Ralph Steadman: A Retrospective
6 December 2014 – 28 February 2015
Celebrating the career of the British cartoonist who produced gonzo drawings for Hunter S. Thompson.
Considered one of the most important graphic artists of the last 50 years, Steadman is best known as the creator of political and social caricatures, cartoons and picture books. His work has been translated into many different languages and exhibited around the world.
This display in Maidstone spans the full breadth of his multifarious career. It features early drawings for titles such as Private Eye and Punch – as well as his first ever published cartoon from a 1956 edition of the Manchester Evening Chronicle – alongside his recent commissions for The New York Times, Observer and wine merchants, Oddbins.
There are also examples of his illustrations for children’s books: The Big I am, Animal Farm and Through the Looking-Glass.
Steadman had a close relationship with the American writer Hunter S. Thompson. Thompson was a proponent of gonzo journalism – written without claims to objectivity in the first person narrative. He chose Steadman's expressionistic pen-and-ink illustrations to accompany his breakthrough piece, sparking the beginning of a career-long collaboration. The pair became great friends, and often socialised and travelled together.
The exhibition features an array of Steadman’s gonzo works, including his iconic illustrations for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.