hastings & 1066 country cartoon festival
15 Sep 2016 — 8 Jan 2017
Christopher Hoggins

Car-Toon Capers!

The Really BIG Cartoon Day is approaching – for those who don’t have it in their diaries yet it’s the day after Hastings bonfire, Sunday 16 October. Erica Smith is one of the organisers, and here she tells you what is going to happen, as well as why she got involved.

Cathy Simpson made me do it. “Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have a big cartoon Festival to celebrate Martin Honeysett’s life and mark the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings?” she said. She’d been talking to Martin Honeysett’s partner, Penny Precious. I knew Penny, and knew and liked Martin’s work. It seemed a VERY good idea for SOMEONE to do it, so we got on and applied for a grant… We didn’t get it, so we applied for another one… and didn’t get it, then we re-applied for less money and got some, and kept on applying for grants and kept on getting them…

By then we were COMMITTED to putting on a Festival. I focussed on setting up a series of outreach workshops and talks whilst Penny focused on moving the exhibition of Martin’s artwork down from the London Cartoon Museum to Hastings Museum and organising not one but TWO more exhibitions of work by local artists and members of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation (PCO). Pete Donohue, youth worker and cartoonist for Hastings Independent Press joined us to write safeguarding policies and help publicise the event. Now we are nearly there… it’s scary, but exciting!

Glenn Marshall

“Well I suppose it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.” © Glenn Marshall

SO – what IS going to happen?

On Saturday 15 October, members of the PCO are invited to attend an event at Hastings Museum from 1–4pm. Bill Stott, Chair of the PCO will open the event, and Royston Robertson of Private Eye will lead a panel discussion along with The Surreal McCoy and Glenn Marshall. This event will be followed by a networking and professional development event for invited cartoonists and an early evening meal at The Beacon to which members of the public are also invited (email info@beaconhastings.com to book). This will be followed by a walk to the Old Town to watch the bonfire parade and fireworks.

Sunday 16 October is the public open air event ‘Big Cartoon Day’ on the Stade and in the Stade Hall from 11am–4pm. We are delighted to host the veteran French cartoonist, Robert Rousso and Breton illustrator Emmanuel Cerisier who has writen a book about the Battle of Hastings. There will be a bevy of PCO members running workshops, caricaturing and drawing life-size cartoons on big boards including Denis Dowland, Dave BrownBill StottChristopher BurkeRoyston RobertsonCathy SimpsonNathan ArissAndrew BirchJeremy BanxRupert BesleyGlenn MarshallThe Surreal McCoy and Clive Goddard.

Local cartoonists will be there on the day, including: James Brandow, Pete Donohue, Scott GarrettJulian HanshawJon HighamChristopher HogginsJohn KnowlesErica Smith and Andy Willard. Brighton-based comic artist Ottilie Hainsworth will also be attending.

At 4pm there will be a wind down drink and buffet at the East Hastings Sea Angling Association (EHSAA). I sometimes wonder why on earth I let myself get involved with such a huge undertaking. And then I remember that I really like cartoonists, comic artists and illustrators. It’s not just that they do funny drawings, it’s because they see the world through an interesting perspective. They are funny and intelligent and I’m really looking forward to the wind-down drink because I know I’ll be in good company!

Linda in Car-toon

Linda King in her Car-Toon © John Cole

But the day doesn’t end there – at 8pm there will be a screening of animated films by Ralph Bakshi and René Laloux at the Electric Palace Cinema. Robin Knowles, one of our workshop co-ordinators has chosen the films as part of his B-Movie Fan Club series.

Oh yes – look out for Linda King driving her Car-Toon vehicle on Sunday 16 October – she will be ‘drawing’ people to the Stade to take part in the activities. We hope to see you there!

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.

"The developers were advised to include an element of social housing” © The Estate of Martin Honeysett

“The developers were advised to include an element of social housing” © The Estate of Martin Honeysett

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.

“William the Bastard became The Conqueror, or course. Somehow his cousin, Eric the Cockwomble, never got on.” © Cathy Simpson

“William the Bastard became The Conqueror, or course. Somehow his cousin, Eric the Cockwomble, never got on.” © Cathy Simpson

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