- 18 Apr 01
The devil may have all the best tunes but, as readers of The Irish Times and Hot Press can tell you, Tom Mathews has all the funniest cartoons. Liam Fay meets the man behind the flash moustache and finds him making an exhibition of himself . . . but at least he’ll be able to pay for his charcoal!
Sculptors can be famed for their feats of clay. Miniaturists will always choose the lesser of two easels. Photographers must never take a dim view of things. But cartoonists, well, they should just be funny. And, in a country in which the art is if not quite dead then certainly in dire need of hospice care, the work of Tom Mathews is an inspiring reminder of just how funny cartoons can be.
“To an extent, a lot of what you do is constructed,” muses the man himself. “You put this element with this element and that’s the joke. But if you haven’t got the magic bit as well, it’s not really going to work. It’s not something you learn overnight, if you can do it at all. It’s something that you have to bring the initial spark to. You have to have a love for comedy and for the forms of humour. Certainly, for my part, I research non-stop. I watch a lot of comedy shows, I read anything that comes out, I have a giant collection of reference books.”
The dumbest question that Tom Mathews is most frequently asked is, “Where do your ideas come from?” Keen to avoid such an obvious and clichéd trap, I opt for another route. “From where do your ideas come?” I inquire.