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Stephen Kroninger
Drew Friedman Exhibit & Book
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 Drew Friedman easily ranks among the greatest of contemporary illustrators. His caricatures and portraits have always been a welcome treat to my eyes since I first began seeing his work back in the mid-eighties. The most difficult part of putting together this post was trying to edit the image downs to the essentials. I'm not sure I succeeded in that.  Even with the great amount of images I've included in this post it's still only scratching the surface of the myriad of brilliant drawings Drew has done over the years. Maybe his entire body of work is essential. So as well as alerting you to his upcoming exhibit at the Scott Eder Gallery and Fantagaphics republishing his classic LIVING OR DEAD it's just my way of finding an excuse to honor his immense talent.
photo credit: Trent Thompson


















 I have a paticular affection for these two drawings of Groucho Marx. One because I have a great affection for Groucho Marx and two because Drew has captured him so beautifully. Although there have been many wonderful caricatures of Groucho over the years, artists often choose to depict the Groucho of his movie hey-day and more often still they let the eyebrows, moustache and cigar carry their drawings thereby missing the man underneath the greasepaint and smoke. Here Drew depicts him as he appeared on his quiz show and in old age. I remember being stunned when I first saw the top drawing. I could hear his voice and feel the movement of his lips which may sound odd to the uninitiated but I trust true Grouchphiles will understand exactly what I mean. I guess what I'm saying is that Drew moved past the obvious and revealed the essence of the man in both drawings. Actually, as you scroll through these drawings you'll find that's true for all of them.

What follows are images from the recently reissued "Any Similarity To Persons Living Or Dead Is Purely Coincedental. First published in 1986 it has gone on to become a classic. If you don't already have this in your personal library now's your chance to rectify that situation. You may order your copy here.




Frank Zappa was a fan of the book's original edition as seen in this video beginning at 2:05








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