Ralph Steadman [Interview]

For literary, political, and/or drug related resource, we all know we can turn the magical pages of the work of the legendary Hunter S. Thompson.  He was a enraged yet compassionate genius who touched everyone from philosophy scholars, right on down to pot smoking Bob Marley poster having philosophy scholars.  And it is almost entirely possible to envision Hunter and his distinct work with another name we all know and love.  No, I’m not talking about Johnny Depp.  Although he is dreamy in his own way.  No, our hero of the hour is the very Ralph Steadman.

When Hunter S. Thompson teamed up with Ralph Steadman over 40 years ago, the world would never be the same.  Gonzo was born.  What is Gonzo?  Well, if you think you can describe it, you most likely have no God damned clue.  Lest it be said, those who truly understand Gonzo, are probably the most fascinating creatures and bastards of this world.  The only people who truly understand the world and the trite yet mystical piece of shit it can be.  And if you think you truly understand it, you probably don’t.  You egotistical bastard.

But, I digress.  Ralph Steadman’s fascinating drawings and artwork for the likes of Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Deprived, Curs of the Lono, etc. have become synonymous with the world and work of the late Thompson.  An accomplishment in his own right.  But, his work has not stopped with the Gonzo world.  He’s done work for almost any damn periodical you can think of.  He’s penned his own books.  He’s contributed art for anything from Alice in Wonderland adaptations, to album artwork, to Vonnegut tributes.  The very art school he once failed out of now has even celebrated his life’s work.  His work speaks for himself.  But, I thought it would be fun to let him speak for himself as well with a few questions for one of the greatest artists of the last century.  So, that being said, here are a few words with the legendary Ralph Steadman.  Enjoy!

If you weren’t an esteemed artist and writer, what on earth do you think you would be doing?

Trying to solve Grossenheimer’s Laws of Adiabatic Masses!!

Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas

Nothing vicarious! Good down to earth wet ink! It creates the surprises because I never make ‘roughs’ first….

Did your time served in the Royal Air Force shape you into the person you became in any way?

Only that I failed to make it as a Pilot! I would have loved to be one of those- and I never liked Factory life making the damn things!! Though I used to make model Airplanes- ad infinitum!

If you were to create a soundtrack of music to represent your creation of and in experience with Gonzo art, what sort of music would we hear?

I think it would be something like- Bob Dylan’s ‘Somethin’ is happening- but you don’t know what it is- Do you- Mr. Jones….??

On the topic of music, you are known to have done some pretty amazing cover art for some amazing acts… Are there any artists out there you would like to do some art for that you haven’t already?

I have just done something for SLASH.  And if the Kinks ever do anything else- that would be a plus!

Your illustrations of Alice In Wonderland, Animal Farm, and Treasure Island were absolutely phenomenal.  Can we expect any other revised visuals of classic material? 

I have recently done Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451- that looks OK!

Do you have a defense against naysayers for the obvious ideals that cartoonists and caricaturist artists can have the same fortitude and importance as, say, more straight laced or classic artists?

I am not accepted as a ‘real’ artist ‘cos I do cartoons!! FUCK those people!!!

What would you say is your finest non-artistic accomplishment in your life?

Swimming every day I am at home- in my own pool- whatever the weather!!!

from the Fahrenheit 451 collection

What can we expect from Ralph Steadman in the remainder of 2012?

I have just completed the drawings for a book of ‘Extinct Birds/Boids’- with an excellent text by Ceri Levy.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Watching my grandsons Ollie and Toby bouncing up and down on their trampoline this morning in the garden!

Learn more about Ralph Steadman, including art for sale, when you will see him again, and his thoughts of carp, America, and all that is eternally sad with the world, at his website.  Also check out his company’s site where you can drop some cash for some amazing art.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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