SURFtoons CARtoons

The East Coast produced its own brand of humor magazines from the 1960s all the way to the ‘90s. While the jokes were often universal, it lacked a familiar tone with us on the West Coast and our surroundings and activities. SURFtoons and CARtoons, while not mad, were truly fantastic and often a comic view of a time between sunrises and sunsets that is iconic of the west, filled with hot rod machines and a lifestyle ruled by grace on ocean waves.

Thanks to the faith and interest of this work by museum curator Britt Salvesen, along with the vision of Michael Govan, the few remaining and sometimes rescued cartoons art pieces were exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art for six months. If you missed it there will be a gallery exhibit at La Luz De Jesus opening on January 6 and running through the end of the month. The exhibit will include vintage and new art by the CARtoons Alumni and tribute art by amazing contemporaries like Brian Viveros, Chet Zar and Tim Burton.

As 2016 comes to a close when a year ago this exhibit was just mere conversation, dear reader, I can’t help but be sad by many of the year’s events. It was a brutal year, to say the least, in taking great talent from this plane, but it was the year of a longtime dream becoming a reality.

I do not have words for facing the reality that Robert Williams, Rick Griffin, Nelson Dewey, Pete Millar, Monte Wolverton, Dave Deal, William Stout, Errol McCarthy and Dennis Ellrfson, and others, will be sharing walls in this great and respected institution with the likes of Matisse, Rivera and the rest of the art world.

In our continuing search for the presumed lost artwork we received an invitation from the Petersen Museum to perhaps look over some artwork they had discovered during their expansive and amazing remodel. The museum and facility has always had an impressive and unequal collection of cars. We were greeted by curator Mary Brisson, who patiently and with great care showed us some wonderful examples of magazine art that had been stored away for many years. Many of the pieces were from the publication of CARtoons. At one point she inquired if we had any interest in other non-automotive cartoons from other magazines. Knowing that Petersen published many different types of magazines we expected some coin collecting, maybe some gun magazine cartoons, or even scuba diving cartoons.

When Mary brought out a stack of SURFtoons we felt the euphoria fill our eyes and brains we must’ve just about jumped out of our socks with elation looking through these original drawings. We felt the pieces deserved another look, so here they are presented in their raw and unaltered form.