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Gravestones Are Forever, Plus Lillian Ross Pictures and More Allen Shawn

Filed under: Seal Barks   Tagged: , , , , , , ,

From Boston’s The Weekly Dig, a whole story about Drew Dernavich’s cartoons and tombstones. Didn’t know Dernavich engraved tombstones? Then you haven’t read this Boston Globe story about how the relatives of deceased Beantowners are up in arms over whimsical Boomer epitaphs like “The Happy Tomato” and “Who the hell is Sheila Shea,” and marble portraits that are less than Puritan. Dernavich is quoted there, but the new story’s a real profile:
“I’m not drawing in cartoony style. They’re like prints with captions,” Dernavich explains. “I’ve always been interested in printmaking and woodcuts. It makes sense to me. It feels natural. At first, I’d draw like this and think, ‘This isn’t a cartoon style.’ I tried to teach myself to draw cartoony; I guess I taught myself pretty badly. They all had this kind of schizophrenia—you’d have a realistic-looking pant leg with a cartoon head on top. It took a long time for me to figure out that your work doesn’t have to look like SpongeBob to be a cartoon…. I’ve always liked the stark black and white of the German expressionist printmakers, even though you’d never call that stuff humorous. Actually, it’s incredibly depressing—woodcuts of people hanging themselves. It’s very painful, but I love the stark look of it. I don’t know if that makes it any funnier. But I can draw a guy with a bulb nose and buck teeth, and that doesn’t make it funny, either. You don’t have to have a funny style if your material is good. You don’t need a laugh track—people can figure out what’s funny on their own.”
Also, in re dead people, happy birthday, Robert Burns. Not at all in re dead people: The MoMA is having a film tribute to Lillian Ross from February 23-28, and the Times has a nice profile of Allen Shawn.

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