Monday, June 24, 2013

American Editorial Cartoonists meet in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake Tribune cartoonist Pat Bagley will be hosting this year's AAEC Convention from June 27-29 in Salt Lake City.

Here is a list of events open to the public and an article by Tim Fitzpatrick in The Salt Lake Tribune:

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
“Kickstarter Nation: Get Your Cartoony Ass Into Money-making Gear!” (open to the public) Moderator: Mark Fiore
Panelists: TBD

11:00 a.m. - noon
“The Art of Controversy: Political Cartoons and Their Enduring Power” (open to the public)
Speaker: Victor Navasky

6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Cartoonist Death Match” with Todd Zuniga at The Tavernacle Piano Bar. (open to the public)
Panelists: Steve Benson, Signe Wilkinson, Ted Rall and Lalo Alcaraz
AAEC will provide the pizza!


9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
“Magical Mystery Tour with Jann Haworth” (open to the public)
Jann Haworth is a renowned pop artist and the co-creator, with her then-husband Peter Blake, of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover.

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Thomas Nast: The Father of Modern Political Cartoons” (open to the public)
Speaker: Fiona Deans Halloran, author of the new biography.

11:00 a.m. - noon
“Successful Cartooning in the Digital World” (open to the public)
Moderator: Alan Gardner, editor of the website “The Daily Cartoonist” will moderate a panel about the opportunities available to clever cartoonists in our rapidly changing media environment.


10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
The Art of Cartooning: Art Workshop for Young Adults at the Main Salt Lake Library. (open to the public)
Panelists: TBD

11:00 a.m. - noon
“Satire and the Sacred: From Mohammed to Mormon Underwear.” (open to the public) 
Moderator: Pat Bagley
Speakers: Daniel Peterson and Victor Saul Navasky.

If you see any scribbling tourists this week, blame Bagley

This week Salt Lake City will host the annual convention of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC), a distinguished sounding name that doesn’t mask the fact that these people scrawl rude little pictures for a living.

The group plans three days of high-minded discussion on all aspects of political cartoons, from the challenges of digital platforms to the outright dangers of satire in intolerant cultures.

They are coming because of the hard work and distinguished career of The Tribune’s own scrawler in residence, Pat Bagley. "You have him to blame for this invasion of ink-stained wretches," says Matt Wuerker, president of AAEC and a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for, who acknowledges it’s not exactly a bidding war for this convention. "Last year Pat raised his hand."

Bagley has been The Tribune’s cartoonist since Jimmy Carter was president, having arrived fresh from Brigham Young University. Over the years he has brought forth a stable of characters from little round legislators to gay seagulls to Clueless George, the simian president.

There is almost no one Bagley hasn’t offended, but there is no question that these offenses have brought him lifelong devotees. Bagley’s scribbles and The Tribune are now so intertwined that it would be tough to imagine one without the other.

Despite that, Bagley maintains his role is more about enjoyment than necessity. Asked if journalism needs cartoonists, he replies, "It doesn’t, but then you’re stuck reading the Congressional Quarterly."

You may have noticed that Bagley’s cartoons haven’t been showing up lately. That is because Pat’s temporary job — convention organizer — has been draining him.

"I’ve got to say the community has been tremendously helpful, especially The Leonardo, The Salt Lake Library and the Natural History Museum of Utah," he says of the venues hosting his fellow cartoonists. "There are others I should mention, but you’ll just edit them out."

He’s just a joy to work with.

Bagley is a Utah state treasure ("Thanks for not saying I’m the state dinosaur"), and he is also nationally recognized for his work. In 2009 he received the Herblock prize, which along with the Pulitzer is considered editorial cartooning’s top honour.

"Bagley certainly is a treasure, and in greater Cartoonlandia he has many admirers," says Wuerker, who admits this kind of ardent following is getting harder to build as newspaper-cartoonist ranks shrink. The group coming this week is far smaller than the conventions of 10 or 20 years ago.

But rest assured that Bagley will return to his pen (drawing instrument, not cage) when he has recovered from the convention. After all, the Bagley cartoon is greeted by our readers as daily manna, a gift from above.

OK. Sometimes from below.

Tim Fitzpatrick is deputy editor of The Tribune. He can be reached at

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