Ralph Steadman - The Nice Man Behind The Evil Art [Radio Wales]


2018101920190111 (RW)

Ralph Steadman, who grew up in Abergele in north Wales, is one of the most recognisable visual artists of the 20th century. He's the illustrator that writer Kurt Vonnegut called “The most gifted and effective existential artist of my time.” Ralph is most famous for being the person able to perfectly capture the apocalyptic visions of Hunter S Thompson’s America and in doing so co-creating the infamous and influential Gonzo journalism.

In this programme we discover how the famously affable artist - something Ralph puts down to 'suffering from Welshness' - is able to create some of the most grotesque, violent yet sometimes sublime art. We found out how the mild mannered artist came to be labelled the 'crazier of the two' in the partnership with his longest creative collaborator - the famously unpredictable but prescient, to put it lightly, Hunter S Thompson.

Elis James discovers the long and prolific career of Ralph's that has included illustrations for Breaking Bad, Louis Theroux, Withnail & I, The Who, Frank Zappa, William Burroughs and shows no sign of slowing down - recently collaborating with two of America's biggest hip hop artists Travis Scott and Quavo. You might also have some hazy recollections of his unique work with Oddbins and Flying Dog Brewery...

In this documentary we hear contributions from director and sometime Python Terry Gilliam, award winning Occupy artist, author and journalist Molly Crabapple and illustrator and political cartoonist Martin Rowson.

Producer: Richard Power

A 7digital production for BBC Radio Wales.

Elis James travels to the studio of Ralph Steadman and chats to the celebrated artist.