Saturday, 26 September 2009

Brian O'Toole's Cartoons

Unlike Malcolm Lowry, Brian O'Toole (1946-2001) spent most of his life in his native Liverpool, apart from art school training in Newcastle and London and regular stays in Dublin, producing cartoons, portraits of Irish writers and absorbing himself in the labyrinthine world of James Joyce. Frighteningly well-read, literature informed O'Toole's art and he admired Lowry, whose complex prose, references to other literature, rich thematic layering and Merseyside origins appealed to him.

O'Toole's darkly humorous, surreal pen and ink drawings appeared in a range of publications, on posters and in exhibitions, and the ones selected here echo the dancing cadavers of Mexican artist Posada, whose Day of the Dead prints were a particular influence. O'Toole's drawings, with their combination of the familiar and the absurd however can also be seen in a particularly British tradition of caricature and satire, stretching from George Cruikshank to Steve Bell.
Bryan Biggs Artistic Director The Bluecoat Liverpool Under The Volcano; An Exhibition for Malcolm Lowry 1909-1957


  1. Hello,
    I just read your article and I am very much interested in learning more about O'Toole. Unfortunately there isn't much about him on the web. I couldn't find many cartoons or strips either. Do you believe you could tell me a little more about him ? This article is the one with the most information.

  2. Hello,
    I just read your article and found it very interesting. I am very much interested in learning more about O'Toole, is there any way you could help me ?
    Thanks in advance.