JUNE 28, 2012
This drawing of a grey wolf in snow reminds us that wolves are being hunted mercilessly in states like Montana and Idaho, after Congress eliminated them from the endangered lists. It is the intention in some states to eradicate them. SIGN HERE: https://secure.defenders.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=2437
to raise your voice, which of course, counts.


Joe Fournier is one of the most vigorous caricaturists around.  He has combined his various talents composer, musician, writer, illustrator,  filmmaker, voiceover actor into a magic blend that takes us to new places in this field. His animations have appeared on the Chicago Tribune website and his print pieces are offered up for syndication.  I am a fan, not just of his work, but of Joe's demonstration of what we all need to do in this market; diversify and explore.  Hey, nobody know's where this all is going. Going forward in this chaotic and transmutating industry will take the kind of person we see in Joe.  Strongly attacking the problem of covering the field while tenaciously holding onto his standards; not falling into the Kitty Pit. Here are (approximately) 4 questions for Joe Fournier.





Here are 4 questions for Joe Fournier.


1. Tell me the difference between the print series and video series.  Do they overlap? Are you adapting the same ideas? If not do you find a different approach to similar ones?


They are pretty similar.  The print pieces are or could be animatics for animations I suppose.  They are also much easier to turn around in a few hours as opposed to the week it would take me to do the animations.  With the news cycle zipping by with the attention span of a chimp, the shelf life of all these things is a little longer than you can hold your breath.  So, sooner the output the greater the impact, bigger the laugh.


2. What is the funding for the videos like? Are it all Trib or are you syndicating?


The videos?  Close your eyes.  What do you see?  As for the printed pieces, that I am being paid by an industry that's circling the drain could be looked at as a victory, though a nominal one.  I am currently shopping the OpArtpieces for a syndication deal.  Hope springs eternal.


3. What recent cartoon have you done that has given you the most fun to do; actually made you laugh in a high pitched cackle in the middle of the night that might have disturbed a sleeping dog?


I liked the Rose Garden heckler No Such thing as a Stupid Question and the Sheriff Arpaio America's Toughest Sheriff pieces.  Bigger the a-hole the more fun they are to tee up.  I like them for the little, second tier jokes that I'll insert after I run the whole thing.  "TUCKER CARLSON SMELLS LIKE PUDDING!" means absolutely nothing, but I liked the sound of it, particularly coming from that guy.  And sheriff Arpaio saying that he was all aquiver to be able to "shake down anything darker than Debbie Reynolds!"  made me very proud, though I put in a great amount of thought deciding whether Debbie Reynolds was funnier than Doris Day.  I think I chose well.  But I'm also partial to the song pieces like The Tale of Romney Hood, and the completely absurdist pieces like Willard Scissorhands.  Of course, no bigger jerk have we than The Donald.  ! The Donald on The Donald is a personal favorite, near and dear to my heart.


4. Political cartooning is such a thankless, undistinguished, masochistic profession.  Are you an idealist assuming that cartoons will make a difference at some point and that they haven't as yet is not a good indication of anything yet, or a romantic, suspecting that the glorious past of the art will by some inherent quality return a golden glow to people today, or are you pathological in some way and can't really explain this nervous tick you have?


Our politics are so hostile and mean spirited right now, I think people need a little levity, a little fun.  Maybe that will turn out to be the common ground we're looking for, who knows?  Peter Sellers, the theater director, says that all art is political, and I think there is some truth to that.  I'm not an idealist.  I started doing this work because the straight up illustration work went away.  I'm not tied to past political cartoonists.  Though they were brilliant, in today's environment people look at it, categorize it by slamming it to either the left or right, and dismiss it.  It doesn't have the impact it once did.  Just more white noise.  I'm trying to loosen things up, use my animation background along with some elements of the graphic novel, and get people to laugh, relax, and maybe take a bit more in.  Shit, now I do sound like an idealist.  A not-very-self-aware idealist.


