Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Ink-Slinger Profiles: George Clark
In the 1920 census, he lived on a farm in Osage, Arkansas. His step-father was Robert Cook, a farmer. Clark's art training included the Landon Course. An advertisement in Boy's Life, November 1920, touted Clark's work for the Oklahoma City Times.
…George Clark's drawing began early. He got first hand experience with a paint brush at the age of 10. His father had died the year before, and to help the family he joined a 15-year-old entrepreneur of Bentonville in a painting business—mostly signs, but they would paint anything, from a building to a farm wagon.
The Rogers Historical Museum's History of Benton County profiled Clark and said:
George Clark went to high school in Oklahoma City and then attended various art schools, with the majority of his training done at the Chicago Art Institute. When he was 16 he started work as a cartoonist with the Daily Oklahoman, drawing political and sports cartoons. A stint as head artist at the Cleveland Press followed. In Cleveland he took long walks on his lunch hour sketching lakefront scenery. According to his grandson, “his drawing continued long into the night, with his wife a willing model for his pen and pencil.”
The 1930 census recorded the couple in Yonkers, New York at 808 Bronx River Road. He was an artist. He joined the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate in 1939 and the name of the panel was changed to The Neighbors. The NEA continued Side Glances with William Galbraith Crawford. On creating his cartoons, the Meriden Record said:
...He loves his work, but getting started is torture.
He dawdles and smokes, he rummages thru sketches or clippings. Or he may turn on his projector and display on the wall some candid camera shots he has taken of unsuspecting men, women, and children watching parades or baseball games, or just walking down the street. At last he begins to draw.
"The first one takes forever," said George Clark, the pipe-smoking creator of "The Neighbors." "Then it's easy. I do six at a time, one week's supply."
That the daily portrayals of the foibles of homo Americanus and his wife, children, and friends do not spring without travail from the brow of their creator may surprise some of his millions of readers. Clark is one of America's most popular cartoonists because he seems to point up gently, but unerringly the humorous, pathetic, whimsical human weaknesses that everyone recognizes in himself and his friends.
"There is a certain idealization in my work," he said as he sank into a worn leather chair and put a match to his pipe. "I present what everybody wishes our civilization were like. My work ends before I get to the objectionable qualities in people…."
"...I have to draw genuine people, doing things within the realm of reason," he said. "On my word I can't draw a figure that satisfies me unless I know a situation. For instance, if I just sit down here and draw a boy—it doesn't ring true. But if I see this boy as a kid who's in a jam with his old man—now there's something I can handle. A drawing is feeling rather than conscious thought."
He received the National Cartoonists Society's Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award for his work in 1961. Clark passed away May 25, 1981 and was buried in Saint Charles Cemetery on Long Island, New York, according to the Rogers Historical Museum. He should not be confused with George Clarke who scripted The G-Man and G-Boys, and the artist George Fletcher Clark, whom AskArt.com mistakenly attached "The Neighbors" original art to.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles