Felipe Galindo on Falling Into Steinberg’s Orbit; Rea Irvin, Costumed

 

 

    The other day I was engaged in an email exchange with long time New Yorker cartoonist Felipe Galindo (he uses the pen name “Feggo”) about Iain Topliss’s Comic Worlds of Peter Arno, William Steig, Charles Addams and Saul Steinberg; more specifically, we were discussing the section devoted to Steinberg. After Felipe explained what an impact Steinberg’s work had on him, I asked if I could reproduce what he had to say.  So here is Felipe on Steinberg:

 

 

 

I began to like and understand American gag cartoons when I was a young teenager back in my native Cuernavaca, Mexico. Most of what was being drawn in Mexico were political cartoons. I was in middle school then (Escuela Secundaria.) I was able to read Mad and the National Lampoon magazines in my hometown at the only store that sold American publications and Kodak cameras and film to Americans, who used to go to Cuernavaca to learn Spanish. I don’t recall seeing The New Yorker back then. My aunt worked at that store. I could spend time browsing them without being bothered. At the end I’d buy them with my savings. I loved seeing Sam Gross, Gahan Wilson, Charlie Rodrigues and my fellow ex-pat (or semi, since he was born in Spain) Aragonés’ cartoons.

The first time I heard about Steinberg was through a very famous political cartoonist named Rius (pen name of Eduardo del Rio, in Latin America is commonplace to have a nickname or a name that sounds like one), now a good amigo. He used to say that he learned to draw looking at Steinberg’s drawings in small pocket book collections of American cartoons (probably taken from the pages of the New Yorker magazine without their knowledge). For him, Steinberg’s style was very simple. “I didn’t know how to draw but I could draw cartoons like this guy”, I think in the same way you will see a Matisse painting and say “I can paint like this guy, it’s very easy!” In any case, he was influenced by him and, to a similar simple style, he added his political views and changed a whole chapter in Mexican political cartooning history and influenced a whole generation of readers and cartoonists with his controversial comics “Los Supermachos” and later “Los Agachados” drawing the ire of Mexican politicians, presidents included.

I wonder if Steinberg ever knew about this!

A few years later I went to study visual arts at The National University, mostly modern art, and that was another planet. I was more into Tony Smith, Frank Stella and Josef Albers than Diego Rivera or Frida Kahlo who were old school.

After college I tried to reconcile two worlds, humor and art. Two artists that inspired me were Magritte and Feininger. I still was not that familiar with Steinberg then. I recall going to an exhibit of his posters and prints in an American cultural center in early 1980 because a friend suggested it to me. I honestly have to say I didn’t quite get him, it just impressed me his freedom (“why is he using paper from paper bags?”). I was also busy that day with a date that preoccupied my mind with other things. I kept the small brochure (which I still have) and began to study it. 

The first time I came to NYC as a tourist in 1981, I got his book The Labyrinth and it blew my mind. I even got a poster of him at the Whitney Museum (which I also still have) and began to study him and finally “get” him. Years later in NYC I found in a flea market All in Line and The Art of Living. I devoured visually those books.

 

For me Steinberg was the Picasso of cartooning, breaking the old molds, and an artist walking in a high tightrope between cartooning and art and vice versa, going back and forth and staying there forever. I believe that tightrope is cartooning as art and vice versa as well.

So, that’s the tightrope I aim to walk on, the high bar to jump over, not an easy task, and not successful all the time of course. I fall from it quite often, but keep trying to walk on it over and over.

I browse now and then his books in search of visual philosophy, of challenges, to amuse myself and to find surprises. To inspire me.

I have enjoyed his exhibitions at the Museum of the City of NY and the Morgan Library, plus some exhibitions at Pace Gallery. While it didn’t necessarily lead me to do what he was doing, or to draw like he was drawing, I admire his immense creativity and am inspired looking at his work.

I also like that Steinberg created icons out of clichés and how he explored symbols through humor, something I’m very fond of doing as well.

Perhaps for Americans the cliché imagery (Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty, American Eagle, Santa, etc.) is taken for granted but for an immigrant or émigré like him, or at least to me, those images are always something new and fresh that invites me to play with.

Steinberg can be the subject of long, smart conversations. It is a fun coincidence that he and his work ended up being -like he described of making drawings for The New Yorker- “the best calisthenics one can have.”

 

And…

From the fun site, Attempted Bloggery, a treat: “Rea Irvin in Costume”.

Eckstein Off the Beaten Path

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you happen to be heading off to see “the southernmost glacial lake in the hemisphere that has been preserved in pristine condition totally free from development or encroachment” you’d find yourself in the Poconos, in northeastern Pennsylvania, visiting the Lacawac Sanctuary.  While there you’d have a decent chance of running into a sign pointing out the kind of wildlife that inhabits the area.  The sign was painted about five years ago by New Yorker cartoonist, Bob Eckstein.  Mr. Eckstein recently agreed to answer a few questions for Ink Spill about the sign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Maslin: Have you ever done anything like this sign before?

Bob Eckstein: I’ve done many assignments similar to this although it had been quite awhile. But when I first started out I made my living painting photo-realistically and that included educational signs like this. That was before computers. I’d use French crayons and gel mediums. Very suddenly I changed to a very loose style and worked in gauche and acrylics. When the computer came along I immersed myself into Corel Painter and I was able to handle way more jobs and the demands of the clients such as color correction, changes and time (I used to have to scan my paintings on a scanner drum). Digital files became so much more efficient…for me.

MM: How long did it take?

BE: About four straight days.

MM: What materials did you use?

BE: Sketched it on-site, scanned it and painted it and the animals (using photograph reference) with Corel Painter on a Mac .

 

MM: Did you work on it at home, or on the site?

BE: Early stage on site and finish on my computers at my studio which is located walking distance from this sign. I have a house right outside the entrance to the sanctuary. I actually walk to this site each day for exercise

 

Donnelly’s World Ink; R.O.Blechman Speaks; Twohy goes Daily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Liza Donnelly’s World Ink, which was once part of the website, Dscriber, is now stand alone. Ink Spill asked Ms. Donnelly to talk for a moment about her site:

World Ink is a non-profit site that publishes political cartoons from around the world — countries such as Sweden, Switzerland, Nigeria, Algeria, France, Japan, China, and more. The mission of World Ink is to showcase cartoon artists in other countries as well as the U.S. and show what they think of world events, and what they think about events in their own countries.  I started the site out of love for political cartoons from abroad and with a belief that cartoon art can bring some understanding and foster dialogue about world events.

 

In a related story, here’s Donnelly’s latest Forbes column “Women’s Rights in Global Cartoons” (with a slideshow of cartoons)

 

and…

 

From The Comics Journal, May 22, 2013, “Norman Rockwell and R.O. Blechman” —  Mr. Blechman’s remarks at the opening of his retrospective, The Inquiring Line,  currently at the Rockwell Museum.

(to the left: R.O.Blechman’s “Eustacia Tilley” cover for The New Yorker’s 1996 anniversary cover. In an unusual move, the anniversary issue was themed (“The Women’s Issue”) and Eustace Tilley was given the year off.

 

 

and even more…

 

Chris Weyant, who’s drawn the past 63 Daily Cartoons for The New Yorker has announced on Facebook that he’s rolled his chair back from the Daily Cartoonist desk. Long-time New Yorker cartoonist (his first drawing appeared in the magazine, July 21, 1980), Mike Twohy will be rolling his chair in.