That of satirical cartoons, comic strips or illustrations with print publishing is a very strong link, which over the years has led great artists to produce works in the world’s largest daily and weekly newspapers.
One of the greatest living artists, who has been publishing masterpieces of rare beauty and irony in the world’s leading magazines since 1974, is Barry Blitt, an award-winning Canadian artist, best known for his long collaboration on the covers of The New Yorker – with whom he has worked since 1993 – and his work for The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stones and The Athletic.
The world told by Barry Blitt is splendid and hilarious, often poking fun at politics (American in particular) and US mass culture. Blitt is a great exponent of that satire done through newspapers, in which in addition to the image it is the word that conveys strong messages, which in the past have brought the artist not a few problems.
In fact, during Obama’s first presidential election, a cartoon depicting the future president in typical Muslim clothing and the first lady Michelle Obama in military camouflage caused a stir and brought Blitt much public criticism. The critical approach, however, is part of the tradition of cartoonists, and Barry Blitt himself over the years has dedicated covers to other presidents such as George W Bush and of course Donald Trump.
Among the great characters drawn in pen, ink and watercolour by Blitt are pop culture icons, in particular many musicians, popes, historical or common characters, with a recurring passion for baseball.
Barry Blitt’s style is unmistakable and his numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Best Editorial Cartoon in 2020, propel him into a Hall of Fame of great artists of the genre, on par with masters such as Saul Steinberg.