As a political cartoonist, and a Pulitzer Prize winning one at that, Matt described the outlook for his job category as bleak. He referred to the fact that the newspaper business is collapsing and most of those still in business have severe economic problems. But Matt has landed on his feet by procuring a full time position with Newsday on Long Island as well as authoring some children’s books and illustrating others.
Matt’s presentation consisted of showing the Y’s Men selected cartoons from his body of work that gave a flavor of what he does.
Q. How can the people in Fairfield County see your work?
A. The Newsday Website has a gallery of my work. It can be seen there.
Q. Is there any problem getting compensated for reproductions of your work?
A. No because I am syndicated and that means there is an organization that polices commercial reproduction of my work and makes sure that I get paid for it.
Q. Have you learned about the practice of cooping by police on Long Island, which is the police seeking out a hidden spot where they can just sit and do no work?
A. I hadn’t heard of it. Thank you for making me aware.
Q. What about the future outlook for political cartoonists?
A. A cartoonist needs a perch to showcase his or her cartoons. But now most newspapers, still in existence, feel that a cartoonist is too expensive considering their economic restraints. That’s why I branched out into children’s books as a way of supplementing my income if not replacing it altogether. The ranks of political cartoonists have been decimated. I have been fortunate, but no-one can say what will happen in the future.
Q. What is your creative process?
A. I pick up ideas from my fellow toilers at Newsday as well as items in the news. Naturally, I form opinions then I have to decide how to express that opinion in graphic form without people discounting it and optimally with some humor. Mechanically, I still use a quill pen, which I still keep coming back to even after experimenting with digital formats and all other modes of expression.
Q. Do people pick up on the subtlety in your work?
A. I’m sure that some people don’t, but no-one complains that my work is too subtle although sometimes my editors will comment that a cartoon may be too subtle.