ACA was known for many years as the Australian Black and White Artists’ Club. Our first objective is to “improve the standing of ‘black and white’ artists in Australia and to stimulate public interest in ‘black and white’ art.” The second objective is “to promote competitions and/or awards with the object of improving the standards of ‘black and white’ art.”
The Stanley Awards ACA activities culminate in the Australian Cartoonists’ Awards - known as “The Stanleys” (after famous cartoonist Stan Cross). A Stanley Award is recognition by one’s peers for excellence in Black and White art. Categories include; comic strip, caricature, editorial, humorous illustration, single gag and general illustration. The Jim Russell Award recognises contribution to black and white art, while the Gold Stanley, for Artist of The Year, is also presented. The statuette is modelled on the cartoon, “For gorsake, stop laughing - this is serious!” by Stan Cross in 1933 and described as the most famous Australian cartoon ever drawn. The Stanley Awards night is the one night of the year when artists from all over the country get together to acknowledge, and to be acknowledged for, their previous year’s work. Special Stanleys guests have included; former Prime Ministers Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, John Howard; television identities Ray Martin, Elle McFeast, Daryl Somers; noted international cartoonists Paul Rigby, Pat Oliphant, John Jensen and Chuck Jones from Warner Bros. cartoons fame.
Held in conjunction with the Stanley Awards, the National Cartoon Conference is an opportunity for cartoonists to meet and discuss relevant issues regarding their professional. Each year special guest speakers deal with issues such as the internet, copyright, tax reform, techniques and other cartoonists’ work.
Each year all financial full members are invited to submit their work (published during the previous financial year) for the Stanleys Year Book. This is a compilation, divided into categories, of the work of members which is in turn voted on the the full membership. Members receive the Year Book around September, and the votes cast determine the recipients of the Stanley Awards. Apart from becoming a permanent record, the Year Book is also used as a promotional tool for editors and publishers to view.
ACA has a close relationship with the Bunker Cartoon Gallery in Coffs Harbour, NSW. Run by the Rotary Club of Coffs Harbour, the Bunker Cartoon Gallery is Australia’s only cartoon museum with a very impressive collection dating back to the turn of the century. The Bunker Cartoon Gallery is also the venue for the Rotary Club’s National Cartoon Awards held once a year with cash prizes. Other competitions include the Bald Archy Awards conducted by the Coolac Festival of Fun, The Australian’s Bill Mitchell Memorial Art Award specifically for young aspiring political cartoonists and The National Museum of Australia’s Bringing The House Down, an exhibition held annually in Canberra for professional editorial cartoonists. The ACA is also a member of the Federation of European Cartoonists’ Organisations (FECO). Through this, members are informed of cartoon competitions around the world. ACA also has a close relationship with the National Cartoonists’ Society in the USA and the Cartoonist Club of Great Britain plus many groups affiliated with FECO.
Inkspot is the official communication vehicles for the Club, and is sent to all members on a regular basis. It is the voice of the ACA to members, the public, media and other arts organisations.
The Australian Cartoonists’ Association website is a comprehensive compilation of information for cartoonists, illustrators and the public. The site also has a forum just for members where ideas, news and views can be shared online.
Each State Chapter of the ACA organises its own social events and meetings. On special occasions a traditional event, Smock Night, is arranged in honour of a long standing member of the cartoonist community who is presented with an artist’s smock signed by as many cartoonists as possible. Exhibition openings, book launches and other occasions fill out quite a varied and busy social calendar.
The ACA Committee is spread across Australia. Members of the committee are from different fields with different backgrounds. The current committee is:
Kerry Anne Brown
National Cartoonists Society
President: Tom Richmond
Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain
President: Terry Christian
President General: Peter Nieuwendijk
The ACA also has several members participating in particular roles.
Inkspot Editor: Steve Panozzo, ACA webmaster: Lee Sheppard.
To view the ACA constitution visit here. ACA Constitution