F is also for Friday: Roz Chast

univInGrainSand

the sound of gears turning

It is doubtful if anyone in the last three decades has more prolifically caricatured the odd and interestingly recognizable events of everyday life than Roz Chast. David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, does not hesitate in calling the 58 year-old cartoonist “The magazine’s only certifiable genius” and the evidence is easily found in the watercolour-washed and inked panels that have graced its pages for the last 30 years.

R.Chast_Stuff_A2Zwe are all guilty

The appeal in the shaky, quirky style lies in its urban icons – the message is not lost in any perfect graphic portrayal of the parts, we instantly recognize the whole whether it is a situation we have faced, something we may have seen or just random stuff and nonsense that flies out of left field. In a black and white framed snapshot of the absurd, multiple panels spread out over a few pages, a magazine cover, even a hooked rug or pysanka, most of Chast’s work is self-explanatory, readers either laugh or just don’t get it.

5-deconstructing-lunch

don’t even think about starting with dessert

Chast has admitted that she is an anxious person, sometimes suffering from insomnia but rather than letting this have a crippling effect, it informs her cartoons and books with all those bits that we hate, have phobias of, secretly know and hide or have thought about while tossing restlessly around in bed at 3 AM.  Like the best social commentary, she lays it out like a royal flush for all to see – these kinds of reflections on existence are far from pedestrian, Ms. Chast’s style creates a neutrality, a world where we are all a little off and most of the time just as strange as our neighbours.

41_1pick one – or add your custom card to the collection

Life, whether it is domestic, family or work, provides sufficient material for Ms. Chast and more than enough to fill the pages of over a dozen books: one can lose many hours glued to the pages of the Theories of Everything: Selected Collected and Health-Inspected Cartoons, a compilation of the cartoons published in The New Yorker, Scientific American and the Harvard Business Review.

chast_theories_04

this is the aftermath of a bad mom

This cartoonist’s perspective is as genuine as the characters portrayed in her work – the typical glossy “author photo” on the dustcover would seem inappropriate and so a cartoon of a woman much like Roz herself smiles quizzically back at us.

We find ourselves in Roz Chast’s cartoons for we are her “everyman”.

Read more on:

Roz Chast
Roz Chast at the Julie Saul Gallery
Roz Chast appreciates Art

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