Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Jack Davis (b. December 2, 1924) is a cartooning genius. Wipe the slate of all those phoney high art pretenders, those MFAs who can't draw a straight line, those artistic ass-kissers who were born on third base and think they hit a home run. Forget about the heavy conceptual videographers with one trick up their sleeve, the chilly academic artists and those apple-polishing art teachers' pets who flatter the critics with easy-to-explain work and camera-ready wall-text. Jack Davis is the real deal. He worked his way up the ladder with mad skills in a much maligned art form, the humble comic, a medium sometimes sneered at by the Downton Abbey art aristocracy as common and frivolous, but Jack Davis could draw rings around all of them. Years ago, as a wide-eyed youth, I meticulously imitated his Mad Magazine caricatures (paying particular attention his shoes; nobody draws wingtips like Davis), slaving over his freewheeling, inspired work. I loved his film posters, too, with characters spilling out from the visual plane, the visual madness of "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" poster, and his promo for NBC for "Get Smart," which I sent away for and dutifully posted over my bed. Someday, Jack Davis--and all the cartoonists and illustrators and the real workers of the art world--will be recognized after all the Jeff Koons and Damien Hirsts have been forgotten. Platinum, diamond-studded skulls? PUH--leeze. Giant teddy bears? Pure junk. The Faberge eggs of the now, useless and expensive, mere signs of wealth but certainly not taste. Check out Jack's work.

And don't miss a tribute to the man by some of the best cartoonists around--and me, too! Check this out:


An exhibition featuring Peter Bagge, Nikki Burch, Art Chantry, Jack Davis, Tom Dougherty, Jesse Edwards, Ellen Forney, Art Garcia, Roberta Gregory, Charles Krafft, Jason T. Miles, Pat Moriarity, Tom Neely, Joe Newton, Ries Niemi, John Ohannesian, Augie Pagan, Eric Reynolds, Bob Rini, Johnny Ryan, Frank Santoro, SHAG, Matthew Southworth, and Jim Woodring.

Opening Reception Saturday, February 11, 6:00 to 9:00 PM

Exhibition continues through March 7, 2012

Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery
1201 S. Vale Street (at Airport Way S,)
Seattle, WA 98108 206.658.0110
Open daily 11:30 - 8:00 PM, Sunday until 5:00 PM



sundersartwork said...

Wish i could check it out, i am a huge fan of Dvis work. Shame poster art has gone now in favour of digital cheapo giant heads.

Bob Rini said...

I agree. Jack Davis was the bomb. He spoke to us at the event via Skype--says he still draws and paints every day.