I hate drawing cartoons about crime; I don’t feel like I have an opinion that is worth drawing – crime is bad, police violence is bad, victims are to be grieved – nothing really for me to draw that says more. With so many young black men killed by police in America, it is disappointing that the case that catches the public and media attention isn’t more clear cut, without conflicting evidence, with a more sympathetic victim and a police officer who is clearly guilty. It would seem that there are plenty of better cases to choose to rally behind, but the issue is saddled with the randomness of the media and what catches fire with the public. I can always draw a cartoon about the media, and how they are drawn to violence, so I went with that.
Here’s a detail in black and white, what most people will see in the newspapers.
Then I got to thinking that the cartoon was too wide and complex, and it really didn’t need the media – just the juxtaposition of the protestors and the opportunistic thieves was enough. I cut the cartoon back to this …
This one makes a different point without the media in the middle. I like that it is simple and a more standard size that newspapers will likely print bigger. Sometimes I get too baroque and complex when I should just pare it down.
St Just le Martel is the patron saint of a little French town near Limoges; his bones are housed at an ancient little church in town. The story goes that little St Just was walking along one day when God asked him to throw his hammer (martel); when the hammer landed, water squirted out of the ground. God told little St Just to build a church on the spot, founding the little town. That’s an adult St. Just (right) breaking his dinnerplate halo with his martel, in an image that the town seems to have adopted as a logo (I don’t know who the artist was on this one). That’s the church that houses his bones at the left.
The tiny town opens itself up to editorial cartoonist from around the world every year at the end of September. The townsfolks put the cartoonists up in their homes and get together to prepare giant meals for the cartoonists and what looks like the whole town through the “Salon.” And the little town has built a big, nice cartoon museum (below). It is hard to imagine any little town in America doing something like this (although it looks like Kenosha, Wisconsin and Marceline, Missouri may be headed in that direction).
There is a contingent of Australian cartoonists attending this year, along with six American cartoonists that are coming with me: Steve Sack, Rick McKee, Adam Zyglis, Monte Wolverton and Nate Beeler. We’re doing exhibitions of American Views of Putin and Ferguson Missouri; I expect the Australian cartoonists will have an exhibition of Aussie cartoons.
I did the poster for this year’s Salon (right, click here to see the sketch and a large version of the poster). The Salon/festival runs over two weekends from September 27th through October 5th. The first weekend they give their “Humor Tendre” (tender humor) award to someone like a children’s book illustrator who draws nice, sweet cartoons; the award consists of a live sheep. The week between the weekends can be a bit slow, but some cartoonists hang out for the week between the two weekends.
The second weekend, when most of the editorial cartoonists attend, they give the “Humor Vache” (cow humor, or harsh humor) award to a more satirical, caustic cartoonist. I won the cow last year, which is why I did the poster this year; there seems to be a tradition of the cow winner doing the poster for the following year. See me with my charming prize, Josette the cow, at last year’s event here.
St Just le Martel is way out in the French boondocks, cow country, and they are proud of their cows. The cow has become a symbol for the Salon/festival – the Limoges cow is always brown, like Josette. Here are some more posters from recent Salons …