The Tilley Watch Online; Photos from the Kovarsky Opening; “Not OK” Cartoonists in Westchester

Among the magazine’s Daily cartoons this week:  Kim Warp’s weary winter weather drawing; Brendan Loper’s tweeter-in-chief cartoon;  Lars Kenseth’s  take on this week’s  unusual White House media moment, and Peter Kuper’s Trumpian map of the world.   

Over on Daily Shouts, these were the contributing New Yorker cartoonists: Ellis Rosen and Liana Finck

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Photos From the Kovarsky Opening at The Society of Illustrators

A packed house last night at the Society of Illustrators Opening Reception for Kovarsky’s World: Covers and Cartoons From the New Yorker. Here’s an array of photos (all by Liza Donnelly, with one exception: the photo of Liza Donnelly and her husband– that’s courtesy of Gina Kovarsky)

Above: a wall of Kovarskys.

Below: Anatol Kovarsky’s daughter, Gina, and Mr. Kovarsky’s wife, Lucille Patton; Ellen Lind and John Lind.  Gina Kovarsky and John Lind co-curated the exhibit.

Below: New Yorker cartoonists Sam Gross and Felipe Galindo

Below: New Yorker cartoonists Liza Donnelly and Michael Maslin

Below: Sam Gross and New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein

Below: Writer/illustrator Mo Willems, Columbia University’s Curator for Comics and Cartoons, Karen Green, and John Lind

 

A closing thought on the exhibit, which runs til March 3 of this year:

This is a terrific show.  The energy bouncing off Mr. Kovarsky’s work on the walls is inspiring.   After looking at all of the covers and drawings I went back and spent more time looking at Mr. Kovarsky’s very first cartoon for the New Yorker.  It was published in the issue of March 1, 1947; here’s how it appeared:

I’ve always had a special affection for first New Yorker drawings.  It is, as they say, a moment.  Every cartoonist remembers the details surrounding their first published drawing. The unspoken mini-drama surrounding the first is that no one knows, of course, whether there’ll be a second (see the Spill‘s One Clubbers on the A-Z).  In Mr. Kovarsky’s case there was a second, and then there were hundreds more — close to 300 in fact. If that wasn’t something impressive in itself, he also contributed 40 covers.  And all this work was done in the relatively short time span of twenty-two years (according to Gina Kovarsky: “In the 1970s, Kovarsky shifted his main focus from cartooning to fine art…”).  It will not come as a surprise to anyone seeing this exhibit how Kovarsky accomplished so much in a mere two decades. It is as if he never set his pen or his brush down for a moment. Kovarsky’s world seemed to be abuzz 24/7. How lucky for us all.   

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“Not OK” Cartoonists in Westchester

From Westchester Magazine, January 12, 2018, “You Can Meet New Yorker Cartoonists…”

 Here’s a capsule description from the article:

“Not OK” — Great Cartoons That Weren’t Good Enough is a collection of works by previous New Yorker-published cartoonists that fit exactly that bill. Curated by artist and Brooklynite David Ostow, this series has come to Westchester for a month-long showing following the completion of its original gallery run in Bushwick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch: The New Yorker Issue of January 15 2018; Happy 114th Birthday, Peter Arno

The Monday Tilley Watch is a meandering take on the cartoons in the current issue of The New Yorker.

 I don’t know about you, but after I’ve looked through the cartoons of each new issue of The New Yorker I have the kind of  immediate reaction I have after sitting through a movie. As I begin walking up the aisle, the verdict is usually already in: good movie, bad movie, loved it, hated it, so-so, etc.. I looked through this latest issue of the magazine and thought: good cartoons. Good cartoons from beginning to end, with a real gem mid-way through.  

The first cartoon of the issue, William Haefeli’s on page 18 gets things going. Haefeli’s drawings never disappoint, and in this case caption and drawing are doing exactly what I hope for in every New Yorker cartoon (giving us Peter Arno’s one-two punch; in this case the one-two are so close together it’s a onetwo punch) If you have the issue in front of you (print or digital) notice the child’s body language. Mr. Haefeli has created a drawing that almost moves. 

