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Cartoonist Tony Husband celebrates over 37 years with Private Eye at new Gallery Oldham exhibition

Gallery Oldham’s latest exhibition celebrates the work of multi-award-winning cartoonist Tony Husband.

Tony, who hails from Blackpool has had work published in national newspapers such as The Times, Daily Mail and Sunday Express as well as magazines ranging from Playboy to The Spectator.

He wrote a comic strip called OINK which was published in Manchester in the 1980s and now lives in Hyde having spent time growing up in Audenshaw and Werneth Low.

OINK magazine

Tony has been a regular contributor to Private Eye for nearly four decades now, with a range of gag cartoons complementing his regular Yobs strip.

Remarkably, he has been featured in every issue of Private Eye since 1985.

His life work is now the subject of an Exhibition at Gallery Oldham, documenting his rich, celebrated and varied career.

He has previously worked with the Oldham Dementia Group at the Gallery Oldham creating a series of banners that were displayed across the country,  helping them to raise awareness around the disease after his father tragically was diagnosed.

Tony is also author a on Dementia, ‘Take Care, son: The Story of My dad and his Dementia’ and also illustrated a book by Gina Awad, called ‘United’.

The former won huge plaudits of Stephen Fry, who describes Tony as ‘one of the greats’.

The legendary Griff Rhys Jones has commented that he ‘is even funnier than me’.

An illustration from Take Care, Son

Speaking to I Love Manchester, Tony said: “I have loved this job – it’s great to be sharing what’s happened over the years with everyone who wants to see this exhibition.

“My job is basically a social commentary really, on people’s relationships with life. My work with Private Eye centres around my comic strip, Yobs.

“I was beaten up as a young man by a load of skinheads, but I’m not a violent person, so instead of retaliating I just wrote a comic strip about it.

“I used to draw loads of skinhead gags and Ian Hislop seemed to like them, so he asked me if I wanted to write a strip called Yobs.

“He said he would give it a short run, and it lasted for 38 years.

“Private Eye is like a family, we’re all friends and to be fair it’s an important publication these days for speaking truth to political power.

“You don’t get that in many other places these days.

“They are absolutely vital and it’s been a wonderful thing to be involved in.”

One of Tony’s illustrations for Private Eye

From the world of Oink comic to his recent work with the dementia community, including here in Oldham, Tony’s illustrations and world view have touched a great many lives.

The exhibition brings together a selection of Tony’s most popular and favourite cartoons.

It also features a range of other work from his prolific output – giving a sense of the breadth of his work from over the years. Many of the works on display are also available to purchase.

Tony spoke about some of the other highlights of his career.

He said: “For twenty-five years I also worked for several national newspapers doing their sports cartoons, and I wrote a comic with my friend Patrick Gallagher and Mark Rodgers called OINK, which was based in Manchester.

“I’m not sure how it happened but there were calls for the comic to be banned in Ireland by Ian Paisley, and we somehow ended up on WH Smith’s top shelf!

“It was a great time really. Following on from the comic we created Around the Bend, a TV spin off. The Spitting Image team did the puppets and Aardman did the 3D animation too.

“It’s been a great varied career, I’ve even toured with the poet Ian McMillan up and down the country playing various village halls with a poetry and cartoon show called ‘A Cartoon History of Here’.”

Tony also wrote co-wrote a play and accompanying book, Save The Human, with David Wood.

The exhibition launches with a special event on Saturday 4 February, 1-4pm.

Visitors can come along to meet Tony and see him in action as we celebrate the career of the nation’s hardest working cartoonist.

You can also join Tony for a guided tour of his exhibition and to hear some tales from his career on Wednesday 22 February.

The exhibition runs until 13 May.

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