Art Works Blog

Drawing Ideas with Roz Chast

Roz Chast has been making America laugh out loud since 1978 when she began drawing for The New Yorker. In her cartoons, illustrated books, and graphic memoirs (her latest, Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York, comes out October 3), she deftly chronicles the oddball nature of being alive in a universe overflowing with strange human beings behaving strangely (and also normally, whatever that is). Her work runs the gamut from poking fun at the madcap among us to darkly hilarious renderings of tombstones, weird signage, turns of phrase, widgets, and life at home and on the city streets. You name the thing and Chast has likely skewered it. Again and again, she trains her sharp, self-aware eye on the absurd and the ridiculous, but with that comes an empathy for a topsy-turvy, hysterical, awkward, and (at times) unpleasant world. Her words and images have the ability to reflect back a society that often makes little sense. At the same time, her cartoons document and celebrate people doing ordinary things, which in her hands become extraordinary miniature portraits of the mundane.

In this audio piece, among other things, we learn how she joined The New Yorker’s staff and how her illustrations are infused with a particular kind of anxiety. Additionally, visit the NEA Facebook page to see a few choice cartoons by Chast as she discusses them. You'll get to "Meet Mr. Twitters," "Donna and the Disasterettes," and learn about her very first and very strange New Yorker cartoon, which was controversial in the late 1970s. Oh, and she really, really likes drawing robots. 

Here are some examples of her doing what she does best and her design of the 2017 Library of Congress National Book Festival poster. The festival is September 2 in Washington, DC at the Convention Center. To learn about the NEA's amazing Poetry and Prose stage, go here

NBFposter

Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

familyeatingandsayingrationalthings

Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, & Health-Inspected, 1978-2006. Copyright 2006 Roz Chast. Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury.

womanmakesweirdcasserole

Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, & Health-Inspected, 1978-2006. Copyright 2006 Roz Chast. Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury.

tombstonewithnoteabouteatingtoomuchkale_cartoonbyrozchast

from The New Yorker. Copyright Roz Chast. 

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Submitted by john (not verified) on

great

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