Okay 5 questions. How did you learn to draw real good?


Why, by studying music, of course!  I'm a conservatory trained sax player, composer and arranger.  (Intake of breath, pause for haughty reverence.)  After college I studied music in India for a time, then returned to the states where I promptly cut my middle finger damned near off.  (My drawing hand, of course.)  So I sat around, ate Cheerios, drank cognac and watched the Oliver North trial.  (Still to this day, our finest American liar under oath.)


Then I became an illustrator.


Okay 6 questions. Where can we buy stuff you make?


Well, depends on what you want to buy.  If you'd like a copy of my compendium of printed pieces from last year, This One Goes to Eleven can be purchased here http://www.lulu.com/shop/joe-fournier/this-one-goes-to-eleven/paperback/product-18879966.html  and here  http://www.amazon.com/This-One-Goes-To-Eleven/dp/1105522628/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340983612&sr=8-1&keywords=this+one+goes+to+eleven


My cd with the quartet, Calder's Circus, can be purchased here http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=calders+circus%2C+joe+fournier&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Acalders+circus%5Cc+joe+fournier&ajr=0  and here http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jfournier




My site has everything else, including the large oils I've recently gotten into.  www.joefournierstudios.com
Finally a big thanks to you Steve, our top-shelf, groove daddy of the illustration world. Thanks for including me on your blog. You're the best!


Thanks to you Joe, for trailblazing and showing that great work will rise, even in the rushing river of brackish media. Keep up the crazy brilliance. And don't forget to write.



This Independence Day we can celebrate a revolution in our thinking about food. The happy beef cow above is a vision of the way things could be. In last Sunday's Washington Post
piece on what agribusiness has turned into (and what it is turning US into), Traci McMillan, to paraphrase, submits facts to a candid world. This is the story of your hamburger.

Some points from the piece.

*Every American-raised burger (or steak) comes from cattle on one of about 742,000 ranches across the country. Yet 85 percent of them will be slaughtered by one of just four companies.

*This concentration is a problem for animals, whose chances of a humane slaughter diminish substantially as they crowd into increasingly mammoth facilities, and it is a problem for workers, who are forced to pick up the pace. It is risky for human health, since centralized processing makes it easy for meat contamination to spread far and wide.

*This is also bad for small farmers who cannot sometimes get their cattle to slaughter on time. Many of the these smaller operations are shutting down.

*Concentration is also bad for shoppers. The retail price of beef has been inching up since the 1990s, but “the inflation-adjusted price farmers receive has been going down,” says Robert Taylor, an Auburn University expert on the beef industry. “In a competitive market, [that] would translate into retail food prices going down ... and that has not happened.”

*Wal-Mart has become a dominant baker of bread for buns. This cuts out small farmers and millers. Wal-Mart will deal with another conglomerate on this and cut out competition but charging less all round. It also cuts out farmers.

*The tomatoes and lettuce are picked by migrants, immigrants, who are paid about $13,000 a year and are exposed to highly toxic pesticides. Many give birth to children with severe birth defects.

Tomorrow get organic, non-factory-raised beef, local vegetables and buns from a local bakery. Or order in pizza.

The current Nation has a great cover story by Robert Reich (READ HERE), urging Democrats and the press to call Romney out. Mitt is a reanimated Gilded Age Robber Baron in the flesh. And not in the upper crust of that gang either, among whom were some very open-minded reformers. He is still fighting the good fight for the poor 1%. And that’s okay. Just let’s say it, say it plain and say it every day until November 6.
Thanks to Milton Glaser and Sue Walsh for the delightful collaboration.

Sometimes you need to get a hand just so. And drawing is seeing. So here’s another use for a smart phone!

This last minute piece for The Washington Spectator. Health Care is saved by , , , Roberts???! Still wrapping my brain around that one.
And here's the Mitter digging the mandate. Let this video ring!