Three pages later a drawing by Amy Hwang, who has become somewhat of a cat specialist. This is a lovely drawing, with a terrific caption. I predict it’s going to be reprinted on a lot coffee mugs and t-shirts.  

Four pages later a couple at a table by JAK (Jason Adam Katzenstein). Good caption. The woman’s expression is as the British say, “spot on.”

Five pages later a curio: a P. C. Vey  Christmassy drawing in the January 15th issue. It’s a very good drawing  replete with tree and one very large gift.  I’ll forever wonder why it wasn’t in the issue  of December 18 or the issue just after, January 1, 2018. A mystery!

Another five pages brings us to a Kim Warp drawing employing two of my favorite subjects: dinosaurs and space travel (in this case time/space travel).  Another wonderful drawing with a really good caption. 

Six pages later, the gem I spoke of earlier.  John O’Brien gives us a site (a work site) to behold —   it’s caption-less too (to me, caption-less cartoons are the most difficult to successfully achieve.  Mr. O’Brien’s batting average of success with them is crazy high). This is a high bar New Yorker drawing. And so: applause, applause.

 

On the very next page is a Matt Diffee cartoon.  He, like a few other cartoonists in the magazine use a box to frame their work (Jack Ziegler was King of the New Yorker boxed drawings). Mr. Diffee’s drawings are always easy on the eyes (the soft greys).  Here we have a couple of folks ice fishing. The idea centers on the use of the ice machine known as a Zamboni blended with the popular urban food truck.  As sometimes happens with drawings, I paused to consider an element (last week it was missing tent stakes). Unfortunately, this pause never fails to get in the way of the one-two punch.  Why, I thought, would a Zamboni be on an ice fishing lake?  I looked up Zambonis, and learned they are sometimes used on ice skating lakes.  But there’s no sign of skaters anywhere on Mr. Diffee’s lake. Perhaps they’re just off to the side, out of the box.  I’m fairly certain my fascination with cartoon details such as this comes out of my early cartoon education by way of New Yorker art editor, Lee Lorenz. He once returned a drawing to me and asked if I’d make the surf board in the drawing look less like a six foot cigar.  It wasn’t the most important element in the drawing, but if it appeared to be a giant cigar it would take the reader too much out of the  drawing. I guess that stuck with me — and now you’re stuck with me pointing out cartoon minutiae.

Four pages later, a Will McPhail nearly deserted beach scene. I like the caption. Mr. McPhail  shows us one of those funny umbrella tables you see in movies of places that resemble wherever this is.  What’s missing is only someone (or something) off in the distance splashing in the ocean. What can I say — I like graphic splashing. 

Three pages later, a color drawing from Seth Fleishman in a setting far far away from Mr. McPhail’s.  Subway rats playing a game.  Having just seen a photo in the Times the other day of a NYC rat dragging a moon pie, I’m wondering if NYC subway rats are now a thing.  I guess they’ve always been a thing, if you think about it.

On the page after the rats is a Roz Chast package drawing.  Ms. Chast excels at these, and this one’s right up there, laughs-wise. I haven’t examined a package of Junior Mints in a long time (not my theater go-to candy) but I do wonder if those boxes show the “Juniors” as human…probably not.  Six pages later a Brendan Loper Evel Knievel inspired drawing. We don’t see enough dare- devil drawings in the magazine. Interesting drawing. Good stuff.  

Thirteen pages later, the last drawing in the issue (not counting the Caption Contest pieces): Julia Suits provides a trope that seems to be off-again on-again in the magazine: the military officer pointing out a medal. By off-again on-again I mean we don’t see many for awhile and then they suddenly pop up like asparagus. Henry Martin did a number of these, as did a number of other colleagues.  I can’t recall ever doing one. Time to get crackin’.  

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Happy 114th Birthday, Peter Arno

Strange to think of Peter Arno, whose work seems so very much alive, as born 114 years ago. All the years I worked on his biography, from 1999 through 2016, he seemed somehow on the scene, at least the New Yorker scene. In early 2016, with the book wrapping up, I paid one last Arno research visit to Yale, where he spent one year, the Fall of 1922- Spring of 1923. I went there to look for possible Arno materials in a box of Thurber’s papers; it turned out to be a fun but wild goose chase.

