Gerald Scarfe (b. 1936) is one of Britain’s most celebrated and distinctive artists, cartoonists and illustrators. His unmistakeable political cartoons have decorated the editorial pages of London’s most prestigious Sunday newspaper, The Sunday Times, for more than five decades. For The Daily Mail he also contributed editorial reportage in the 1960s from around the world, including memorable illustrations of the war in Vietnam. The same decade saw his work appearing regularly in two of the country’s most popular magazines, Private Eye and Punch, while he also contributed several of the most creative cover designs for Time magazine.
His journalistic and editorial work was merely the springboard for a life devoted to a dazzlingly diverse array of creative ventures. Over the course of his long and distinguished career, Scarfe’s talent has been turned to many other media beyond the printed page, including television (where, among other commissions, he provided the unforgettable opening title sequence for the BBC comedy classic, Yes, Minister); theatre; opera; ballet; and cinema, notably his work as Production Designer on the 1997 Disney animation, Hercules.
His depictions of major British figures, past and present, were commissioned and exhibited by the National Portrait Gallery in 2003 – merely one of literally dozens of exhibitions of his work which have been staged since the late 1960s. He has been a regular broadcaster, most recently as the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Recycled Radio, and has also worked successfully as a film and TV director, a costume and set designer, and an author.
Among his many honours, he was awarded a CBE in HM The Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2008; and he was also invited to design a set of postage stamps for The Royal Mail. Since the 1960s, his drawings have often been collected in book form, most notably in his pictorial autobiography, Scarfe by Scarfe (1986), which was made into a BBC film, and also Drawing Blood, published in 2005. But perhaps his most familiar and widely seen work has arisen from his frequent collaborations with the rock band, Pink Floyd, on whose career he left an indelible and unique mark.