Describing visual art in words

Cartoon about the problem of trying to describe visual art in words

Cartoon about the problem of trying to describe visual art in words.

A cartoon about the way that words obscure as much as enlighten.

Original version drawn: 2007
This version drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art006
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Christo obituary cartoon

Christo

Cartoon about the artist Christo

An obituary cartoon about Christo Javacheff, who died on 31st May 2020.
The cartoon shows a young Christo wrapping sweets.

The caption of the cartoon is : Famous Artists in Their Student Days: Christo’s Holiday Job
Drawn: 1st June 2020
Cartoon reference number: a779
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Remembrance bench cartoon

in memory of ... who loved this spot cartoon

Cartoon showing a bench with remembrance plate on it.

The plaque on the bench reads “In memory of Bob who loved this spot.”

The bench is situated in a landscape that is composed exclusively of dots.
The dots in the cartoon remind me of the art created by Yayoi Kusama.
Cartoon reference number: a774
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Taking photos in art galleries

Photography in art galleries cartoon

Cartoon about taking photos in art galleries

A cartoon showing the visitors to an art gallery all taking photographs of the art with their phones.

Original version drawn: 2018
This version drawn: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art003
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Salvador Dali surreal lobster telephone cartoon

Salvador Dali surreal lobster telephone cartoon

Surrealism cartoon – Salvador Dali lobster telephone and shrimp cell phone

Cartoon showing Salvador Dali’s surrealist telephone, along with a mobile phone that he may have imagined if they had existed then.

Original cartoon drawn: 2010
This version drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art013
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Profound art and banal art – cartoon

Profound art and banal art – cartoon

Profound art and banal art – cartoon

Cartoon showing a painting of a vase of flowers (banal art) and a painting of a vase of dead flowers (profound art).

The painting of the dead flowers is judged as being profound because it alludes to death.
Original cartoon drawn: 2010
This version drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art012
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Artist’s self-portrait cartoon

Artist's self-portrait cartoon

Artist’s self-portrait cartoon

Cartoon showing an artist’s final self-portrait.

The self-portrait is the artist’s cremated ashes.
Cartoon drawn: 2018
Cartoon reference number: art011
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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An artist’s vision cartoon

Artist painting the moon cartoon

Cartoon about artistic vision

A cartoon showing an artist creating a painting of something that is not actually visible with the unaided eye.

The cartoon shows one artist painting a landscape while another artist does a painting of the moon, which is a tiny detail in the landscape.
A cartoon about art, the moon, eyesight, vision, insight.
Original version drawn: 1998
This version drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art009
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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The etiquette of using a mobile phone in an art gallery

The etiquette of using a cell phone in an art gallery cartoon

A cartoon about the etiquette of using a cell phone in an art gallery.

The cartoon shows a visitor to an art gallery talking on a mobile phone in the gallery.

The cartoon is about the tensions that can occur in public spaces concerning the inconsiderate use of mobile phones, especially if the user speaks in a load voice and seems oblivious to their surroundings.
Art galleries are usually quiet spaces (although there are some schools of thought that think that they should be more lively (and therefore more accessible to people who feel intimidated by the reverence normally afforded to art).
The other visitors to the gallery are looking very disapproving.

Cartoon drawn: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art015
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Art as a bid for immortality

Art as a bid for immortality cartoon

A cartoon about creating art as a bid for immortality

The cartoon shows an artist working on a painting.
He is saying “While I’m alive I like to think of my work living on when I’m dead, but when I’m dead I probably won’t care one way or the other.”

The cartoon is about the way that people are often motivated in their lives to do things due to the awareness of their own mortality, and the paradox that once they have died they won’t care.
It is interesting to speculate on how much of human activity is motivated by this urge, and what position the human race would be in if we didn’t have the urge.

Cartoon drawn: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art014
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Art snob cartoon

Art snob cartoon

Cartoon showing an art snob looking in distain at some people he judges as less cultured.

A cartoon about elitism in the arts and the snobbery of artistic and aesthetic taste.

Drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art008
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Rodin thinker cartoon

Rodin Thinker cartoon

Cartoon about Rodin’s sculpture, the Thinker

A cartoon showing August Rodin at work on his sculpture, the Thinker, with the person who is modelling for the sculpture.

Rodin is asking the model “What do you think?”

Original version drawn: 2007
This version drawn: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art007
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Art gallery exhibit – cartoon – what is your greatest wish?

Audience participation art cartoon

Cartoon about art that asks people questions.

A cartoon about audience participation art installations.

The cartoon is set inside an art gallery, showing an installation in which the participant has to write down their greatest wish.
A cartoon about art predicting the future of society and the world and about the fulfilment of people’s desires and wishes.

Drawn: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art005
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Sponsorship in the arts cartoon

 Sponsorship, censorship and ethics in the arts cartoon

Cartoon about sponsorship in the arts

A cartoon about a possible conflict between sponsorship in the arts and censorship in the arts.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art010
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Gormley Angel of the North cartoon

Gormley Angel of the North cartoon

Cartoon of the Angel of the North by Antony Gormley

The Angel of the North with a propeller hat

Original version drawn: 2006
This version drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art001
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Christo and Jeanne-Claude cartoon

Christo artist cartoon

Cartoon about the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude

A cartoon about Christo Vladimirov Javacheff (1935–2020) and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon (1935–2009) whose signature works were of objects and buildings wrapped in fabric.

The caption of the cartoon is : “I once bought one of their works as a birthday present – and he unwrapped it.”
Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s most famous pieces are the wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin; Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Greater Miami, Florida, 1983; the Pont Neuf Wrapped in Paris, 1985; The Gates, Central Park, New York City, 2005; The Floating Piers, Lake Iseo, Italy, 2016; Mastaba, Hyde Park, London, 2018.

Original version drawn: 2007
This version drawn: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art030
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Book of ART CARTOONS

visual arts cartoon book humour humor jokes

New book of cartoons about visual art

Cartoons ranging from Vermeer to contemporary art

 
visual art cartoon book link

Published December 2019
Order it from your local bookshop or buy it through Amazon, such as:


 

A book of 114 full colour cartoons on the subject of the visual arts.
The cartoons in the book include several new versions of cartoons that are on this site along with many that have been created specially for the book.
The targets of the jokes range from artists themselves to the audiences in art galleries, and from art classes to art techniques.
There are jokes about specific artists – Picasso, Dali, Magritte, Mondrian, Vermeer.
There are jokes about the art market and about art criticism and art theory.

visual art cartoon book link

Banksy parody

banksy girl with balloon parody - value or price in art market

Banksy parody.

Girl with balloon

A parody of Banksy’s Girl with Balloon image, with the balloon replaced by a £ sign.

The image was inspired by the sale of the version of Banksy’s Girl with Balloon that shredded itself immediately after it was sold at Sotheby’s for a very large sum of money, thus increasing its value even more.
Was the work intended to be a protest at the nature of the contemporary art market? And was the fact that the piece immediately increased in value following its shredding part of Banksy’s plan, and a deliberate dig at the art market? Also, was the piece actually supposed to go all the way though the shredder and end up as a pile of spaghetti on the floor but for the fact that the shredder jammed?

Cartoon reference number: a766

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A common view of modern art – the Emperor’s New Clothes

emperor's new clothes modern art cartoon

Jokes about art gallery goers admiring blank canvases are a staple for cartoonists who want to satirise modern art.
Here’s one of my contributions (although I like this sort of art).

Interestingly, the abstract expressionist painter Ad Reinhardt, who painted canvases that were uniformly black, also worked as a cartoonist who satirised modern art.

Ref a748
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Student grievance cartoon

student protest cartoon

A cartoon about hypercritical student attitudes.

A cartoon about the trend for students’ grievances and dissatisfactions to be translated into action, such as in the form no platforming or the demands for statues of out-of-favour people to be removed.

The action is often seen by some as self righteous, self indulgent, censorious and intolerant (ironically, as the students often think that they are acting for the greater benefit of others).
The cartoon shows the danger of the students adopting a feeling of over entitlement and thus taking their attitudes out into the wider world beyond their colleges.
The inspiration for this image was a news story about students disapproving of a sculpture by Henry Moore, and demanding that it wasn’t displayed on their university campus.

Drawn: 2016

Cartoon reference: a734
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Mondrian cartoon

Cartoon - Mondrian art as street map to Mondrian museum

Mondrian cartoon.

A cartoon featuring a map showing the location of the Mondrian Museum. The map resembles a Mondrian painting.
A version of this cartoon featured in an exhibition of cartoons about art in the Chris Beetles Gallery, London, (Summer 2016).

Cartoon reference number: a075b

Gender stereotypes in art

feminist art cartoon - gender in art

Cartoon showing a controversial depiction of gender differences in contemporary art

Depiction of gender in modern art.
Sculpture titled “Man and Woman” where the woman is a washing-up brush and the man is a hammer.

The cartoon is an illustration of the staereotypical male and female gender roles, where men perform hard physical tasks and women perform ‘soft’ domestic chores such as washing up.
Part of the joke is that the male and female roles depicted in the sculpture are extremely conservative, so this particular work of contemporary art is controversial because of its conservatism rather than (more usually with contemporary art) because of radicalism.
Of course the art work may be a piece of feminist art which is ironically pointing out and questioning the standard gender roles in society.
The sculpture depicted owes something to Marcel Duchamp, Dada and the use of ‘ready-mades’ in works of art.
Cartoon reference number: a156b
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Sculpture and self portraiture cartoon – self portrait by an artist creating a self portrait of itself in infinite regression

Sculpture cartoon -  self portrait by artist creating infinite regression

Cartoon showing an artist creating a self portrait.
The self portrait looks exactly like the artist – right down to the pose.
The cartoon is partly about the self obsession of(some) artists and about the self-referencial nature of art and the introspection of artists.

Cartoon showing an artist producing a self portrait that looks exactly like him (including the pose).
The artist is a sculptor and he is carving a self portrait in stone.

The joke in the cartoon is that not only is the sculptor carving a statue, but the the sculpture (the self portrait) is also working on a self portrait too (that is just protruding into the righthand side of the cartoon).
It is a cartoon about infinite regression, where the artist is creating a self portrait that is creating a self portrait that is… and so on. Similar to a mirror reflecting a mirror that reflects the other mire that reflects the other mirror.

Cartoon reference number: a158
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Illustration about food obsession – Magritte cartoon

food obsession cartoon - Magritte pastiche

Cartoon about food obsession
Magritte pastiche cartoon

A cartoon about eating disorders or obsessive food disorders, drawn as an editorial illustration for an article about the subject in the Guardian newspaper
The cartoon is based on Rene Magritte’s painting of a person with an apple in front of his face
The beefburger in front of the woman’s face represents obsession with food

Notice that the hills in the background are in the form of food, and the clouds in the sky are in the form of loaves of bread – a reference to Magritte
The cartoon about surrealist art, surrealism, diets, dieting

Ref: a614

Cartoon about art and gender – sculpture depicting traditional gender roles of men and women

feminist art cartoon - gender in art

Cartoon showing a controversial depiction of men and women in contemporary art

Cartoon depiction of gender in modern art.
Sculpture titled “Man and Woman” where the woman is a washing-up brush and the man is a hammer.

The cartoon is an illustration of the standard’ male and female gender roles, where men perform hard physical tasks and women perform domestic chores such as washing up.
Part of the joke in the cartoon is that the concept of the male and female roles depicted in the sculpture are extremely conservative, so this particular work of art is controversial because of its conservatism rather than because of radicalism (which is the usual reason why modern art is controversial).
Of course the art work may be a piece of feminist art which is pointing out and questioning the standard gender roles in society. Feminism and art are meant to be the two themes of the cartoon.
I particularly like the fact that the hammer representing masculinity is hard while the washing-up brush representing femininity is soft. Very much caricatures or cliches of gender characteristics.
The sculpture depicted owes something to Marcel Duchamp, Dada and the use of ‘ready-mades’ in works of art.
Cartoon reference number: a156
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Andy Warhol cartoon. Campbell’s Soup tin cartoon

andy warhol cartoon - heinz or campbell's soup can

Modern art cartoon. Andy Warhol Campbells soup tin cartoon

Andy Warhol cartoon. Campbell’s Soup tin cartoon.

Cartoon of people looking at an Andy Warhol silkscreen print of a Campbells soup tin in an art gallery.
One person is saying that Andy warhol created a series of silkscreen prints of Heinz Tomato soup tins as well, but that Campbells bought the lot and they were never seem again.
Cartoon reference number: a134
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Museum and art gallery merchandising cartoon – fridge magnets of exhibits

museum merchandising cartoon - fridge magnets of artworks

Cartoon about art gallery and museum mechandising and funding.
Which works of art would look good on fridge magnets?

Cartoon showing artworks being considered for use in merchandising

Cartoon showing a meeting of staff responsible for acquiring artworks in an art gallery considering which works of art to buy, including evaluating the commercial, marketing and merchandising potential of the works of art under consideration.
The cartoon’s caption reads:
“It may indeed be a pivotially significant example of early 18th century Flemish art, but as head of merchandising I have to ask ‘What would it look like on a fridge magnet?’”
It is a cartoon about the commercialisation and commodification of artworks such as paintings and of museum artefacts. The cartoon illustrates the problem of funding art galleries and museums, and the increased reliance on museum gift shops and cafes.
Cartoon reference number: a152
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Cartoon: contemporary sculpture

Cartoon showing two sculptures in an art gallery. One called Freedom and the other is called Trapped

Cartoon of sculptures in an art gallery

One sculpture is called “Freedom” and shows a dancing person. The other is called “Trapped” and shows only arms and legs appearing out of a plinth, as though the figure is trapper inside the plinth

An illustration about contemporary sculpture

Ref art013x

Questioning modern art – cartoon

questioning contemporary art cartoon

Modern art cartoon – what is modern art about?

Questioning modern or contemporary art

In this cartoon about modern art or contemporary art a person in an art gallery is looking at a modern art painting of a question mark, and is wondering what the question mark means in the context of the artwork.

Ref: a663b

Abstract art cartoon

Kandinsky abstract art cartoon

Understanding abstract art

A cartoon showing people looking at one of the first abstract paintings and interpreting it by trying to see what it depicts.

The painting is based on a Kandinsky painting, often thought to be the earliest example of abstract art.
People instinctively interpret abstract shapes as representing real objects (such as in inkblot tests and clouds).

Ref: a641

Rene Magritte caricature

Caricature of Rene Magritte

Rene Magritte caricature based on The Son of Man (French: Le fils de l’homme)

A Magritte cartoon showing a man holding a mask in front of his face (based on Magritte’s image of a man with an apple in front of his face). The mask is a likeness of Rene Magritte himself.

An image about surrealist art, artists’ portraits, surealism, modern artists

Ref a613

Naum Gabo cartoon

naum gabo cartoon

Naum Gabo cartoon

Naum Gabo was a Russian born constructivist sculptor.

He developed a style of sculpture that involved stretching fine nylon filaments between flat planes to form three dimensional mesh effects – a technique which he called stringing.
Gabo’s family name was Pevsner. He changed his name so that he wouldn’t be confused with his brother, who also produced sculpture in the style of constructivism

Ref a618

Illustration: unlock your creativity: unlock your mind

Padlock as head - unlocking it releases the imagination

Bizarre cartoon featuring a padlock as a person’s head or an imaginary creature’s head
An illustration about unlocking creativity

A bizarre or surrealist image showing a person or imaginary creature with a head in the form of a padlock.
The person is holding a key and is saying “Unlock your imagination!”.

The illustration is about freeing the imagination or liberating the mind to be creative. It is an image to convey the link between creativity and thought processes

The cartoon has uses as an illustration in art education or in areas of philosophy or psychology.
For a less bizarre, more child-friendly version of the same concept click here

Ref a603
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