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chast

Roz Chast

Roz Chast (born November 26, 1954) is an American cartoonist and is a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker. She grew up in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, the only child of an assistant principal and a high school teacher who subscribed to The New Yorker. Her earliest cartoons were published in Christopher Street and the Voice. In 1978 The New Yorker accepted one of her cartoons and has since published more than 800. She also publishes cartoons in Scientific American and the Harvard Business Review.

Chast's subjects often deal with domestic and family life. In a 2006 interview with comedian Steve Martin for the New Yorker Festival, Chast revealed that she enjoys drawing interior scenes — often involving lamps and accentuated wall paper — to serve as the backdrop for her comics. Her comics reflect a "conspiracy of inanimate objects," an expression she credits to her mother.

Her first New Yorker cartoon showed a small collection of "Little Things," strangely named, oddly shaped small objects such as "chent," "spak," and "tiv". Chast's drawing syle shuns conventional craft in her figure drawing, perspective, shading, etc.; this approach follows in the footsteps of several other female cartoonists, notably Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Lynda Barry. Much like The Simpsons, a significant part of the humor in Chast's cartoons appears in the background and the corners of the frames.

Her New Yorker cartoons began as small black-and-white panels, but increasingly she has been using color and her work now often appears over several pages. Her first cover for The New Yorker was on August 4, 1986, showing a bewildered man in a white coat pointing to an evolutionary chart devoted to ice cream.

She has written or illustrated more than a dozen books, including Unscientific Americans, Parallel Universes, Mondo Boxo, Proof of Life on Earth, The Four Elements and The Party After You Left: Collected Cartoons 1995-2003 (Bloomsbury, 2004). In 2006, Theories of Everything: Selected Collected and Health-Inspected Cartoons, 1978-2006 was published, collecting most of her cartoons from The New Yorker and other periodicals. One characteristic of her books is that the "author photo" is always a cartoon she draws of, presumably, herself. The title page is also hand-lettered by Chast, even including the Library of Congress cataloging information.

She first attended Kirkland College and then studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and received a BFA in painting in 1977. She also holds an honorary doctorate from Pratt Institute. She is represented by the Julie Saul Gallery, and currently has a show

She lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut with her husband, the humor writer Bill Franzen, and their two children, Ian and Nina.

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