The cartoon awards season results can be found at my colleague Morten’s blog – and congratulations are due him, Dave Brown, Steve Bell and Martin Rowson. The event speech was given by former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer Ken (Kenneth) Clarke. He made a good speech, as you might expect from a professional speech maker, but he also said at least one incredibly silly thing. I paraphrase him here, but the gist of it was, who’d want to look at cartoons on the internet?
Sketchbook caricature of Ken (Kenneth) Clarke – Conservative MP – and guest at the Political Cartoon Awards
I understand why he did this, to connect precisely with what he judged to be his audience, largely middle class, middle-aged, or, elderly and largely suspicious of technology. It worked for him, he got a laugh.
But this, to me, is a classic piece of ostrich-ism and is pointlessly damaging to those of us who have to go out and make a living as professional commercial artists, today, in the ugly here and now. One of my colleagues told me not to get cross about it, to which I can only say bollocks, if we can’t be bothered about how we are going to make a living through our skill at drawing then we won’t survive as a form of either art or journalism.
Clarke’s joke smacks of ‘if I don’t look I won’t have to see what is changing around me.’ This is probably because he (and many others) do not understand the digital world and have no interest in learning about it. I thought this was a sad and silly attitude to perpetuate among other people who love cartoons and drawing as a useful form of human communication.
The digital world may not be easy to understand but it offers opportunity to commercial artists in a way that the old print world, and its surviving fans, would be daft to ignore.