Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Graphic Passions: RIP Ronald Searle 1920-2011

For a girl like I... and of my particular generation... Ronald Searle was an all pervading influence on humour and drawing style.. And to all those younger things out there...which includes just about everybody... maybe you don't realise how far Searle's "Style and Zeitgeist" reached. I think that Searle fed into Scarfe, John Lennon, maybe into Monty Python even. In Britain, there was a generation who came through after WWII to create a surreal world of humour that fed the following generation (Think "The Goon Show" with Sellers, Milligan, Bentine, Secombe.. the wonderful Gerard Hoffnung with his own cartoons and anarchic music festival. Rowland Emett and his crazy kinetic sculptures.) A lot of this stuff caught fire and led into the anarchy and satire of 1960s humour, which has maybe blasted it's 1950s parent generation out of the fame it deserves.

Searle was a serious artist whose recording of his own experiences in a Japanese POW camp led to the doubtless forbidden act of drawing. That's just how necessary drawing was for Searle. But today everyone thinks of Searle and St Trinian's... (And I really could not begin to cope with the 2007 film of St Trinian's.... It's the 1950s you see, you just had to be there.) I was brought up with his boys' skool equivalent, St. Custard's - a collaboration with Geoffrey Willans. As I peer into my copy of "Down with Skool", I realise how much of everything I laughed at as a skool-girl was down to Searle and his generation of artists: my own doodles.. the line... the characters that look out from the page at you....

There's a Ronald Searle Tribute site here. Click through and acquaint yourself with more of Searle's work. His really was a great contribution to cartoons, drawing and illustration.

No comments: