Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Steadfast Steadman

Years ago, I received a lovely gift, “The Art of The Times,” a collection of illustrations that accompanied editorial pieces in The New York Times. 

In it, there’s a fascinatingly wide swath of styles and approaches from many contemporary artists, as one might expect in a publication as culturally diverse as The Times.

One of the artists that caught my eye for his truly unique way with a pen is a Brit named Ralph Steadman

Welcome to the November edition of Not Your Usual Caricature Artist from Caricatures by Joel.

I frankly hadn’t thought of him in years -- since I first read the book. Until I was recently watching Anthony Bourdain do his culinary and travelogue thing on CNN, this time in England, and one of the local “colorfuls” he interviewed was Ralph Steadman.

Watching him work at his craft made me realize two things: One, I didn’t know he was still alive and, Two, he is truly an original, with a style both course and lyrical...and slightly nightmarish.

Is it caricature art, per se? I think his work defies categorization. But, as you can see, it’s riveting nonetheless.

From a website devoted to him and his work:

Born in 1936, Ralph Steadman began his career as a cartoonist and through the years diversified into many fields of creativity. Artist, writer, sculptor, cartoonist and designer, he has illustrated such classics as Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island and Animal Farm. His books include the studies of Sigmund Freud and Leonardo da Vinci, while with Hunter S. Thompson he collaborated on the birth of GONZO journalism with his classic illustrations for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

While I admire Steadman's one-of-a-kind approach to illustration, I am a more mundane subscriber to "traditional" representational (caricature) art.

Here are some samples of commissioned pieces, both new and old:

Thanks for checking in. See you again the first Tuesday of next month for another ink-stained edition of Not Your Usual Caricature Artist.