Gary Larson was born August 14, 1950, in Tacoma, Washington. Always drawn to nature, he and his older brother spent much of their youth exploring the woods and swamps of the Pacific Northwest, and the tidelands and waters of Puget Sound.
Though he loved to draw as a child, Larson didn’t formally study art, nor did he consider being a cartoonist. He graduated in 1972 from Washington State University with a degree in communications but took many classes in the sciences. In 1990, Larson received the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award and was the centennial commencement speaker. His talk was titled “The Importance of Being Weird.” His interest in science was a frequent topic in many of The Far Side® cartoons, which he created for fifteen years, from January 1, 1980, to January 1, 1995.
Larson’s work on The Far Side® has earned him numerous awards, including the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year from the National Cartoonists Society in 1990 and 1994. The National Cartoonists Society also named Larson Best Syndicated Panel Cartoonist in both 1985 and 1988. In 1993, The Far Side® was awarded the Max and Moritz Award for Best International Comic Strip/Panel by the International Comic Salon.
In 1994, Larson debuted a twenty-two-minute version of his first animated film, Gary Larson’s Tales From The Far Side®, as a Halloween special on CBS television, and it quickly became a cult favorite. The film won the Grand Prix at the 1995 Annecy International Animated Film Festival in France. That film and its sequel, Gary Larson’s Tales From The Far Side® II, were selected for numerous international film festivals, including Venice, Brussels, and Telluride, and were broadcast in various foreign countries. Both were produced with traditional cel animation, completely hand-inked and painted.
Music has also been an important part of Larson’s life. He started playing the guitar at an early age, moved to the banjo for a few years, and then ultimately returned to the guitar. Since retiring from daily newspaper syndication, Larson has focused his creative efforts on the guitar and his passion for jazz.
At the end of its run, The Far Side® appeared in nearly two thousand newspapers. It in turn spawned twenty-three The Far Side® books, including sixteen collections, five anthologies, and two retrospectives, twenty-two of which appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Over the years, more than forty-one million books and seventy-nine million calendars have been sold, and The Far Side® has been translated into more than seventeen languages.
As for his inspiration, Larson often cites his family’s “morbid sense of humor” growing up and how his older brother loved to scare him whenever he got the chance. He was also once quoted as saying, “You know those little snow globes that you shake up? I always thought my brain was sort of like that. You know, where you just give it a shake and watch what comes out and shake it again.” He attributes much of his success to the caffeine in the coffee he drinks daily.
“Explain him? No. Explicate him? No. Enjoy him? Yes, God, yes … Just don’t o.d. You could die laughing.” (Stephen King)
“Cartoonist Gary Larson carries the macabre to hilarious lengths.” (The Wall Street Journal)
“A magnificent contribution to popular culture.” (The Washington Post)
“Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in between opium binges, once distinguished poetry from prose by noting that the former comprises ‘the best words in their best order.’ Gary Larson’s achievement in The Far Side® is to have pulled off much the same thing in a humbler medium: the best joke told with the best image … there is no excuse not to have some Larson in your life.” (The Daily Beast)
“Larson communicates a great deal of information in a few simple ink lines. The expressions of his characters are vivid and immediately recognizable … And with just a strand of beads and a pair of harlequin glasses, he can somehow transfer any animal—a shark, a bug, a warthog—into a dowdy suburban hausfrau.” (The Los Angeles Times)
“In an age when black humor is a lost art, Larson’s cartoon is an island of insanity, offering us the perspective of a world where the unreal is normal and vice versa. Its message deep down is a dark one— something about taking ourselves too seriously and strutting around as if we own the place.” (Rolling Stone)
“Bless Gary Larson for his wonderful consistency in casting an artful eye on all of Earth’s wild critters, human or otherwise.” (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
“The unofficial cartoonist laureate of the scientific community.” (Natural History Magazine)
“The natural order of things goes seriously awry, with hilarious results.” (Smithsonian Magazine)
“Gary Larson is a simple man with a simple talent for mordant hilarity.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
Situated on the main street of the historic Delaware Riverfront town of New Hope, Pennsylvania, Farley’s Bookshop and its knowledgeable, experienced staff have endeavored to satisfy the literary tastes of the area inhabitants for over fifty years. Whether you are Bucks County born-and-bred or just stopping by to enjoy the crisp river air and delightful scenery, you will be pleasantly surprised to find the largest and most diverse collection of books-in-print in Bucks County. Farley’s may have competition, but it has few peers. We encourage you to browse our website, but please remember that getting acquainted with our online persona is no substitute for exploring the narrow passageways and teeming shelves of our storefront and discovering that perfect book nestled amongst so many others.
New Hope for American Art
New Hope for American Art is the most comprehensive book ever published on artists from, and surrounding, the New Hope Art Colony (also known as the Pennsylvania Impressionists). This book, with its 612 pages and over 1,000 color plates of artwork include biographies of 165 individual Pennsylvania Impressionists and New Hope Modernists as well as artists from the Philadelphia Ten, a pioneering group of women all educated at Philadelphia art schools.
In this book, you'll find biographies and artwork from such artists as:
William Langson Lathrop
William F. Taylor
M. Elizabeth Price
S. George Phillips
Rae Sloan Bredin
Charles F. Ramsey
New Hope for American Art was authored, designed and published by James M. Alterman, an expert in the field of Pennsylvania Impressionist and Modernist painting. A longtime collector and owner of two fine art galleries, Alterman wanted to create a user-friendly book intended not only to educate collectors and enthusiasts about this art but to help train one's eye. The book offers valuable tips on how to avoid common mistakes often experienced by new collectors drawn from the author's personal experiences as a collector and fine art dealer.