Downtown News’ Editorial Cartoonist Doug Davis Exhibits His Work at Gary Leonard Studio
by Julie Riggott
When Los Angeles Downtown News editorial cartoonist Doug Davis took up his pen and inked a humorous poke at Downtown bloggers in his Nov. 26, 2007, Urban Scrawl, he aroused a bit of ire.
The image of a blogger with a canine “fashion accessory” who “moved Downtown two months ago” and does her reporting “without leaving favorite coffee house table” was part of his Downtown Snapshots series. It pushed a lot of buttons.
“I was having a little fun and didn’t expect to ruffle any blogging feathers,” said Davis, who has contributed his Urban Scrawl cartoons to Los Angeles Downtown News for almost four years. “Downtown folks don’t usually mind a little fun at their expense.”
Davis’ cartoon inspired more than just a heated Internet exchange. It spurred a colleague to honor a career full of laughs and insightful jabs.
“When I saw that reaction, I said, ‘I gotta give him a show,’” said Gary Leonard, this paper’s photographer for 16 years, who has a studio on Olive Street.
Together, the duo will present Davis’ first exhibit of editorial cartoons at the Gary Leonard Studio, opening Friday, Feb. 29, and running through April 30.
Over the years, Davis has commented on Downtown life and politics in Urban Scrawl, taking on Skid Row and the Los Angeles Times in cartoons that won him awards from the California Newspaper Publishers Association. On display at Leonard’s Downtown studio will be a selection of these cartoons and other artwork, as well as originals and prints for sale.
In addition to bloggers and awards committees, Davis’ work has received plenty of other attention. Former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief William Bratton are among the targets of Davis’ pen who requested and now own original designs.
Davis, who was art director at the Downtown News between 1992 and 1996 after graduating from Stanford, also does cartoons for Back Stage and New Mobility magazine, and has even illustrated a children’s book.
“When the muse doesn’t show up, I take a walk in the park, stare at a blank wall or drink an extra shot of espresso for inspiration,” he said from his home in Echo Park.
The exhibit’s opening night also marks Davis’ 12th birthday – he’s a leap year baby. Every four years on Feb. 29, Leonard has made a tradition of taking Davis’ photo. So, Leonard is planning a birthday bash. Davis’ bluegrass band will supply the tunes.
“It will be a celebration of leap year, Doug’s birthday and art,” he said excitedly. “If it’s your birthday too, come on in. We’ll sing ‘Happy Birthday.’”
Urban Scrawl: Downtown Cartoons by Doug Davis opens Friday, Feb. 29, with a preview from 5-7 p.m. and a party from 7-10 p.m. The exhibit will run through April 30. Gary Leonard Studio, 740 S. Olive St., (213) 304-4279 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Doug Davis at (213) 482-1457 or email@example.com.
Contact Julie Riggott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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