Cartoonists focus art on local issues

by Roger Walk

For the next two months the Chester Public Library exhibits “Cartoons With  An Opinion” local artists David J. Bromley and Phillip Bowles.

The exhibition presents 57 black-and white and colored cartoons by the duo of artists known as “Composition House.”  Many exhibits began as contributions to The Village News weekly newspaper in Chester early last year. A continuing character, U. S. Representative Clyde Clydebagger, has been created for many of these editorial cartoons.

These drawings have been very well received by the adult audience at the Chesterfield Library Comic Convention, while the juvenile audience appreciates other, less topical, efforts by the Chester cartooning duo.  

“Cartoons With  An Opinion” features issues local to Chesterfield County as well as national concerns. In addition to the editorial perspective, there are general interest and societal commentary, as well as a series of single panel comics geared for teenagers, “The Quiet Guy.”

The potential impact of cartoons in local newspapers on their community might be exemplified by a Composition House drawing pointing to the problems that can come with title loans. The Title loan business that had proposed to operate out of the building at the corner of Osborne Rd. and Jefferson Davis Highway at a former 7-Eleven shop, has never opened for business and the building is currently for sale/rent.  

Bowles of Richmond lived most of his life in Chester. As he explained during the reception at the Chester library on July 5, 2014, “as a child I was fascinated by the graphical power and “fast message” of Superhero and Batman comic drawings.” In his adult life he sees his editorial cartoon and fine art as his profession. He is an art instructor at VCU, and has exhibited his work at the Artworks Gallery, Richmond. Before his work together with Bromley for the Village News, Bowles contributed cartoons to the Richmond weeklies Punchline, Articulate Magazine, and Throddle Magazine.

Bromley who has teamed up with Bowles for the editorial cartoons, was born in Nashville, TN, and and has lived in Chester for 10 years. He is a former university art instructor and now teacher at Michael’s Art & Crafts in Colonial Heights. He is a member of the Artspace Gallery, Richmond.

As Composition House team, Bowles and Bromley have shown their work recently in Richmond at “Art in Shambles, 25th Anniversary Exhibit” at 9WG Studios’ “Everyone Likes Pizza,” at Richmond Main Library and “The Eyes of A Child,” at Artworks. Their editorial cartoons are also featured in a blog @ http://compositionhouse.wordpress.com and  www.compositionHouse.com.

Bowles and Bromley truly enjoy participating in library functions, in addition to both Chesterfield Library Comicons, they had a comic art show during Youth Art Month (March, 2014) at the Richmond Main Library. They particularly enjoyed drawing caricatures of the kids during the Summer Reading Club Kick-Off at Chester Public Library on Saturday, June 14, 2014.

While hoping to continue their contributions to the Village News, Bowles and Bromley are moving towards cartoons for children and fiction stories.

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