Martin Honeysett – home to roost at Hastings Museum
The opening of A Taste of Honeysett at Hastings Museum this Thursday is the launch event for Hastings Cartoon Festival. The retrospective of Martin Honeysett’s work was exhibited at the London Cartoon Museum earlier this year, and Hastings’ locals are delighted to see the artwork of one of the country’s most highly regarded cartoonist back in the town that he made his home. HOT’s Erica Smith sketches out the high points of the Cartoon Festival.
For those who are not familiar with Honeysett’s work, be prepared for black humour, acerbic wit and sardonic, grotesque portrayal of characters who exemplify cruelty, greed and stupidity. His caricatures ranged from “moth-eaten grannies in wrinkled stockings, slippers and curlers, to slobbish youths with multiple piercings, baseball caps askew and falling-down jeans” (fellow cartoonist Ken Pyne’s description), all drawn in his distinctive, spidery style. The Thinifers and Fattypuffs pastiche of the Jerwood and the fun fair on The Stade is typical of his fond but unflattering representation of modern life.
The show at the Museum represents just a tiny amount of the work that Honeysett produced since he drew his first cartoons in 1969 for The Daily Mail, Punch and Private Eye.
Honeysett was well-loved by his contemporary cartoonists – with the possible exception of Michael Ffolkes – at whom he threw a large cake at Private Eye’s 21st party. He was a member of the PCO (Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation), and the retrospective is supported by an exhibition of artwork by fellow PCO members on the theme of The Battle of Hastings. The contributing artists include HOT’s own Cathy Simpson.
The exhibition has been curated by Honeysett’s partner Penny Precious. Penny was determined to make sure that Martin’s work was shown in Hastings, but also that the Museum show would be part of a bigger picture – this led to the Hastings and 1066 Country Cartoon Festival. The launch event at the Museum will be followed next week with the start of a programme of cartoon workshops and talks running across 1066 Country. It’s proved to be a popular idea – the first two workshops have already been fully booked up.
The highlight of the Festival will be Hastings Bonfire Weekend – on Saturday 15 October there will be a special event at Hastings Museum with a panel of PCO members led by Royston Robertson, and on Sunday 16 October there will be a whole day of free cartooning events in Stade Hall and on The Stade. The Festival has been made possible by the support of Hastings Borough Council, the Foreshore Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, Awards for All and Sussex Community Foundation.
A Taste of Honeysett runs until 8 January 2017 at Hastings Museum