15 Aug 2016

Michael Leunig: bringing whimsy to the world

From Upbeat, 1:07 pm on 15 August 2016

Michael Leunig is an Australian cartoonist, poet, painter, writer and philosopher; he talks to Eva Radich about the New Zealand psyche, the importance of following your inner duck and drawing as an act of expression.

Michael Leunig cartoon

Michael Leunig cartoon Photo: Supplied

Leunig has been bringing his famous brand of whimsy to Australia and New Zealand through his cartoons for fifty years.

He began his career in the mid-1960s and his work appeared in radical counter-culture publications nation review and Oz in the early 1970s.

His work was brought to a mainstream audience through Fairfax newspapers; Melbournes’ The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.

He is in New Zealand later this year taking part in the Dunedin Arts Festival with his talk, What I Have Found To Be True.

Leunig, now in his seventies, told Upbeat that growing old can increase one’s sense of wonder.

“One’s capacity for delight can increase with old age. I feel the young today are so oppressed by anxiety and driven, and kind of lost in a digital thing a little bit.

"And yet they have got hearts and souls that yearn to be free and to be delighted and to love, and I think it’s harder for them now.”

Leunig says that his mature years he have found him working with a new freedom.

“I don’t worry too much, the best is yet to come; one must always feel that I think.  The eagerness to invent and create and delight in something.”

Michael Leunig is at Dunedin Arts festival on 4 October.