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 targets of the cartoons range from artists themselves to the audiences in art galleries, and from art classes to art techniques.
There are jokes about specific artists such as Picasso, Dali, Magritte, Mondrian and Vermeer and there are jokes about the art market and about art criticism and art theory.

visual art cartoon book link

Banksy cartoon – Monet waterlilies

Banksy cartoon Monet

Banksy cartoon – Show me the Monet.

A cartoon about the sale of a Banksy parody of Monet’s waterlily pond and bridge at Givency with rubbish dumped in the pond.

The work was sold at Sotherby’s for £7.5million.
Drawn: 22nd October 2020
Cartoon reference number: a858

Philip Guston kkk controversy – art gallery self-censorship cartoon

Guston kkk censorship controversy cartoon

Philip Guston kkk paintings in gallery self-censorship controversy.

The cartoon depicts Guston’s Klansman paintings being removed from an exhibition.

A cartoon about the controversy over the proposed postponement of a Philip Guston exhibition containing some of his Ku Klux Klan paintings. The exhibition was set to be staged in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Tate Modern in London, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
The decision to postpone the exhibition due to the current social climate is interpreted by some as being an act of self-censorship.
Drawn: 4th October 2020
Cartoon reference number: a856

Cartoon – what art is offensive?

Offensive art cartoon

To what extent should art galleries reflect contemporary concerns?

A cartoon about changing the exhibits in art galleries and museums to reflect contemporary society and to avoid offence.

It’s quite common in art galleries that exhibit contemporary art for the art to reflect contemporary concerns (or at least the contemporary concerns that concern the art world).
This cartoon shows a historical artwork being judged by contemporary mores (or rather, the mores of a particular sector of society that embraces ‘woke’ values).
Drawn: August 2020
Cartoon reference number: a841

Christo cartoon

Christo

Cartoon about the artist Christo

A cartoon about contemporary artist Christo Javacheff, who died on 31st May 2020.
The cartoon shows a young Christo wrapping sweets.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude (his wife and collaborator) were famous for art installations that involved wrapping things up – usually buildings.

The caption of the cartoon is : Famous Artists in Their Student Days: Christo’s Holiday Job
This version of the cartoon was drawn at the time of Christo’s death. The original version was drawn about twenty years before.
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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Where do artists get their ideas from?

Where do artists get their ideas from?

Contemporary art concepts cartoon.

A cartoon about a website from which contemporary artists can download concepts for their artworks.
The artwork in the cartoon is a piece of performance art, in which the artist covers himself or herself with ticks which then suck the artists blood – as a metaphor for the exploitative workings of capitalism.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art108

See my book of cartoons about art here.

But is it art? Cartoon

But is it art cartoon

But is it art?

The cartoon about the cliché phrase ‘But is it art?’
The cartoon’s use of the cliché is itself is a cliché, so it’s a cliché about a cliché.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art106
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.

Trompe l’oeil cartoon

Trompe l'oeil cartoon

Trompe l’oeil cartoon

The cartoon shows an artist painting the walls of his studio so that the window looks like a painting on a canvas.
Part of the joke is that as a result, the only ‘real’ thing in the cartoon is the one thing that is meant to look like a painting.
A cartoon about trompe-l’œil and optical illusions, referencing works such as Rene Magritte’s The Human Condition (La condition humaine).

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art105
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.

Andy Warhol cartoon

Andy Warhol cartoon soup tins

Andy Warhol cartoon – Campbell’s soup

A cartoon showing one of Anndy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup silkscreen prints.
A viewer is saying that it was rumoured that Warhol had produced a series of Heinz soup tins too but that Campbell’s had bought them all up and they were never seen again.

Original version drawn: 2006
This version drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art103
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.

Conceptual art cartoon

Conceptual art cartoon

Conceptual art cartoon – unopened tubes of oil paint.

A tutor, lecturer or gallery guide showing a group of people an artwork in an art gallery.
The work is composed of a box of unopened tubes of paint.
The artist’s concept for the artwork is that the tubes embody the potential for art.
Following a comment by a member of the group the lecturer comments that great art has multiple resolutions. This may be true or it may be a cop out – multiple resolutions in themselves.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art102
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.

Sculpture cartoon

Sculpture cartoon – the human condition

Sculpture cartoon.

Two sculptures of human forms in an art gallery.
One is titled Freedom, the other Trapped.
The Freedom sculpture is of a person in a flight-like dance pose on top of a plinth.
The Trapped sculpture is of a person embedded or enprisoned in the plinth itself.
A cartoon about art about the human condition.

Original version drawn: 2006
This version drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art101
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.

