Artist Biography - Ralph Steadman
Born 15 May 1936, Ralph Steadman is a Welsh illustrator, best known for his long partnership with the American journalist Hunter S Thompson drawing pictures for several of his articles and books.
After growing up in Liverpool, the artist studied in London during the 60s, after which he started freelancing as in illustrator for companies such as Punch, Private Eye, the Daily ...Telegraph and the Rollingstones. It was during his practice as a commercial illustrator he came into contact with Hunter S Thompson.
He accompanied Thompson to the Kentucky Derby for an article The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved for the magazine Scanlan’s, to the Honolulu Marathon for the magazine Running, and illustrated both Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.
Much of Steadman’s artwork revolves around caricatures of Thompson’s Bucket Hats, Cigarette Holder and Aviator Sunglasses. However, horrors and nightmares inspire Steadman's illustrations, elements that have been evident from the very beginning of the artists career. Understandably, artist's childhood was shaped during the 1940-1941 Nazi blitz on London, when young Steadman was routinely woken up by the sounds of air-raid sirens and his mother rushing him to safety.
Alongside childhood nightmares, animals of all kinds fascinate Steadman, who has published collections on freakishly depicted dogs, cats and "extinct boids".
In addition to the artists work with Thompson, Steadman has illustrated the literature of other writers. He has illustrated editions of Alice In Wonderland, Treasure Island and the Animal Farm, gaining him much recognition in both the literary and art world. His success has made him highly collectable within the art market.
Awards that he has won for his work include the Francis Williams Book Illustration Award for Alice in Wonderland, the American Society of Illustrators' Certificate of Merit, the W H Smith Illustration Award for I Leonardo, the Dutch Silver Paintbrush Award for Inspector Mouse, the Italian Critica in Erba Prize for That's My Dad, the BBC Design Award for postage stamps, the Black Humour Award in France, and several Designers and Art Directors Association Awards. He was voted Illustrator of the Year by the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 1979.