Fine Cartoon Art

exaggerated, in a good way

Archive for the ‘Illustration’ Category

Blab! Blab! Blab! at the Society of Illustrators

Posted by jtebeau on April 5, 2010

Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Drew Friedman, Chris Wareearlier in their careers these esteemed cartoonists were all featured in the gutsy BLAB! periodical, founded in Chicago back in 1986 by graphic designer Monte Beauchamp. The striking little anthology is getting its due right now through May 1 at New York’s Society of Illustrators gallery (free of charge) at 128 E. 63rd Street (between Park and Lexington Avenues).

And if you’ve never been there, peek into the Society of Illustrators club house. Another gem in New York’s treasure chest of secret places. Maybe you can check out the original Norman Rockwell upstairs….

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Posted in cartoon art, Comic books, Graphic novels, Illustration | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

In the Beginning There Was Paper and Ink: Robert Crumb’s “Book of Genesis” Opens in New York March 4

Posted by jtebeau on March 2, 2010

Y-H-W-Y by C-R-M-B

David Zwirner introduces an exciting exhibition in New York tomorrow: Robert Crumb’s “Genesis” show. This collection of original art from Crumb’s masterpiece Book of Genesis will show you what happens when the best-selling book of all times is taken on “as a straight illustration job” by the grand old man of alternative comics.

The art is historically and literally accurate. Crumb did his research and it shows. Architecture, clothing, rituals and the mundane details of every day life in the time of Abraham are represented properly… right down to get-ups that don’t resemble Jim Dine bathrobes, verbatim biblical depravity and the joys of circumcision before topical anesthetics.

The exhibition stays with Zwirner in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood through April 24, following a show at UCLA’s Hammer Museum.

Big thanks to Hammer and David Zwirner for giving Mr. Crumb his due.

Posted in Graphic novels, Illustration | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Yes, Norman Rockwell Was TOO a Fine Artist.

Posted by jtebeau on March 1, 2010

"The Texan" by Norman Rockwell

I remember shortly after Norman Rockwell died, our art teacher Mr. Stewart prophesied (correctly) that Rockwell would shake the label of “illustrator” and one day be considered a fine artist. By Jove, Mr. Stewart was right. The same is happening for cartoon artists. Witness the reputations of the late Al Hirschfeld and Charles Shulz, not to mention that of the living Robert Crumb.

So what if he worked as an illustrator? So did Toulouse-Lautrec. Rockwell was a skilled artist who told stories in his work. He communicated ideas and a distinct point-of-view. Yes, he was paid by an organization to do this. So was Michelangelo. It was called the Church.

In Tyler Green’s excellent Modern Art Notes, Elizabeth Broun of the Smithsonian American Art Museum had this to say:

“Norman Rockwell for the most part was ignored by serious museums and art historians until recently. He’s still kind of unexplored territory and we think he’s still is not taken fully as seriously because that ‘illustrator’ label is attached to him.”

Mr. Green’s interview with Ms. Broun illustrates some of the ideas I’m talking about in this young blog. Where are the lines between cartoons, illustration and art? Why are the defined boundaries drawn as they are, and who defines them? When does illustration transcend the genre and become Art? I’ll submit this: a hack illustrator puts nothing of himself in his work. An artist like Rockwell does. Mr. Green’s post (and in fact his entire blog) is a good place to graze on subjects like this.

What do you think? Is Norman Rockwell not worthy of being called an Artist? Why?

Posted in Illustration, is it Art?, Painting | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »