Travels with Phil: The Art of Cartoonist Phil Frank
February 27 - April 10, 2016 Main Gallery Reception: February 27, 5-7 pm
Come explore the art and life of Cartoonist Phil Frank.
For this expansive exhibition, MarinMOCA will display Frank’s comic strips including the San Francisco-based “Farley” and nationally syndicated “The Elderberries” (written by Joe Troise), as well as a life size sculpture of Phil Frank and a recreation of his artist studio.
Phil’s artwork has illustrated materials for the de Young Museum, the S. F. City Treasurer, Small Business Bureau, minority businesses, BART, the San Francisco Giants, the San Francisco Water Conservation department, numerous regional utility companies and extensive educational materials for Yosemite National Park. This exhibition offers a look at the many sides and talents of this local treasure.
Phil Frank, the creator of the "Farley" comic strip passed away in the company of his family on the evening of September 12th, 2007 after a battle with brain cancer.
Having first run in 1975, first as a nationally syndicated cartoon and, for the last 22 years, as a local feature of the San Francisco Chronicle "Farley" was the only local daily comic strip in the country. With this format, a cartoon responding to changing news can be put in the paper for the next day's edition. When syndicated, the lag time between drawing the feature and its appearance in print was five weeks.
A life-long interest in history has kept Phil involved with many groups and projects. For the past twenty years he has been a steady volunteer with theSausalito Historical Societywhere he has given many talks and created a number of videos about Marin. As the acting Exhibitions Coordinator for the Bolinas Museum's History Collection he has created a dynamic one-room exhibit incorporating found objects, photographs and documents from as early as the 1900's. In conjunction with this exhibit he has done extensive research on the Briones family who originally owned the majority of what we now call Bolinas in western Marin County. This research evolved to the cooperative publication of Bolinas and Stinson Beach, printed by Arcardia Press. In October of 2008 they published a second historical title by Phil, The Houseboats of Sausalito. Other history-oriented projects include a series of cartoons for True West Magazine, maps for an upcoming printing of A Sense of the World .
The Elderberries, which was drawn by Phil and written by Joe Troise is still in print - Cory Pandolf has taken over the cartoon which runs in may national newspapers. In November of 2008 a compliation of these cartoons was published under the title The Elderberries: A Cartoon Collection.
During the 1980's Phil created another strip entitled Miles To Go centering on a large, friendly and footloose dog named Miles. The cartoon chronicled his adventures and humorous interactions with those he would meet on his travels.
Phil was a resident of Sausalito, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, since 1973 when he moved onto the houseboat, the Ameer, with his wife Susan. Both of his children, Stacy Frank and Phil Frank have benefitted from a creative upbringing - each have explored artistic careers as well.
Phil's cartoon illustration, either incorporating characters from the comic strip or drawings designed for the specific client have illustrated materials for the de Young Museum, the S. F. City Treasurer, Small Business Bureau, minority businesses, BART, the San Francisco Giants, the San Francisco Water Conservation department, numerous regional utility companies and extensive educational materials for Yosemite National Park.
Phil had long ties to the park system, initiated by the comic strip. He was a member of the board of the Yosemite Association and is an honorary California State Park Ranger. Susan Frank wrote a series of four guidebooks to National Parks (Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Muir Woods) which Phil illustrated. Well received, the series was reissued by Avalon Publishers by 2008.