Free Expression The Subject Of Display

“INX, A 20 Year Retrospective,” is being held at St. John’s University in Sun Yat Sen Hall through March 2. The exhibition, which opened in January, consists of more than 200 black and white editorial page drawings encompassing the Reagan to Clinton years.

Artists from the INX group came to St. John’s on Jan. 24 for a presentation and forum on the exhibit. The show offers a retrospective on world affairs through the eyes of the artists. They were able to get together and discuss their recent work as well as their work from the past.

INX is a group of artists from various newspapers, mostly the New York Times, who came together to illustrate their views freely without censorship. The name is a play on the word “inks” and stems from the line, “a drop of ink can make a million think.”

INX originated in the early 1980s by a group of freelance artists who syndicate their work to various newspapers and magazines, including The Seattle Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. “INX is a way for the artists to express themselves more freely,” said artist Martin Kozlowski. “They wanted to break away from a set newspaper and begin something where they would no longer be censored.”

Around 1982-83, United Feature Syndicate picked up INX to help promote and handle distribution of their work. United Feature Syndicate also works with cartoons such as “Peanuts” and “Dilbert.”

Thomas Kerr, a member of INX and an associate professor of illustration and design in the Department of Fine Arts at St. John’s University, played a major role in organizing the entire event. Kerr was the creator of the exhibition at Sun Yat Sen Hall and had been working on the project since late October. “He was responsible for talking to the artists and putting everything together,” said Ashim Molhotra, a graduate assistant at the gallery.

Some of the illustrations at the event include Felipe Galindo’s “Big Business” from 1990. The illustration portrays a large man behind a desk with two boxes. One box, labeled “IN,” was empty while the other box, labeled “OUT,” was completely filled with tiny replicas of people. Other illustrations include Seth Tobelman’s “Los Angeles Riots” from 1992, and Thomas Kerr’s editorial drawing from 1996 depicting “Yasser’s Nimble Dance With Israel.”

“The [opening] event went off very well and many of the artists were in attendance,” said Kerr. “They spent time talking about their work and sharing insight on their illustrations.”

Peter Kuper, who has been with INX since 1984 and also has a weekly political comic strip in the Sunday edition of the Daily News, found it “exciting to see all the work together. “It was a history of over two decades of history through illustration.” Kuper’s work includes, “Rwandan Civil War” from 1994 and “Gun Control” from 1990. “Gun Control” was an editorial drawing depicting a ferocious dog whose body parts were made of various steel guns.

According to Kozlowski, “the event was great and I am so grateful to St. John’s for hosting us. A lot of the credit goes to Thomas Kerr, who was extremely involved with the entire project.” Kozlowski has been with INX since 1984. One of his pieces on display included Uncle Sam’s Fix from 1987. The illustration is of a giant man injecting an oil rig into his forearm, the American flag tied around his upper-arm, and oil barrels scattered along the bottom.

Carolyn Barragan, a sophomore and psychology major at St. John’s said it “was very interesting to listen to the various artists discuss their work.”

Other artists in attendance included Randy Jones, a founder of INX, Yvonne Buchanan, who illustrated “The Pope’s Travels” in 2000 and Igor Kopelnitsky, the creator of “Verbal Abuse,” also from 2000.

The group has been growing since its inception and now has more than 4,000 illustrations covering the last two decades.

More information on the exhibit can be found at the Website www.inxart.com.