David Bruce: The Funniest People in Art — Gays and Lesbians,Gifts, Inspiration, Landscapes

Gays and Lesbians

• Alison Bechdel is a lesbian who draws the comic strip Dykes to Look Out For. Her comic strip started out as little drawings of lesbians she created in the margins of letters to friends. She began numbering the drawings — for example, “Dykes to Watch Out For, No. 75” — even though at that point she had drawn only three or four. Because her friends liked the drawings, she submitted them to a feminist newspaper titled Womanews. The drawings were accepted, and her comic strip developed from those early drawings.

• Despite being gay, author Michael Thomas Ford is far from fashion conscious and has a difficult time being presentable at fashionable events. For a photo shoot, Mr. Ford was asked to bring along some clothes to be photographed in. The photographer looked over the shirts that Mr. Ford had brought, then he took off his own shirt, handed it to Mr. Ford, and said, “Put this on.” The photographer remained shirtless for the duration of the shoot.


• When King Charles II visited St. John’s College, Oxford, he was much taken with a portrait of Charles I and asked that the Head of the College give it to him. The Head of the College was unwilling to do so, so the King said, “I will grant you any favor in return.” With this proviso, the Head of the College gave him the portrait. “Thank you,” King Charles II said. “What now is your request?” The Head of the College replied, “Give it back.” (The portrait can still be seen at the College.)

• Bruno, the pet dog of children’s book illustrator Victoria Chess, frequently brings to her odd presents — a dead squirrel, a dead woodchuck, a live chicken, a red ball with blue stars, a bottle of suntan lotion, etc. Ms. Chess jokes that the best present he ever brought to her was a purse belonging to a neighbor lady — not only did the purse contain $80, but it also contained 15 credit cards!


• Dr. Seuss got an idea for a book when a gust of wind blew a drawing of an elephant on top of a drawing of a tree. He looked at the two drawings, then asked himself, “An elephant in a tree — what’s he doing there?” Then he answered his own question: “Of course! He’s hatching an egg!” This idea resulted in Dr. Seuss’ book Horton Hatches an Egg.

• Bil Keane is the artist behind the comic strip The Family Circle. One day, while he was drawing the cartoon, his young son Jeffy watched him for a while, then asked, “Daddy, how do you know what to draw?” Mr. Keane replied, “God tells me.” Jeffy asked next, “Then why do you keep erasing parts of it?”


• John Banvard worked for years on a painting of the Mississippi River, eventually producing a work of art that was first displayed in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1845 — the painting was three miles long. To enable people to see it, it was exhibited like a scroll that was unrolled from one spindle onto another spindle. He exhibited the painting in the United States and England, but when he died it was cut up into pieces, some of which were used as backdrops for plays.

• Winston Churchill was an amateur painter. Once he showed a group of landscapes to a friend, who asked why he painted only landscapes and not portraits. Sir Winston replied, “Because a tree doesn’t complain that I haven’t done it justice.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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