With a live relay of the thoughts that inspire each stroke, Bruce Petty’s cartoons looked less of ‘doodle-bombs’ and more of witty insights.
“Common good seemed to be where humanity was headed to. At some point, it stopped being progressive and things turned vertical, loading itself with more and more innovations. Now, here’s an ingenious interpretation of the state-of-affairs now,” he said, recreating an excerpt from his Oscar-winning animation film, ‘Leisure’.
The Australian political satirist and cartoonist, acclaimed for his objective and intelligent observations of the modern world, was giving the audience a peek into his working style while delivering the C Achutha Menon Memorial Lecture in the city on Friday.
Petty’s critically acclaimed cartoons link the human world to ideas, institutions and the industrial culture and have been described as ‘doodle bombs’. Admitting that his style did flummox his editors at times, Petty said that his cartoons tried to unravel the logical but unlikely ways in which things worked.
“The world is becoming more and more sensitive and less tolerant. It is happening everywhere. But it’s still not a freaky world. It’s a thing you can analyse,” he said, in answer to a question.
The 83-year-old cartoonist said that the animation scene was witnessing what he termed the ‘crowding out’ phenomenon. Explaining that the economic concept can be used to described the obliteration of genuine talent in animation, he urged young artists to find their own niche.
“Put it on your blog and throw it on the net,” he told the anxious young man who mooted the point.
Petty listed inquisitiveness, stubbornness to hold on to one’s ides, and the ability to find new insights as the qualities that a cartoonist should possess, but only after he declared, “you’ve got to be lucky to begin with”.
Petty contributes regularly to the Melbourne-based newspaper The Age. In the city as a guest of the Centre for Comic Arts, Petty would address the participants of the animation film-making programme of IT@School Project on September 22.