The Weekend Spill: From The Spill’s Library: A Look At New Yorker Biographies (Etc.); The Tilley Watch Online, The Week Of May 11-15, 2020; Joe Dator’s Animation

 

From The Spill’s Library: A Look At New Yorker Biographies (Etc.)

If you’ve been spending as much time as I have online, you’ve seen multiple postings by individuals of their personal library (or parts of). Since visiting my fave bookstore is out of the question for now, I’ve found  browsing book collections by others a ton ‘o fun.  I’ve seen a number of (possible) must-have books over the past few weeks — books I didn’t know existed, or books I’d forgotten about. Over the years, I’ve done a few posts on what’s on the Spill’s shelves. Thurber biographies most recently, and not too long ago, a few of Thurber’s books here at Spill headquarters.

Below you’ll see another group that is ordered by subject (the subjects being folks who were or are New Yorker contributors).  This group of books is an arm’s length from where I sit; I like being able to lean back in my office chair and grab a needed title. I’ve included the whole of the Spill‘s E.B  White collection (mostly books by him, and the great White bio by Scott Elledge) because much of his work seems (to me) to fit into autobiography. The A-Z section begins just to the right of Katharine White’s Onward And Upward in the Garden with Renata Adler’s Gone. Not everything New Yorker contributor/autobiographical/biographical is shown here. Books by the subjects (that is, books by New Yorker contributors) are on the other side of my desk — not arm’s length, but close enough. There’s plenty of autobiographical material in many of them (the Updike and Roth books alone take up a couple of shelves). There are also books that haven’t yet found a shelf (I need to build more). But the ones shown here are the core — the go-to books that help me determine what was what and who was who at The New Yorker.

The Ross section includes a title that might cause some head-scratching: Good Food For Bad Stomachs by Sara M. Jordan, M.D. & Sheila Hibben. It’s there because the (4 page)  Introduction was written by Harold Ross.

 

 

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The Tilley Watch Online, May 11-15, 2020

An end of the week listing of New Yorker artists who contributed to newyorker.com features

The Daily Cartoon: Colin Tom, Tom Toro, Lars Kenseth, David Sipress, Elisabeth McNair.

Daily Shouts: Olivia de Recat, Gabrielle Bell.

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Joe Dator’s Animation

The fab Joe Dator has posted a four minute animation. Mr. Dator had this to say about it on Facebook:

My quarantine project for several weeks has been writing and directing this animated short film, called “EARTH”, about an alien invasion gone wrong. I’m thrilled to finally to be able to show it to you guys!  

See it here.

Joe Dator began contributing to The New Yorker in August of 2006.  Visit his website here.

Profile Of Interest: Andre Francois; Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon; Today’s Daily Shouts Cartoonist

Profile Of Interest: Andre Francois

From Art & Artist, May 15, 2020, Andre Francois, Pt.1 this look at the work of the great New Yorker cover artist, Andre Francois.

Here’s his entry on the Spill‘s A-Z:

Andre Francois (pictured above, 1978) Birth/death information from his New York Times obit of April 15, 2005: Born Andre Farkas, 1915, Timisoara. Died, April, 2005, Grisy-les-Platres, France.

Known primarily for his New Yorker covers, of which there were 54, he also contributed two illustrations (his illustration of May 7, 2001, accompanying an article on mussels was his last published piece in the New Yorker). 

Essential Collection: The Tattooed Sailor. (Knopf, 1954)

He also contributed one drawing to The New Yorker (shown below).  It appeared in the issue of December 19, 1964.

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Today’s Daily Cartoonist & Cartoon

Colin Tom on making things worse.

Mr. Tom has been contributing to The New Yorker since

2015. Visit his website here.

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Today’s Daily Shouts Cartoonist

From Olivia de Recat: What’s Behind Window No. 1?

Ms. de Recat  has been contributing toThe New Yorker since 2018. Visit her website here.

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue Of May 11, 2020: Let Us Now Praise George Booth’s Auto Repair Shop Cartoons

The Cover: The ninth coronavirus-themed cover out of the last ten issues. Here’s a Q&A with cover artist, Christoph Mueller.

From the Dept. of Broken Records: sorry, but do New Yorker covers really need titles? This one would be fine standing all by itself.

The Cartoonists:

Let Us Now Praise George Booth’s Auto Repair Shop Cartoons

In a departure for the Monday Tilley Watch, I’m going to talk about just one of this week’s cartoonists, and his garage-centric drawings. When one thinks of New Yorker car drawings, there are at least two possible candidates that come readily to mind: the late great Joe Mirachi* and the singularly sensational soon-to-be-94 year old George Booth.  As you see in the above list of this week’s contributing cartoonists, Mr. Booth leads off the issue. What a kick to see this cartoon! What fun! The drawing is of a garage mechanic telling a customer, “We found a dangling participle in your carburetor, Professor.”  In Mr. Booth’s fifty-one year history of contributing to The New Yorker, his garage mechanic drawings rank up there with, among others, his guy in the claw-foot bathtub, his cave people and, of course, his dog and cat drawings.

When I think about New Yorker artists who have been with the magazine for some time — Mr. Booth’s first appeared in 1969 — I’m always curious to see when it was that one of their special interests began. With Booth, it didn’t take long at all for his first car mechanic cartoon to appear.  Below is his third New Yorker drawing (it appeared in the issue of March 7, 1970).

I don’t have access to an up-to-the minute accounting of Booth’s New Yorker work, so I’m unable to give an accounting of how many garage mechanic drawings the magazine’s published (if you type in “car” on the magazine’s database in association with George Booth’s name, 65 results are returned. But the database is good only up to February 14, 2005). Here are just a few of Booth’s classic additions to The New Yorker‘s cartoon car canon, beginning with a favorite from January 13, 1973.

 

And from March 25, 1974:

Finally, this beauty from May 27, 1991:

It’s tempting to remark on the detail you see in all of Booth’s repair shop drawings, but heck, detail has been Booth’s middle name throughout his more than eight hundred-and-fifty cartoons published thus far. His love of the scene found inside (and outside) the garage is obvious — all those golden graphic opportunities. We are fortunate Booth finds the elements in and around the shop worthy of pen and ink examination: the mechanics themselves in their well-worn grease-splotched coveralls, and then of course, the puzzled customers and their cars (what great cars!) and the ever-present Booth cats (and/or dogs).

I’ve spent a lot of time waiting in auto repair shops; it’s always a bit of a Boothian experience, looking around, noting the “stuff” — seeing it as Booth sees it. I owe George Booth plenty for his love of capturing the car shop — it clearly inspired my repair shop drawings, and “inspired” is putting it mildly as is clear in the below drawing of mine from The New Yorker issue of December 24, 1984.

Hats and caps off to Booth!

 

* Below: a Joe Mirachi New Yorker car cartoon, published November 24, 1986

 

 

 

 

 

The Monday Tilley Watch, The New Yorker Issue Of April 20, 2020

A Note To Readers: Due to the times we’re in the digital edition of the magazine appears later in the day than usual. Thus, instead of the usual look through the magazine, I’m working off of the slide show of cartoons on newyorker.com, as well as the cover Q&A found there. If any mistakes are made on my part I’ll correct them once the digital issue is posted.

Update: 1:00pm.  Digital issue posted about an hour ago.

The Cover: Owen Smith gives us a tired worker (the piece is titled — and again, why do we need cover titles? —  “After The Shift”)…four out of the last five covers have been corona virus themed. Read about the cover here.

The Cartoonists:

The Cartoons:

I don’t know how others respond to an issue’s cartoons. For me, it’s always at least a two-level response:

1. How each drawing hits me — did a drawing stand out (for better or worse).

2. The feeling from all the drawings combined: was it a strong issue of work, or not.

This new issue feels strong, covering a wide range of territory in cartoonland, from aliens (courtesy of Charlie Hankin) to a PC Satyr (from Edward Koren), from dolphins in a swimming pool (McPhail), to what might be found on the other side of the mountaintop (Colin Tom)… and so much more.

 

The Rea Irvin Masthead Watch:

Rea Irvin, the fellow shown here, did so much to shape the look of The New Yorker (okay, I’ll say it — he was instrumental). One of his greatest lasting contributions was adapting Allen Lewis’s typeface; it eventually became known as the Irvin typeface, although these days I hear it   referred to as the New Yorker typeface.  Among Irvin’s many contributions other than art supervisor to Harold Ross (in itself a huge contribution!) was contributing covers, including, of course, the very first one, featuring Eustace Tilley. He also contributed cartoons, and headings for various departments. His design for Talk Of The Town stood in place (with a few adjustments in the magazine’s earliest days) for 92 years, until May of 2017 when his iconic design was mothballed and replaced by a redraw.

