Ghost Digger exorcised

I was pretty happy with this cartoon for page one of the Oz this morning, firstly because I think it works as a cartoon, but mainly on the grounds that (and I may be giving away a trade secret here) I avoided drawing what is politely described in the News Ltd art department as a “ghost digger” cartoon.

A ghost digger cartoon traditionally appears on Anzac day and involves the ghostly appearance of said digger accompanied by some sort of symbolic event like a sunrise. The ghost digger cartoon invariably rises from the grave during profound moments or tragic events and is the political cartoonist’s polite way of saying “bugger it, I’ve got nothing, here’s a picture I drew.” It doesn’t necessarily require an actual ghostly apparition in the cartoon, but will run heavily to symbolism, labelling of objects and generally a great deal of crosshatching for added gravitas.

Being a huge but much anticipated and symbolic event, Obama’s election was a clear ghost digger candidate. The obvious Obama ghost digger cartoon would naturally require the invocation of the ghostly form of the great Martin Luther King along with an appropriately poignant quote.

I suppose the labelled thought bubbles of my cartoon are kind of ghost diggery, but overall, the bullet was dodged.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the ghost digger cartoon as a last resort, in fact in the past I’ve ghost diggered with the best of them, but it’s always nice to stick a fly in the ointment if you can find one. As an editor once said to me, “You really don’t do poignant, do you Jon?”

Can we fix it?

Is it just me, or did America just elect Bob the Builder? Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I would have hedged my bets a bit and gone with the Little Red Engine refrain myself, “I think we can, I think we can, I think we can” is less likely to bite you on the bum when everything goes pear-shaped.

hot tub not good enough for latte-sipping elites

There’s nothing sadder than the passing of a great head in politics. The recent demotion of Brendan has been a real loss to all caricaturists, but is nothing compared to the retirement of political cartoonist’s wet dream, Big Red Paul Lennon.

As an homage to (and possibly exorcism of) the only politician to rival Joh Bjelke for Services To Political Cartooning, I painted the big fella in his hot tub for the Salamanca Collection Art Prize (theme: Tasmania: A Sense Of Place). You simply don’t get any more Tasmanian than the ex-Premier’s ex-office, which I’m sure the new boy Bartlett is finding to be a damn big tub to fill.

Sadly, the Salamanca Collection chardonnay sipping judges who were entirely independent of the cutting edge Salamanca Collection (edited for accuracy) were nowhere near hardcore enough to put it in the exhibition, so I’ve put an image up here for Furtherance of The Good Name Of Tasmania.

The original will be on display in all its 1.8-ish square metres of canvassy glory in my own exhibition of paintings at the Sidespace Gallery starting December 5.

UPDATE: more on this at The Mercury and The Tasmanian Times.

Picked it!

Turnbull takes the leadership of the Liberal party.

Turnbull takes the leadership of the Liberal party.

Actually, I’m not sure if the beans and the jam ended up running, but groceries aside, I got them in the right order. Brendan, on behalf of the political cartoonists of Australia, I’d just like to say thanks for the good times. We shall never see the like of your hair again.