There are various types of cartoonists who work for newspapers depicting the political events of the day. Those who draw gentle, unconfronting cartoons and those who go for the jugular and force us to look closely at the nastier aspects of our political lives.
Joep Bertrams, a Dutch cartoonist is definitely in the second type of political cartoonist, his drawings are savage, to the point and brilliant (in both senses of the word). The cartoon that won him the Inktspotprijs 2014-2015 prize ( a prize that is given in Holland for the best political cartoon of the year) is fairly typical of his style of working. As you will see, it was his reaction to the murderous attacks on the Charlie Hebdo office last year, and as I said, is straight to the point.
So here is that carton to give you a taste of how he works.
The title by the way of this cartoon is “Onsterfelijk” which is Dutch for “immortal”, and seems to me to be pretty clear in its intentions.
His style is both clean and colourful, carefully drawn and utterly clear in its meaning. He has a great ability to cut through the rubbish around any given issue and produce a clear and to the point cartoon that somehow encapsulates his thoughts on a topic extremely clearly.
To illustrate these points, here are a couple more of his cartoons, and I suspect you will have no difficulty in guessing what they are all about.
This last was just to show that he also deals with problems other than what is happening in the Middle East….
Obviously, as a Dutch political cartoonist, working for Dutch Newspapers, his main work direction is aimed at domestic politics, rather than the international ones I have selected above. So to balance things a bit, here are a couple that relate to domestic issues in Holland – which to be honest I know nothing about, but simply include them here for the sake of completeness.
Obviously, like the rest of the world he is following the extremely strange and alarming theatre that is occurring in the USA just now – the run up to their Presidential Elections. And he has dealt with that extraordinary creature Donald Trump (Drumph) as well. So here are a couple of cartoons that show his feelings about that dreadful school yard bully.
So, now you know a bit about this guy’s work, and I hope you share my admiration of the clarity and sharpness of his vision.
If you wish to see his work on a daily basis, you will have to take out a subscription to the paper he works for, so here is a link to that for you. In passing I would mention that this paper started life as a resistance paper during the German occupation of Holland …
So, here is that link: Het Parool.
And to his own website: Joep Bertrams
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So, now you have seen his amazing work, what are your thoughts about his approach to his work? Do let us know any thoughts you might have on this.