By Martha Fay
Everyone is aware a Feiffer representation after they see one: His characters jump around the web page, each one line belying humor and mental perception. Over Feiffer's prolific 70-year profession, his nimble and singular mind's eye has given us new views in addition to biting satires on politics, love, marriage, and religion�alternating with tales imbued with the playful anarchy of a kid. Feiffer's diverse output comprises kid's books (The Phantom Tollbooth and Bark, George), performs (Little Murders), videos (Carnal Knowledge and Popeye), and comedian strips (most significantly in his Pulitzer Prize�winning Village Voice caricature of forty two years). Out of Line: The paintings of Jules Feiffer is the long-awaited illustrated retrospective of Feiffer's celebrated occupation, supplying a revealing glimpse into his artistic method and his position as America's most suitable Renaissance guy of the humanities.
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Additional info for Out of Line: The Art of Jules Feiffer
Clifford has aspirations—there’s a Yale pennant hanging in his bedroom—a Brillo pad topknot for hair, and a leftward sway to his hips that eerily anticipates the cantilevered posture of the adult Feiffer. The drawing is primitive but engaging: There are wonderful images of contestants blowing fantastic bubbles—question mark–shaped, people-shaped, square-shaped—and a surreal ending, as Clifford blows a moon-size bubble that floats him high into the sky. In the weekly incarnation of the strip, which began July 10, 1949, Clifford grows steadily less geekish and more conventionally appealing, until he looks like a sketch for one of the characters in Charles M.
1953–54. There’s an intriguing logic to Feiffer’s late-in-the-game decision, sometime in the early 1990s, to make writing and illustrating children’s books the primary focus of his creative energies. For decades, the drawings he had done on a lark for Norton Juster’s uproarious fantasy for children, The Phantom Tollbooth (1961), had stood apart from his work as a one-off excursion into a specialized realm he had long ago ceded to his friend Maurice Sendak. Yet during all those years, childhood kept coming up as a theme and even obsession in Feiffer’s cartooning, most often for the purpose of exposing the adult world’s fears of people more open-minded than themselves, and the cruel and duplicitous behavior toward the powerless young that frequently followed as a consequence.
I was hopeless at vehicles of any kind. ” Although he had taken a painting class at James Monroe, painting never really interested him. Neither did printing, graphics, or lithography, all of which he studied in school. “It was always words and pictures. ” A year or two before Feiffer turned up at Eisner’s studio, while he was still in high school, he had taken a drawing class at the Art Students League in Manhattan, at his mother’s suggestion. “I was maybe the youngest person there. I took an anatomy class in one of those big dirty rooms.