  Even though Arno only attended classes the one year (his father pulled the plug, financially) it was a launch pad year for his not-too-far-off entree to The New Yorker.  At Yale his cartoons became quite polished as they appeared more and more in the Record  (Arno did a few covers too). Besides drawing, Arno was fully engaged with his other love, music.

  He organized what he called an “orchestra” and found a place to play right across the street from the campus.  He mentioned playing there in a letter to his mother:

“…working in the Art School all day long and playing every evening in the Bull Dog Grille…”

 That last day I spent at Yale I took a walk along York Avenue, with the Bull Dog’s address in hand.  I came to the corner of Elm and York and could see some old buildings were right where I needed them to be, diagonally across the street. Crossing Elm I quickly spotted  #264 over one of two arched doorways on a three-story Victorian era building. The building had survived (!) but there was some kind of construction going on, with the front partially shrouded, and a dumpster parked out front.

The entrance to the Grille (it was upstairs on the third floor) was the door to the right, just behind the plywood wall behind the lone tree. I stood across the street for a bit, then crossed over to see what I could see close-up.  It was a wonderful moment thinking about the college-aged Arno heading through that door. I’d read in Dorothy Ducas’s great Arno piece in the March 1938 issue of Mademoiselle  that besides playing music upstairs Arno also drew on the walls (ala Thurber!). Standing in front of the building that day there was a lot to imagine. 

Here’s a photo I took that afternoon:

Before writing today’s piece I thought I’d use Google to see what had been done to the place a year or so later. Turns out it wasn’t construction after all — it was destruction.

Though the building is gone, those Arno moments playing music and drawing upstairs at the Bull Dog are not entirely forgotten.  Also not forgotten: the body of work Arno published in the New Yorker during his 43 years there, much of which can be found in the books below.

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ps: Rea Irvin’s classic Talk masthead (shown below) still missing from the magazine. Hope it returns soon.

  

 

 

 

 

 

Tilley Watch Online; Latest New Yorker Cartoons Rated; Blog of Interest: A New Yorker State of Mind; A Reminder: Kovarsky Exhibit Now Up & Running at The Society of Illustrators

Tilley Watch Online

New Yorker cartoonists doing the Daily cartoon this week: Jeremy Nguyen (a new book rains down), David Sipress (dressing well for the cold), Kim Warp (big button stuff), and Brendan Loper (back in time, politically).

This week’s Daily Shouts New Yorker cartoonists: Tom Chitty (“Why You Shouldn’t Go Outside Today”),  Julia Wertz (“Conversations with Ma: Harry Potter and the Internet”), and Jason Adam Katzenstein & Phil McAndrew (“Mistakes You’re Going to Keep Making Forever”)

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Latest New Yorker Cartoons Rated by Cartoon Companion

Cartoons appearing in the issue of January 8th ’18, go under the microscope in this latest edition of the Cartoon Companion. See it here!

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Blog of Interest: A New Yorker State of Mind

A fascinating and relaxed stroll through the issue of November 24, 1928. What fun it is, this blog. Read it here.

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And a Reminder: Kovarsky’s World: Covers and Cartoons From the New Yorker

The Anatol Kovarsky exhibit at The Society of Illustrators is now open.   Go see!

Info here

 

 

Good Cheer and Pizza Aplenty at the New Yorker’s Holiday Party

Thanks to New Yorker cartoonist colleague and official Spill photographer, Liza Donnelly, we can  peek into last night’s holiday party at The New Yorker‘s editorial offices at 1 World Trade Center. 

Below: Joe Dator, David Sipress, and Jeremy Nguyen

Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell and Brendan Loper

Below: action shot of long time staffer, Bruce Diones alongside a festive beverage cart:

Below: Peter Kuper

Below, dead-center, The New Yorker‘s editor, David Remnick, with Mort Gerberg all the way to the left in the blue sweater.

