Alan Fern, an expert in prints, photographs, and portraiture, enlightened two dozen FBWE Villagers on the delights and dangers of humor and satire in art. By capturing the idiosyncrasies of society and individuals, artists were often isolated or punished for their portrayals. Fern shared stories of his friendships with many contemporary cartoonists and others whose work he lauded for their drawing skill and portraying ideas with a single image.
Why did Hirshfeld include his daughter Nina's name in his drawings? [to ensure the engravers made clear images.] How did Abraham Lincoln respond to being pilloried visually in the press? [He understood the issues were controversial] How did comic strips evolve? [to increase newspaper circulation]. Why are political cartoons more difficult to decipher historically? [lack of knowledge or context]. What impact is the digital world having on cartoonists? [harder to get paid for their work]. Why do subjects satirized by an artist wish to have the original cartoon? [that’s a mystery.] Fern left Villagers wanting to know more.