Illustration lives on: Drawing today

Leaving words aside and letting drawing speak for itself is the intention of illustration. Visual representation, both graphic and pictorial, was practised regularly long before the birth of writing, accelerated by the discovery of the use of pigment. The first prehistoric paintings date from the Aurignacian period, about 40,000 years ago. The concept of using illustration to accompany a text appeared in the second century, in ancient Greek literature. Since then, a whole host of examples of this practice have been seen in all eras and all ends of the globe, ranging from Asian prints to drawings in the modern press, as well as illuminations in Medieval manuscripts. These two different uses of illustration outline two different concepts in illustration: the first consists of using a drawing by itself and the second of using it as a figurative representation to accompany a written text. In any case, the purpose of an illustration is to express and draw attention to an idea or to create an emotion. Yet, drawing seems to be a privileged extension of writing, itself a clear means of expression par excellence, capable of presenting a progression and several arguments. Why, then, resort to illustration? Besides its purely aesthetic properties, this practice has proved capable of expressing a lot more than the illustrations itself suggest. Visual representation has many properties which grant it a certain power, which consequently raises questions about the freedom of expression and censorship. What are its limits? Apart from provoking controversy, illustration also holds a place in the art world when it is not produced in multiples using mechanical processes. This begs the question, just how does illustration fit into the art market of today? Drawing; a childish practice? It is not possible to classify the different functions of illustration, as everything depends on the aims of the author and the medium in which it falls into....

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Angoulême cartoons festival celebrates its anniversary!

Angoulême, 30 January 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). The Festival International de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême celebrates its 40th edition! It is an exceptional meeting for cartoons’ amateurs and fans, that for many years was devoted to spreading the 9th art, always putting in the spotlight not the cartoons characters, but the cartoonists themselves. To celebrate this anniversary, no self-compliment: an exhibition titled “Mickey&Donald, tout un art…” (the art of Mickey&Donald) will be held from 31 January to 3 February 2013. The event emerged from a desire to “revisit cartoons’ foundations, said Benoît Mouchard, the Festival’s Art Director, and amongst them one finds an essential pillar of Mickey and Donald”. To respect the Festival’s spirit, the exhibition will reveal artists that branded each decade of cartoons’ history, from 1930s to nowadays, under the Disney label: from Floyd Gottfredson to Kari Korhonen and Silvia Ziche, without forgetting Carl Barks, Romano Scarpa or Don Rosa. Each of them adopted Disney codes overstepping them to give this unique world their own touch and make univers of Disney evolve. Affiliations and respect of one towards another is so great that some play with these sentiments, quoting their collegues, integrating their predecessors’ motives in their own creations, notably Don Rosa vis-à-vis Carl Barks. Editors developed cartoons in Europe, settling down primarily in Italy and Scandinavia, allowing themselves great liberty: “Scrooge Mc Duck was invented by Carl Barks and Walt Disney found out about it only three years later! reveals Benoît Mouchard. This shows the great confidence Disney placed in his cartoonists and scriptwriters. Carl Barks developed the univers of Donaldville and the characters of Beagle Boys, Magica De Spell, Scrooge Mc Duck, Gladstone Gander – Donald’s cousin who always has luck and Gyro Gearloose. There was no censorship nor directive”. This exhibition is as well an opportunity to show how strong was...

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Roger Shimomura is “An American Knockoff”

Santa Fe, 20 July 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA). From 10 August to 22 September 2012, the gallery Eight Modern in Santa Fe will be presenting “An American Knockoff” from Roger Shimomura. The artist will relate personal experiences on being Asian-American in the United States. The fourteen self-portraits featured are a clever mix of anger and absurdity; the artist is known to insert himself into iconic images from American and Asian pop-culture. His protagonists are mice, pigs, and crime-fighters – in short, recognisable faces from cartoons. Born in Seattle in 1939, Shimomura produced paintings, prints and performances often inspired by his grandmother’s diary. As a third-generation immigrant living in the United States, his work takes on socio-political and racial issues. His style blends American Pop Art and the Japanese Ukiyo-e movement. The artist will be talking about his work on 9 August at the contemporary art space SITE Santa...

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British cartoonist Ronald Searle dies

Draguignan (France), 5 January 2012, Art Media Agency (AMA). On 30 December, the British cartoonist Ronald Searle died at his home in Draguignan (France), aged 91. For over half a century the artist, most famous for creating the cartoon St Trinian’s, has provided satirical cartoons for major international publishers in United Kingdom, United States and France, where he had been living since 1961. Born in 1920 in Cambridge, Ronald Searle started drawing very early and sold his creations at the age of fifteen. In 1941, he published the first episode of St Trinian’s, which tells the adventures of a girls’ boarding school, while serving in the corps of Royal Engineers. As he was captured by the Japanese authorities in Singapore, he continued to draw in the years he spent in captivity. Back in Europe after the war, he worked for the British satirical magazine Punch and Tribune newspapers, Sunday Express and News Chronicle. Subsequently, he also brings his touch to American magazines The New Yorker, Life, and the French daily Le Monde. Searle’s specific yet spontaeous technique, as well as lively and scribbled, portrays his cartoons in the humouristic and satiric scenes, as well as his poignant and dramatic views  of the...

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“Cartoons on the Front Line” at Museo Picasso in Málaga

Malaga, 27 June 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). The Museo Picasso is presenting its new exhibition entitled “Cartoons of the Front Line.” In January 1937, Pablo Picasso started working on Sueno y mentira de Franco, eighteen scenes printed on plates. Picasso created them as a protest against the military upheaval of July 1936 and in order to raise funds for the Republican cause by selling copies at the Spanish Pavillion at the World Fair in Paris. Each plate comprises nine scenes in which Picasso created violent depictions of the destruction of art and the consequences of totalitarianism. He used a popular language to denounce barbarism. From the first to the very last scene, satire and parody are used to reject the atrocities of war. The spectator will recognise some themes from the famous Guernica painting. About 120 pieces from Picasso and others artists will thus be displayed, such as Goya’s The Disaster of War, a selection of engravings that were re-published in 1937 by the Republican government, drawings by Tono Salazar, photographic montages by John Heartfield, visual productions by Joseph Renau and Mauricio Amster and caricatures by Luis Bagaria and George...

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