Magazine article The New Yorker

Michael Crawford

Magazine article The New Yorker

Michael Crawford

Article excerpt

MICHAEL CRAWFORD

Michael Crawford was a cartoonist and a painter, a wry and sensitive artist who woke each day with his head full of dreams. Straight from bed he reached for his pencils and pad, the better to get those images and word clusters down on paper. For at least an hour every morning, "Michael was mining his dreams," his wife, Carolita Johnson, also a cartoonist for this magazine, said. "And when it came to cartoons he just started drawing, without any idea where things might go. Lots of drawings sat around for years without any caption. He was his own one-man cartoon-caption contest in that way. But he was patient."

There was a wild, improvisational streak in Crawford's work. He loved baseball, and imagined a cockeyed intimacy in the talk between, say, two pros in the dugout: "Why so aloof in here? When you're on base, you yak your ass off with every Yankee in sight." A student of American art, he redrew many of Edward Hopper's moody paintings as cartoons and then provided snappy dialogue for the painter's lonely souls. In his version of Hopper's bereft "Office at Night," the secretary asks her boss, "Will you be needing any more repressed sexual tension before I leave for the day, sir? …

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