Belfast Telegraph

Cartoonist Gerald Scarfe ‘almost embarrassed’ at exhibitions of his work

The illustrator is known for his satirical drawings.

Cartoonist Gerald Scarfe (Carl Court/PA)
Cartoonist Gerald Scarfe (Carl Court/PA)

By Julia Hunt, PA Entertainment Correspondent

Cartoonist Gerald Scarfe has said he is at times “almost embarrassed” by the work he has produced.

The illustrator, who has worked for Private Eye, the Sunday Times and the New Yorker, is known for his satirical drawings.

He told The Big Issue: “I could draw what I liked for Private Eye – pubic hair, eyeballs… I never knew I wanted to draw them but once I did I enjoyed it.

“Then Willie Rushton (co-founder of Private Eye) said I should go for politicians. I drew them in all their nakedness, the most basic truth of them.

“Sometimes I have gone to exhibitions of my work and been almost embarrassed by this evidence of what’s come out of my own mind; some drawings are so twisted and dark, with so much sexual content.

“I’m almost shy standing next to them.”

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Gerald Scarfe (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Scarfe said one influence on his style may have been a childhood illness.

“My loneliness and my asthma probably played into the style I developed,” he said.

“It was a very sickly childhood and I think my parents were primed that I was going to die. And I was aware of that constant fear.

“I understand why – if you’ve ever seen a person heaving with asthma, unable to breathe, it is scary.”

The Big Issue, sold by vendors to lift themselves out of poverty, is available to buy from September 30 across the UK.

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