Finding meaning in art – cartoon

Finding meaning in art – cartoon

The search for meaning – cartoon.

This cartoon is superficially about finding meaning in art, but it is in fact about deeper issues of the search for meaning in life in general.
People are psychologically geared to seek meaning, purpose and agency in things, including phenomena that may lack all of these qualities. Some aspects of religion are obvious manifestations of this.
The artist in the cartoon is saying ‘My work is about the way that the human mind seeks meaning in the meaningless’.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art112

See my book of art cartoons here.

An artist’s low income – cartoon

A poverty stricken artist – cartoon

A poverty stricken artist – cartoon.

A cartoon about the very low income that many artists earn.
Many artists struggle to earn a living from their art.
Becoming an artist is not a good way to become rich (despite the obvious inflated incomes of the superstars of the art world).
The artist in the cartoon at least seems to have an agent or a gallerist who is interested in his work (still no guarantee of a good livelihood though!)

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art111

This cartoon is in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.

Magritte pastiche cartoon

Magritte pastiche cartoon

Magritte: pastiche of The Treachery of Images.

A cartoon showing a Samsung mobile phone in the style of a Magritte painting, with the words ‘This is not an apple’ written under it. The phone is not an Apple iPhone.
The cartoon is a pastiche of Magritte’s painting The Treachery of Images (La Trahison des images), which is a painting of a pipe with the words ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’ (This is not a pipe) written below it.

Original cartoon drawn: 2013
This version drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art110

This cartoon is in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.

Health and safety in the creative arts – cartoon

Health and safety in the creative arts cartoon

Health and safety in the creative arts cartoon.

A cartoon showing a sculptor (in classical Greece?) at the top of a very precarious ladder carving a gigantic sculpture from a block of stone.
An official from Health and Safety wants a word with him about his working practice.
Health and safety is of course an issue in the creative arts, with issues such as the use of dangerous equipment (such as long ladders, sharp chisels etc) and toxic materials (such as some paints, glues and other chemicals).

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art109

See my book of cartoons about art here.

Cartoon – can art be too pleasant to be any good?

Art that is too pleasant to be good – cartoon

Is aesthetically pleasing art too superficial?.

A cartoon showing someone being critical of a piece of artwork that he finds ‘too pleasant to be of any great merit’.
This cartoon could be about snobbery and elitism in the art world.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art100
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
How to search for cartoons by subject

Cartoon – contemporary art with a message

Art with a political message – cartoon

Art with an obscure message.

A cartoon about art that tackles issues and asks questions, but that does so in such oblique ways that the ‘meaning’ of the art is too obscure for the audience to appreciate or understand unless they are highly informed.
I drew this cartoon while thinking about political art. Political art can sometimes be quite obviously didactic with an element of agitprop or propaganda, which some may argue makes it superficial. At the other end of the spectrum it can be so obscure that its meaning is only apparent to the initiated.
The man in this cartoon is either initiated or is posturing in order to impress his companion. I suspect the latter.

Cartoon drawn: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art098
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
How to search for cartoons by subject

Cartoon – art that eats people

Art that eats people cartoon

Art that eats people.

A cartoon showing an artwork in an art gallery in the form of a human hand that is positioned on the gallery floor so that it gives the appearance of belonging to a person who has sunk into the floor.
An observer of the artwork wants a closer view, so he decides to step across the line on the floor that separates the public from the art.
As a result he sinks into the ground and becomes part of the artwork.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art094
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
How to search for cartoons by subject

Contemporary still life painting cartoon

Contemporary still life painting cartoon

Contemporary still life painting of take-away food.

The cartoon shows an oil painting in the still life tradition, showing an arrangement of food on a table.
Unlike traditional still life paintings however, the food is modern convenience or take-away food.
As with traditional still life the painting is obviously very well painted, as the man is commenting on the equisite rendering in paint of the texture of the packaging.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art093
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
How to search for cartoons by subject

Abject art cartoon – art relating to bodily functions

Abject art cartoon  – art relating to bodily functions

Artistic validity within the zeitgeist

A cartoon on the subject of abject art – contemporary art that has a repulsive or revolting quality and that focuses on unappealing aspects of the human body and bodily functions.

In the cartoon an artist has used a toilet roll for drawing or painting on. A visitor to the gallery is wondering what the brown medium is that he painted with.
The cartoon implies that it is human excrement or faeces, which is a typical trope of abject art.
Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art097
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
How to search for cartoons by subject

The art of sculpture – cartoon

Sculpture already in the stone cartoon

The sculpture is already in the stone, trapped.

A cartoon about the concept sometimes voiced by sculptors, that when they are working with a block of stone or wood the sculpture is already inside the block, and it’s the sculptor’s task to release it.
In the cartoon the sculptor is working on a huge block of stone, maybe marble or granite, which he gradually chips away to reveal the sculpture that is trapped inside it.
The sculpture turns out to be a very small work.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art091
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
How to search for cartoons by subject

Art education cartoon

Art education cartoon

Artistic validity within the zeitgeist

The cartoon shows an art college student creating an artwork.
The tutor is criticising the work because the student is artistically independent minded and the art she is creating doesn’t adhere to the artistic principles that he or the college believe in.
He is saying “You can’t just go off on some crazy idea of your own.”
It is a cartoon about the fact that the wrong art education can stifle a person’s artistic vision rather than expand and encourage it. It is about the role of art educators.
You may notice that the art that the student is creating is in a style that is currently seen in contemporary art galleries. This means that either the cartoon is set in the past before this type of art was adopted (and thus the student was very much justified in going off in her own direction) or the art college is a bit more conservative than it thinks it is.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art096
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
How to search for cartoons by subject

Gimmickry in contemporary art – cartoon

Gimmickry in contemporary art cartoon

A scratch and sniff artwork – gimmickry in art.

The cartoon shows a contemporary art exhibit in an art gallery.
The exhibit is a scratch and sniff piece, meaning that if the viewer scratches it it will release an odour.
The artwork looks a bit suspect to me, so I’m not sure I’d want to smell it.
Pieces of artwork that utilise scratch and sniff technology can be fun, but in the example in this cartoon I suspect that it’s just pretentious gimmickry (as does the person in the cartoon).

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art090
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
How to search for cartoons by subject

Cartoon – so many paintings to do before I die

Art and death cartoon

Time is the enemy of the artist (and of everyone else too).

An elderly artist working frantically to get all of his ideas down on canvas before he dies.
A cartoon about art and mortality, death and the restlessness of the creative mind.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art089
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
How to search for cartoons by subject

Distracting video art soundtracks in art galleries – cartoon

Distracting soundtracks in art galleries cartoon

The distracting soundtracks of video art in art galleries.

This cartoon is about the annoyance caused by the soundtracks of video art and moving image art in art galleries.
Some gallery goers like the noise level in art galleries to be kept to an absolute minimum, the better to concentrate on the art.
I’m not quite sure why curators allow soundtracks to intrude into this space. Perhaps they think that it makes the gallery space more lively and dynamic and less intimidating.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art088
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
How to search for cartoons by subject

Unusual art techniques cartoon – smoke sculpture

Unusual art techniques cartoon

An unusual art technique – sculpting with smoke.

The cartoon shows an artist manipulating two hand fans to nudge the smoke from a candle into different sculptural shapes.
Smoke sculpture of this type are normally very transitory and ephemeral, however the artist has got a few glass display domes that he can keep the smoke sculptures in so that they aren’t destroyed by draughts.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art087
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
How to search for cartoons by subject

Contemporary art gallery cartoon

Contemporary art gallery cartoon

Gallery goers mistaking a slaughterhouse for a contemporary art gallery.

The cartoon depicts two visitors to an art gallery admiring an artwork composed of animal carcasses hanging from hooks.
The truth is though, they aren’t in an art gallery at all – they are in a real slaughterhouse next door to an art gallery.

Original version drawn: 2012
This version drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art086
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
How to search for cartoons by subject

Conformity in art – cartoon

Conformity on art cartoon

Conforming to an art movement.

A cartoon about the observation that avant garde or radical art movements can, by definition, be very narrow and restrictive in their own ways.

First version drawn: 2011
This version: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art085
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
How to search for cartoons by subject

Feminist art cartoon

Feminist art cartoon

Feminist art cartoon

An art installation in an art gallery, consisting of a washing line with souvenir tea towels from art gallery gift shops hanging from it.
The tea towels are of famous artworks, all by male artists.
A cartoon about the dominance of men in the art world (and by extension in a few other places).

