Friday, August 17, 2007

Far and Away

A belated happy birthday to The Far Side cartoonist Gary Larson, born on August 14, 1950. Larson (shown above in younger days) snuck into many unsuspecting minds a very personal brand of surrealism disguised as a menagerie of humorous cows, snakes, worms, and very, very awkward human beings. The intelligence Larson brought to all his cartoon concepts brought his wide knowledge of animal behavior (and human behavior) to the fore. In fact, before editors changed the name to The Far Side, Larson titled his comic Nature’s Way. Although The Far Side frequently won polls for both best and worst comic, showing that not everyone got the jokes, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a favorite or score of favorite Far Side comics that they can describe at a moment’s notice, usually falling horribly short of the compact efficiency of Larson’s single panel works of surrealist performance art.

Sadly, I, too, am left only with words and not images of Larson’s work to honor him here. Larson considers his work his “children” and, along with his lawyers, is a very protective parent. Fortunately, even though Larson stopped cartooning in 1995 to pursue his music, Larson’s work will live on in calendars, t-shirts, greeting cards, and other media forever. The profits of many of these products go to conservation efforts, so it’s easy to accept Larson’s protectiveness of his “children” when you see it as the protection of nature for our children, too.


anonimo said...

You should take a look over south american artistes, from argentina, De la Carcova, Candido Lopez, Eduardo Sivori, Alonso, Pettoruti, Quinquinela Martin, Roux, Segui, Spilinbergo, Xul Solar, as well as brasilian and mexicans. Saludos.

Bob said...

Thanks, Anonimo.

I fully admit that my knowledge of art history is heavily based on American and European art, with some Asian art. If I exclude anyone, it's entirely due to my ignorance and not an intentional snubbing.

I'm always open to learning more about other cultures and their art, so please let me know if you can recommend any books in English that cover the artists you mention. Sadly, my knowledge of Spanish is quite poor, so I'm always appreciative of people like yourself you take the pains to learn English.

Thanks, as always, for reading.