Below: Maggie Larson, Amy Hwang, and Liza Donnelly

  Marc Philippe Eskenazi and Joe Dator

Below: Jeremy Nguyen, Amy Hwang, and Ellis Rosen

Below: legendary cartoonist, Sam Gross

Below: The New Yorker‘s cartoon editor, Emma Allen

No party would be complete without at least one Polaroid. This one sent in by Jeremy Nguyen.

From left to right: Mr. Nguyen, Amy Hwang, Ellis Rosen, and Liza Donnelly

Note: over on Facebook Joe Dator has posted another bunch of photos taken last night with cartoonists not shown above, including Ben Schwartz, Drew Dernavich, Emily Flake and the magazine’s assistant cartoon editor, Colin Stokes.

 

 

 

Interviews of Interest: Roz Chast, Jason Adam Katzenstein; The Tilley Watch Online

Interview : Roz Chast

From The Rumpus, November 30, 2017, “The Rumpus Mini-Interview Project #122: Roz Chast”

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Interview: Jason Adam Katzenstein

From jewcy.com, December 1, 2017, “Cartooning’s Jewish Je Ne Sais Quoi”

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…This past week’s Daily featured a slightly animated cyber drawing by Sharon Levy; a media-centric drawing by Emily Flake, and lotsa politics, from David Sipress, Brendan Loper and Kaamran Hafeez.  Elsewhere (Daily Shouts, for instance): a piece by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell, and Liana Finck (the second of her advice pieces).

I note that the New Yorker is up to at least five official Instagram accounts: newyorkerart, newyorkermag, newyorkercartoons, newyorkerphoto, newyorkerpromo…have fun!

…and don’t forget these official New Yorker Facebook pages: The New Yorker Magazine, The New Yorker Radio Hour, and The New Yorker Cartoons (the latter carries an icon by an illustrator, not a cartoonist…go figure). 

 

 

A Spill Favorite Leftovers Cartoon…and a Bonus; A Trio of Non-New Yorker Cartoon Books of Interest; The Tilley Watch Online: Loper, Larson, Rosen, Flake, Gerberg, Warp, and Finck; John Lennon’s (New Yorker) Diaries

A Spill Favorite Leftovers Cartoon…and a Bonus

Yesterday I posted an evergreen Thanksgiving drawing by Bob Eckstein.  Today, an evergreen for the day after.  This Liza Donnelly drawing appeared in The New Yorker, November 26, 2007.

Ms. Donnelly has also provided the Spill with an unpublished cartoon that I particularly like.

 

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A Trio of non-New Yorker Related Books of Interest

Here are three titles I came across while scouring upcoming releases.  As far as I know none include a New Yorker contributor (but, hey, ya nevah know). 

Thomas Nast: The Father of Modern Political Cartoons. What better artist to explore right now than Mr. Nast. This book by Fiona Deans Halloran is due February 1, 2018.  Published by The University of North Carolina Press.  A reprint — it was originally published in 2013.

Screwball: The Cartoonists Who Made the Funnies Funny.  Authored by Paul C. Tumey, this looks to be a good addition to any comics library.  Due in September 2018.  Published by the Library of American Comics.

French Cartoon Art in the 1960s and 1970s. By Wendy Michallat. I plead guilty to knowing very little about modern-ish French cartoons/cartoonists. This title looks like a good place to start an education. Published by Leuven University Press.  Due: March 15, 2018

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…as you’d expect from this holiday week, a number of Thanksgiving-related works. Some chatty turkeys by Brendan Loper; a forgetful pie-maker by Liana Finck; a long line of pre-Thanksgiving Day shoppers & their thoughts by Maggie Larson; an Ellis Rosen pugilist T-Day; and politics, of course, courtesy of Mort Gerberg, and Kim Warp;  yesterday, Emily Flake advised how to keep the peace on the big day.  

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John Lennon’s (New Yorker) Diaries

Reading the November 21st New York Times piece “Man Arrested in Berlin Over John Lennon’s Stolen Diaries” I couldn’t help but notice the accompanying photograph shows that Mr. Lennon used two New Yorker Diaries to record his thoughts.  One from 1975, and the other, sadly, from 1980. Also of interest: on the 1975 diary, Eustace Tilley was covered-over with a photo of Mr. Lennon (the photo appeared on his Walls & Bridges album).