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Posts Tagged ‘Ralph Steadman’

10 JANUARY, 2014

Alice in Wonderland Illustrated by Ralph Steadman: A 1973 Gem

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Down the rabbit hole of creative magic, one truly mad hatter at a time.

In the century and a half since Lewis Carroll met little Alice Liddell and imagined around her his Alice in Wonderland, the beloved tale has inspired a wealth of stunning artwork, ranging from John Tenniel’s original illustrations to Leonard Weisgard’s mid-century masterpieces to Salvador Dalí’s little-known heliogravures to Robert Sabuda’s pop-up magic. But among the most singular and weirdly wonderful is the 1973 gem Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland Illustrated by Ralph Steadman (public library; Abe Books). Barely in his mid-thirties at the time, the beloved British cartoonist — best-known today for his collaborations with Hunter S. Thompson and his unmistakable inkblot dog drawings — brings to Carroll’s classic the perfect kind of semi-sensical visual genius, blending the irreverent with the sublime.

(Because, you know, it’s not a tea party until somebody flips the bird.)

Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland Illustrated by Ralph Steadman is an absolute treat in its entirety. Wash it down with The Alice in Wonderland Cookbook.

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03 DECEMBER, 2013

Legendary Cartoonist Ralph Steadman’s Inkblot Dog Drawings

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Canine humanity from the beloved Gonzo cartoonist.

After the ceaselessly delightful Big New Yorker Book of Dogs, John Homans’s poignant What’s a Dog For?, and Mary Oliver’s sublime Dog Songs, it might be tempting to think the world couldn’t possibly need another book about dogs. But how could one resist such a gem as The Ralph Steadman Book of Dogs (public library) by legendary British artist and caricaturist Ralph Steadman, best-known for collaborating with Hunter S. Thompson? His signature inkblot drawings — funny, beautiful, mischievous — tuck into the otherwise playful compendium of canine portraits a few serious, if subtle, jabs at our traditional attitudes. Somewhere between Antisocial Blot Dog and Buddhist Dog Searching for Happiness, we find parts of ourselves and find, above all, the ability to both laugh at them and accept them for all their messy earnestness.

Steadman, as his fans might know, is actually a longtime dog-lover. In the introduction to this book, he writes that he hopes it would present modern readers with a discovery tool for his three previous, out-of-print (though still findable and find-worthy) pooch paeans: Dogs’ Bodies (1977), A Leg in the Wind and other Canine Curses (1982), and No Good Dogs.

The Ralph Steadman Book of Dogs is an absolute treat. Complement it with 80 years of canine-themed art from the New Yorker archives, then see Stefan G. Bucher’s wonderful, Steadman-inspired Daily Monster, which is now a make-your-own inkblot monster app.

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