The Lovely Anna and I attended the 2013 OSU Festival of Cartoon Art this past weekend in Columbus, OH. This is a triennial event and was extra-special this year because it was also the grand opening of the new Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, the new facility and home for OSU’s unmatched collection of original cartoon art, publications and books on cartooning.
The weekend featured many terrific speakers including Jeff Smith, Matt Bors, Eddie Campbell, Stephan Pastis, Brian Bassett, Gilbert and Jamie Hernandez and Kazu Kibuishi. There was also a screening of the Dave Kellett/Fred Schroeder documentary on comic strips entitled “Stripped”, which was really terrific. Following the screening, Dave and Fred were joined onstage by cartoonists Dylan Meconis, Patrick McDonnell and Hilary Price, all of whom were prominently featured in the film, for a Q&A about the movie and the comic strip world in general. Very enlightening.
The highlight of the weekend was definitely seeing the new Billy Ireland library/gallery unveiled. What an incredible facility. Located in Sullivant Hall on the OSU campus, the business part of the facility is upstairs and features several beautiful galleries, multiple lecture rooms, a fantastic catwalk/open foyer and archive rooms that go on forever. There were two shows hung in the galleries: “Treasures from the Collections of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum”, which is a permanent exhibit, and “Substance and Shadow: The Art of the Cartoon”, which hangs through March 2nd. This latter exhibit, curated by Brian Walker, highlights “various elements, methods, tools and techniques that cartoonists utilize, including caricature, character design, sequential panels, speech balloons page, layout, animation and storytelling.”
I am proud and honored to have some pieces of my work in the “caricature” area of the exhibit. It was surreal to see my work hanging in the same room as legends like Winsor McCay, Alex Raymond, Hal Foster, Jack Davis, David Levine and many, many other amazing cartoonists. Actually, my stuff was hanging in the men’s room on the inside of a stall door, but it was STILL PART OF THE SHOW!
Another highlight was former cartoon library curator Lucy Shelton-Caswell receive the Elzie Segar award for unique and outstanding contributions to the profession of cartooning. Lucy has been a champion of cartooning and the preservation of its legacy in art and culture for a long time, and the industry owes her a great deal. What a well-deserved honor.
I don’t have a lot of other details to share. It’s nice to attend a cartooning event that I either didn’t plan, run, or didn’t have to speak at, and just get a chance to soak it up and enjoy the hard work and event-planning of others!