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art084
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
How to search for cartoons by subject

Contemporary art cartoon – a builders’ skip full of traditional paintings

Contemporary art cartoon – a builders' skip full of traditional paintings

Contemporary art cartoon – a builders’ skip full of traditional paintings

A builders’ skip in an art gallery, full of traditional oil paintings as though they are being thrown away as part of a gallery refurbishment.
The skip is in fact an artist’s installation or sculpture. I hope.
The cartoon could be about art galleries trying to modernise and rebrand in order to attract a new generation of visitors.
Or it could be about the current (2020) trend for some traditional art to be judged incompatible with modern values as part of the debate about being woke.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art083
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Contemporary art cartoon – self portrait

Contemporary art cartoon – self portrait

All art is a form of self portraiture

A cartoon about the idea that all art reveals something about the artist, therefore all art is a form of self portrait.
Part of the humour behind the cartoon is that the artist is trying to be clever by displaying a kitchen tap as a self portrait, while the woman looking at the work (who is meant to look like a normal member of the public rather than an initiate into the rarified thinking behind some contemporary art) is one step ahead of the artist in her analysis.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art082
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Repulsion in contemporary art – abject art cartoon

Contemporary art repulsive materials cartoon

The use of repulsive materials in contemporary art (sometimes known as abject art).

The conflict between the urge to be a creative artist and domestic duties.

In the cartoon an elderly woman at an art evening class is creating a sculpture of a cat out of paper mâché. This is very much a cliché or trope about art evening classes.
The tutor is suggesting that she uses other materials to create her model, perhaps spittle and pig’s offal.
This is a comment on a tendency for some practitioners of contemporary art to use viscerally revolting materials in their art.

First version drawn: 2012
This version: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art069
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Masculinity and modern sculpture cartoon

Modern sculpture cartoon with testosterone

Masculinity in modern sculpture cartoon

A cartoon about modernist sculpture that displays a noticeable masculine bent.
Typical of this type of sculpture is hard-edged welded steel sculpture, as shown in the cartoon.
As is figurative sculpture featuring thrusting muscular males of course.
Sculptures that are a bit on the large size may fit the bill too.
The label on the sculpture in the cartoon informs us that the sculpture is composed of steel, granite and testosterone.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art081
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Munch Scream cartoon and Instagram-friendly art exhibitions

Munch Scream cartoon

Munch cartoon – the Scream

A cartoon featuring the Scream by Edvard Munch.
The cartoon is a comment on the way that art galleries and museums are becoming more accessible to the general public and are moving away from their aura of slightly intimidating elitism.
It is also about the way that art galleries and museums are deliberately targeting themselves at the Instagram generation, often arranging their works so that they are Instagram friendly and encouraging visitors to take photographs (which was very much frowned on in the past).
Here the art gallery has set up an interactive or audience participation display featuring a large-scale version of the Scream with a hole in it so that people can photograph each other as the person in the painting. Obviously the people will all have great fun pulling funny faces, often parodying or mimicking the facial expression in the Scream. Part of the joke in the cartoon is that the person being photographed has been asked the common request by the photographer to smile.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art080
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
How to search for cartoons by subject

An artist on the psychiatrist’s couch – cartoon about artistic temperament

Cartoon about artistic temperament

An artist on a psychiatrist’s couch

A cartoon about artistic temperament and the personality traits of artists.
The cartoon suggests that there’s an assumption that most ‘great’ artists have particular personality traits that set them apart from the general population. These traits or personality types can include neurosis or psychosis, as well as traits such as egotism, self-importance and vanity.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art079
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Contemporary art cartoon – judging meaning and quality

Contemporary art cartoon – meaning and quality

Contemporary art – is meaning more important than quality?

A cartoon concerned with judging modern art or contemporary art by its meaning and by its quality.
Because modern and contemporary art often have a cerebral dimension they are often judged by this metric rather than that of aesthetic quality or the quality of execution.

Cartoon drawn: 2019
Cartoon reference number: art078
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Picasso cartoon

Picasso cartoon

Picasso painting a portrait.

The cartoon shows Picasso at work on an oil painting of a woman.
The painting is in one of Picasso’s most recognisable styles, in which the features of the person are very distorted.
Picasso is saying “This painting will make you so famous that you won’t be able to walk down the street without being recognised.”

First version drawn: 2007
This version: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art071
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Graffiti on a statue – cartoon

Graffiti on a statue cartoon

Graffiti on a statue cartoon.

The cartoon shows a row of classical style statues in a park or garden of a stately home.
The plinth of one of the statues has got some graffiti scrawled on it.
A man observing the graffiti is saying “Look – this one’s signed.”

Original version drawn: 2016
This version: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art077
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
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Cartoon of a gathering at an art gallery private view

Art world posers cartoon

A gathering at an art gallery private view.

The cartoon shows a gathering of art world insiders attending the private view of an exhibition in an art gallery.
The people at the private view are all obviously part of a clique, and judging by their ostentatious and pretentious appearance and manner can possibly hold themselves open to the accusation of being posers.

Cartoon drawn: 2019

Cartoon reference number: art076
This cartoon features in my book of cartoons about art.
See the book here.
How to search for cartoons by subject