s a working ly exhibit in lovingly curated and living Museum that uses and gallery shows, as well as on the reuses cartoons so they don’t Web, and publications in the gather dust. future. Cartooning is in crisis with The ACM believes that people magazines and newspapers will be deeply affected by the folding and work drying up. cartoon’s power to communi‐ The web has changed every‐ cate and its’ status will grow. thing. Museums are in crisis, Librarians are flogging graphic retail is in crisis. But the web is novels (comics with thicker co‐ forcing the World into a more vers) today! So the change has visual approach to everything, already started! its insatiable demands are So climb aboard and help us, and screaming for less words and send us your scans (it’s your fu‐ more visual content. Cartoon‐ ture legacy we are collecting for) ists are visual thinkers and that and be part of our Australian more than anything is what the universal story. web wants and cartoonists are the only ones who can supply Caricature of Jim Bridges looking for a cartoon by that future. Robert Mason
Cartoon by Bill Leak
vided lectures for teachers and stu‐ dents! The ACM has over three million cartoons, comic strips and caricatures filed under subject matter and artist, (the equivalent of fifty three 4‐drawer filing cabinets and hundreds of archive boxes filled to the brim). We have over 1,000 Australian cartoonists on file and all the political cartoons are in folders dated the day they were first published. By going through the files you can retrace Australia’s political and social history. If an important event was coming up, like Anzac Day, or we are approached by a Gallery to do an exhibition on Aborigines, we just go to our files and find the perfect cartoons and write to the cartoonists for permission to print them and put them up on the wall. The ACM wants to be the “Smithsonian Institute” of Australian cartoonist’s work.
The ACM needs a building to store your heritage, to display and teach
Check out our website: www.theaustraliancartoonmuseum.com.au or For further information email: email@example.com or Jim Bridges—03 9734 6861
Left to Right: Matt Emery Cartoonist & Publisher, Gerald Carr Cartoonist & Comic Publisher, Peter Crofts Australian Institute of Comedy, Jim Bridges President, John Allison Cartoonist, Peter Viska Animator/Vice‐President, Kate Degraves Treasurer, Don Mooney ‘just do it’ Marketing, Tom Rayner Webmaster & wearer of Dunlop Volley OCs
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Left to Right: Aina Crawford Secretary, Alan Rose Cartoonist, Ian McCall Cartoon collector & ACA stalwart, Gary Hipworth Business Management Consultant, and last but not least the guy who did this drawing, Paul Harvey
It’s simple. Creators should be paid for their work. We have been standing up for cartoonists and illustrators since 1974. We will continue to fight on behalf of near 30,000 members to make sure original creativity is valued, respected and that a fair payment is made. We do this to sustain Australia’s creative industries and encourage original expression of ideas. Copyright is automatic and membership is free. Find out more at www.copyright.com.au © Lindsay Foyle 2015, Australian cartoonist and Copyright Agency | Viscopy member.
Inkspot - the journal of the Australian Cartoonists Association.