Those of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook will have noticed that I’ve been on a cartoon kick of late. What sparked that, you ask? Well, for the last several months and especially since I started to begin most of my portrait paintings with what basically amounts to caricature, I’ve been doing cartoon paintings anyway. And even before that with my George Condo inspired “artifical realism” aka “psychological cubism” paintings things were already pretty damned cartoony, if I say so myself. So it just seemed logical to paint famous cartoon characters.

The one thing I try not to do is to directly copy Condo. I’m inspired by his work, but I don’t want to duplicate it. Side note: it might not be a terrible idea to copy one of his works some day. It’s a thing artists do to get better, but not something I’ve ever really done. But I digress. Anyway, I might have hesitated to go forward with this idea because Condo has also done paintings of famous cartoon characters. And they’re great, but they tend to be different from his usual work, whereas I’m doing this as an extension of what I’ve been doing for nearly two years now. Maybe I should call it Psychological Cartoonism?

Another reason I’m doing this is, that it’s just been a nice break from doing portraits of famous live action characters etc. It frees me from using reference while rendering the paintings which is very good practice, though I should mention that I was already doing that with my own characters and occasionally with the aforementioned live-action characters. And I do think I’m getting better at doing it. If I’m honest, it wasn’t that long ago that I was downright terrible at it. Practice works! Who woulda thunk it?

So how long before I go back to live-action humans? Well, every now and then until he sadly passed away earlier this year, I would run into one of my former professors Cliff Eyland as he lived close by. He’d always be curious to know what I was up to so I’d tell him and he’d usually say something like “that sounds great, do twenty.” Cliff’s advice is a good enough reason to shoot for that number. Plus if I do that I’ll have a little show of these paintings.

Four of my latest cartoon character paintings. All oil on canvas, all 2020.

So of course doing these paintings has gotten me thinking about all the cartoon shows I’ve watched over the years. The Simpsons, South Park, King of the Hill, Bojack Horseman, F is For Family, Family Guy  (there are probably more, and I’m not including really old ones for blog purposes). Here’s a weird tidbit of info about me: there is one thing all of these shows have in in common and that is, I didn’t like any of them at first. I had to go back to them and give them a second or even a third look. With each of those shows, I’m glad I did and for each one there is a different story as to why.

I still think that Simpsons wasn’t that funny until they made Homer the main source of the humour. I may have started around season  two. Maybe it was three. I don’t remember. I watched a few episodes of Bojack Horseman and gave up on it. One day I went back to it and I was hooked. It’s a fantastic character study of a very broken person–er–horseperson. As for King of the Hill, I never watched Beavis and Butthead because I figured it was not my kind of thing. It took me a while to realize that King of the Hill is my kind of thing! And the weirdest one is F is For Family. That one is on Netflix and you should check it out if you haven’t. My history with it is really weird though in that I watched two seasons of it even though I didn’t like it. I persisted and  realized that it’s excellent. Some people might not like the vulgarity (I love it!) but the show really has a lot of heart. Anyway why am I talking about BoJack and F is for Family? I haven’t done paintings of either of them. Should I? Let me know in the comments–er–never mind. Damn you Artmoi!