Joe Fournier is one of the most vigorous caricaturists around. He has combined his various talents composer, musician, writer, illustrator, filmmaker, voiceover actor into a magic blend that takes us to new places in this field. His animations have appeared on the Chicago Tribune website and his print pieces are offered up for syndication. I am a fan, not just of his work, but of Joe's demonstration of what we all need to do in this market; diversify and explore. Hey, nobody know's where this all is going. Going forward in this chaotic and transmutating industry will take the kind of person we see in Joe. Strongly attacking the problem of covering the field while tenaciously holding onto his standards; not falling into the Kitty Pit. Here are (approximately) 4 questions for Joe Fournier.
Here are 4 questions for Joe Fournier.
1. Tell me the difference between the print series and video series. Do they overlap? Are you adapting the same ideas? If not do you find a different approach to similar ones?
They are pretty similar. The print pieces are or could be animatics for animations I suppose. They are also much easier to turn around in a few hours as opposed to the week it would take me to do the animations. With the news cycle zipping by with the attention span of a chimp, the shelf life of all these things is a little longer than you can hold your breath. So, sooner the output the greater the impact, bigger the laugh.
2. What is the funding for the videos like? Are it all Trib or are you syndicating?
The videos? Close your eyes. What do you see? As for the printed pieces, that I am being paid by an industry that's circling the drain could be looked at as a victory, though a nominal one. I am currently shopping the OpArtpieces for a syndication deal. Hope springs eternal.
3. What recent cartoon have you done that has given you the most fun to do; actually made you laugh in a high pitched cackle in the middle of the night that might have disturbed a sleeping dog?
I liked the Rose Garden heckler No Such thing as a Stupid Question and the Sheriff Arpaio America's Toughest Sheriff pieces. Bigger the a-hole the more fun they are to tee up. I like them for the little, second tier jokes that I'll insert after I run the whole thing. "TUCKER CARLSON SMELLS LIKE PUDDING!" means absolutely nothing, but I liked the sound of it, particularly coming from that guy. And sheriff Arpaio saying that he was all aquiver to be able to "shake down anything darker than Debbie Reynolds!" made me very proud, though I put in a great amount of thought deciding whether Debbie Reynolds was funnier than Doris Day. I think I chose well. But I'm also partial to the song pieces like The Tale of Romney Hood, and the completely absurdist pieces like Willard Scissorhands. Of course, no bigger jerk have we than The Donald. ! The Donald on The Donald is a personal favorite, near and dear to my heart.
4. Political cartooning is such a thankless, undistinguished, masochistic profession. Are you an idealist assuming that cartoons will make a difference at some point and that they haven't as yet is not a good indication of anything yet, or a romantic, suspecting that the glorious past of the art will by some inherent quality return a golden glow to people today, or are you pathological in some way and can't really explain this nervous tick you have?
Our politics are so hostile and mean spirited right now, I think people need a little levity, a little fun. Maybe that will turn out to be the common ground we're looking for, who knows? Peter Sellers, the theater director, says that all art is political, and I think there is some truth to that. I'm not an idealist. I started doing this work because the straight up illustration work went away. I'm not tied to past political cartoonists. Though they were brilliant, in today's environment people look at it, categorize it by slamming it to either the left or right, and dismiss it. It doesn't have the impact it once did. Just more white noise. I'm trying to loosen things up, use my animation background along with some elements of the graphic novel, and get people to laugh, relax, and maybe take a bit more in. Shit, now I do sound like an idealist. A not-very-self-aware idealist.
Okay 5 questions. How did you learn to draw real good?
Why, by studying music, of course! I'm a conservatory trained sax player, composer and arranger. (Intake of breath, pause for haughty reverence.) After college I studied music in India for a time, then returned to the states where I promptly cut my middle finger damned near off. (My drawing hand, of course.) So I sat around, ate Cheerios, drank cognac and watched the Oliver North trial. (Still to this day, our finest American liar under oath.)
Then I became an illustrator.
Okay 6 questions. Where can we buy stuff you make?