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Artists’ Mothers by Alex Rocky Ferrer

Artists’ Mothers by Alex Rocky Ferrer

 

 

Shortly after Labor Day in 1970, I moved to Provincetown, Massachusetts on the northern tip of Cape Cod, the first North American landing place of the Pilgrims (1620), in search of beauty, solitude, and a cheap place to live while I figured out my life as an artist making large-scale abstract paintings.  I was so uninformed, that I didn’t know that the Outer Cape Cod towns of Provincetown, Truro, and Wellfleet comprised a famous productive art colony, where artists and writers such as Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline, Hans Hofmann, Red Grooms, Andy Warhol, Norman Mailer, Eugene O’Neill, Mary McCarthy, Edmund Wilson, John Dos Passos, Mary Oliver, Stanley Kunitz, John Waters, and Tennessee Williams spent their wonder years.

I also didn’t know that the Outer Cape attracted major cartoonists like Al Jaffee (who invented “The Fold-in” for MAD magazine); New Yorker cartoonists Mischa Richter and William Steig; Lee Falk (who invented Mandrake the Magician and The Phantom); Jerry Robinson (who invented The Joker for Batman), and syndicated cartoonist Howie Schneider.

I met all of the above cartoonists when I was in my 20s, and became friends with all of them.  Because I was also friends with a number of Outer Cape denizens who wrote for The New Yorker magazine on a regular basis, I soon acquired a lifetime subscription, and became a great admirer of how The New Yorker uses cartoons.

I exhibited in the Provincetown Group Gallery alongside Mischa Richter, one of The New Yorker’s greatest cartoonist and also an excellent painter. When I once compared Richter’s elegant line in his cartoons to his use of line in his paintings, he indignantly responded that Honoré Daumier was known primarily as a cartoonist during his lifetime and was not as highly regarded for his paintings as he is today.

In 1985, I co-founded Provincetown Arts magazine, and during my tenure at the helm we published a cartoon in every issue or a story about a cartoonist.

So when I founded the Inspicio arts publication platform in 2015, I was eager to include a section of the e-Magazine called “The Last Laugh,” which is dedicated to cartoons.

Dedicating a section of Inspicio to cartoons is a lot easier than finding high-quality, contemporary, Miami-based cartoonists to fill the space.  Fortunately, I was introduced to Gretchen Scharnagl, who was teaching a course at Florida International University involving cartooning.  And Gretchen introduced me to Alex Rocky Ferrer, a talented student at the time, who has since then appeared in the last three editions of the Inspicio e-Magazine.

Ferrer was born in Miami, Florida.  At a very young age he developed a love for cartoons and has been obsessed with drawing cartoons ever since.  He has designed t-shirts for Disney/Pixar and for Marvel.  He is the creator of the comic strips, My Cousin Tony and Funny Socks, which were both published in FIU’s newspaper, The Beacon.  He is also the creator of the weekly web comic Loocami, on Instagram.  He is currently working on a creator-owned series, soon to be published.  See:  alexrockyferrer.com.

 

Many moons ago, I saw a greeting card title “Jackson Pollock’s Mother,” which depicted a little Jackson in the kitchen, looking up at his mother, whose apron was splattered with spaghetti sauce and other culinary colors.  So I asked Ferrer if he could imagine the mothers of other notable artists.