Am I wrong to think of Irvin’s typeface, his Tilley, his Talk masthead, and his “catholic” taste in cartoon selection as representing the graphic soul of the magazine?  So many modern changes (or “tweaks” as they were referred to) were test ballooned in recent years and then withdrawn (layout, typography, headings, etc., etc.) —  why not bring back this not insignificant bit of soul.

 

Amy Hwang On “Asian Babies: Work From Asian New Yorker Cartoonists”

Here’s The New Yorker cartoonist Amy Hwang writing about the current Pearl River Mart Gallery exhibit: “Asian Babies: Work From Asian New Yorker Cartoonists”

When I started drawing cartoons for The New Yorker in 2010, I did not think much of the fact that I was possibly the only cartoonist of Asian* descent contributing at the time. It was hard enough to get into the magazine, so I was mainly focused on staying in it by consistently sending in cartoon batches hoping that more would sell. Eventually, I realized I was an anomaly. Being the only Asian New Yorker cartoonist contributing at that time, I felt pressure to keep producing cartoons as if I was an endangered species.

My cartoons are not explicitly “Asian” in topic or style, and without seeing my surname at the bottom corner of my drawings, most people probably wouldn’t think that I am Asian-American at all. I decided from the beginning to sign my cartoons legibly with my full name so that anyone seeing them would surmise that I was both female and Asian, both of which are underrepresented groups among cartoonists. I did this in hopes that there might be some recognition of that fact even if it was subconscious. I also did this so my friends wouldn’t ask me which cartoons were mine. But they still did.

Asian Babies
Jeremy Nguyen, Christine Mi, Amy Hwang, Suerynn Lee, and Joanne Kwong (President of Pearl River Mart) are shown L to R.

Nearly ten years later, there are now several New Yorker cartoonists of Asian descent currently contributing to the magazine. Many, like myself, are based in the United States: Colin Tom, Jeremy Nguyen, Christine Mi, Suerynn Lee, and Evan Lian. Alice Cheng and Hartley Lin are in Canada, and Maddie Dai is a Kiwi living in England. All of them seem young to me. Or rather, I feel old next to them. But I am still caught off guard when any of them will mention my work as if it has been around forever. The passage of time is funny that way. I was well into adulthood when my first cartoon was printed in the magazine, but many of them were practically kids.

Jeremy Nguyen approached me a little over a year ago to curate Asian Babies with him. He had the idea to have a group show featuring New Yorker cartoonists of Asian descent, and the Pearl River Mart Gallery was the perfect venue for our small group. The exhibition developed organically. When we started planning, we had about five cartoonists. In late 2018 and into 2019, four more had their first cartoons printed in The New Yorker, so we added them. There is no way of knowing if we included every cartoonist of Asian descent in the show, but we tried our best by looking at everyone’s surnames which certainly isn’t 100 percent foolproof.

Jeremy Nguyen, Nicolette Leung Renz (granddaughter of Monroe Leung – with her baby), Amy Hwang are shown L to R.

One month before the show was slated to open, Jeremy came across the name Monroe Leung. He was listed with other cartoonists who had had only one cartoon published in The New Yorker. His cartoon was published in 1949. Jeremy was able to contact Monroe’s daughter Corinne Leung Katow with the help of cartoonist Michael Maslin, and we secured permission to include Monroe’s New Yorker cartoon and other works of his in our show. I think people will be as surprised as we were when they discover his works among the others. In my view, he was years ahead of his time.

©Monroe Leung, The Sun

Monroe passed away in 2004, several years before my first cartoon was printed in The New Yorker. And while he may have been the only New Yorker cartoonist of Asian descent in his lifetime, I take comfort in knowing he is no longer alone today.

*Asian in this article refers to East Asian and Southeast Asian

— By Amy Hwang

Asian Babies: Works from Asian New Yorker Artists
Pearl River Mart Gallery
395 Broadway, NYC
Open every day, 10 a.m. to 7:20 p.m. Free and open to the public.

Note: this piece originally appeared on a commercial site. It appears here through the kind permission of Ms. Hwang.