September 09, 2014

Ralph Steadman and Quentin Blake on the term cartoonist

If there's one thing I struggle with it's what to call the Live Drawing aspect of my work. The name for me is a little clumsy. As are the terms cartoonist and caricaturist. As Ralph Steadman said:
"In some ways ‘cartoonist’ is a derogatory term. People have said it to me dozens of times – you’re just a cartoonist. But I’m rather keen on the Wittgenstein bit about the only thing of value being what you cannot say. That’s the thing about drawing: when you try to say something in pictures, it gains a dimension that language can’t match. I like that.”
And I wouldn't even use the term illustrator. As Quentin Blake said:
"There's a snobbery about illustration." 
Ralph Steadman said that he's an artist, not an illustrator, but prefers cartoonist to illustrator:
"I always wanted to be an artist, period: I hate the word illustrator - it just sounds so limp - I prefer cartoonist. Goya was a cartoonist, Daumier was a cartoonist, even Picasso used the cartoon form to express himself. But cartooning has got a really bad name now hasn’t it? People think it’s just something for filling up a column in a newspaper [adopts condescending voice] ‘Oh, it’s only a cartoon, here’s a fiver…’ I’m not trying to be artsy-fartsy but I don’t like the division that one thing is fine art and another thing isn’t."
"Cartooning meant more to me than just funny pictures. I needed to apply it as a weapon almost."
And finally Ralph Steadman said:
"I try to use cartoon as an artist. I hate artistic snobbery. It’s bullshit. You should have no truck with it whatsoever. Have no truck with it."
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