Along with the street talk, musings and whisperings of Oslo Davis’ cartoon oeuvre, Judy Horacek is a favourite constant in my newspaper of choice, the Age. She also shares a small space, as well, with the likes of Dyson and Weldon in this metropolitan daily most days. When so much that has been savoured about our newspapers is being lost as they attempt to stay afloat in the digital age, there are still treats to be had, such as those small treasures provided by Judy H et al. Newspapers, it is presumed, will eventually disappear – I just trust this does not occur in my lifetime. Reading a newspaper on-line is nothing I would relish. Perusing them off-line is the way to go for me – but then so much about the world I was once comfortable in has changed.
Judy Horacek, in my view, is one of our very best conveyers of a message, through a simple illustration, in the form of a cartoon. Simple though the drawings may be, in them often the message can be the cause of much contemplation. At other times, what she produces is pure whimsy. She’s had thousands of her marvellous images published in all forms of print media and as well, her distinctive figures, with their regulatory pointy noses, grace greeting cards, tea towels and t-shirts. She is also an illustrator, sometimes to the words of Mem Fox. Together they produced the beloved ‘Where is the Green Sheep?’ The two have recently toured together, including to our island, promoting their delightful new collaboration, ‘This and That’.
Under her own steam Judy H has published children’s picture and board books to further enchant Australia’s future. She’s had seven books of her own cartoons published, which brings me to the point of this scribbling. I like Avant postcards – those free cards that spruik new product or emerging artists’ work, found on stands around our major cities. I’m a frequent visitor to them here in Hobs. On one last weekend I spotted Horacek’s unique style – complete with a green sheep, many pointy noses, a red heart and kissing fish – so I grabbed a handful.
Perhaps it shouldn’t have saddened me, as I probably had the bull by the horns, but reading the little descriptor on the reverse of the image, I found this Avant offering was a plea for some crowd-funding to get Horacek’s next book of cartoons off the ground. I immediately thought this was a negative reflection on the state of Australian publishing – the fact that such a well-known contributor to our culture cannot get her product out there with the support of our publishing houses. As difficult as this is now, it will soon be made much harder by yet another crazy, short-sighted proposal from our Federal leadership. As it turned out, on discussing this with my beautiful writerly daughter, there may be other factors at play. Judy H’s decision to go down the crowd-funding route may be a reaction to the time it takes to get something ready for the market place through normal channels; or it could be a means of cutting out the middle man.
I would have liked to have made a contribution to her cause, but my reluctance to use the ether to hand over money prevented me. In compensation, I will buy the end product if I spot it in my travels, as I did when I recently picked up Oslo’s new offering. People like Davis and Horacek are national treasures and warrant taxpayer’s support, along with opera companies and symphony orchestras. They reflect our times and ping our consciences.
Judy H’s website = https://horacek.com.au/