Judy Horacek's beautiful and brilliantly funny observations are modern icons perfectly distilling the absurdities, foibles and the dilemmas of contemporary life. Ranging from the minutiae of daily living to larger scale global and environmental issues, her cartoons celebrate human creativity and resilience and are permeated with a concern for justice and a desire for laughter.
If You Can't Stand the Heat is a wonderful phantasmagoria of ancient fairy tales made new, of penguins, pirates and angels.
A scintillating new collection from one of Australia's most loved cartoonists.
Judy Horacek is an Australian freelance cartoonist, printmaker, writer, and illustrator. Her cartoons, with their strong, sassy female characters, appear on fridge doors all over the world. She has been widely published in newspapers and books, and her work appears on tea towels, aprons, and greeting cards. As well as cartoons, Judy makes children's books including her most recent, Yellow Is My Favourite Colour. She also created, with Mem Fox, the instant classic, Where is the Green Sheep? If You Can't Stand the Heat is her seventh cartoon collection.
If You Can't Stand The Heat
Author: Judy Horacek
Question Where did the idea for If You Can't Stand The Heat originally come from?
Judy Horacek: If you can't stand the heat consists of cartoons that I've done for various publications and places, including The Australian, The Canberra Times, for various commissioned jobs, for greeting cards, and some I've done just for myself. Every few years I like to gather together cartoons I've done, and publish a collection - this is my seventh. It's a great way for people to be able to see the cartoons, and it is wonderful for me the way the cartoons build into a book, which becomes something much larger than the sum of its parts. And the world is very lucky that there is a publisher like Scribe that is so committed to Australian cartooning and to publishing cartoon books.
Question Can you talk about why you choose the title If You Can't Stand The Heat?
Judy Horacek: Titles are almost the most difficult part of doing a book. For a few of my books the title has been obvious from when I start gathering the cartoons, in this case it was much harder. I wanted something that was a bit of a phrase, as most of my previous titles have been (Lost in Space, Life on the Edge) and something that seemed to me to give some feel of the whole. The best titles also work as a bit of an organizing principle - what goes in, what stays out. When I came up with 'If you can't stand the heat' it seemed to resonate with a number of themes in the book - climate change and global warming obviously, which quite a few of the cartoons are concerned with, but also more laterally with the way 'hot' has taken on a number of different meanings in our society. And the phrase itself seems to fit well with the way we live and the way society is, and these two things are what my cartoons are generally about. It's a cliché that works on a number of different levels and that fitted my purposes well.
Question How long did it take to compile all of the cartoon illustrations?
Judy Horacek: It took over year to compile, but I was working on other things in between times as well. I drew quite a lot of new cartoons for the book, but also some of the work is quite old - there are a few cartoons from years and years ago that had never seemed quite right for any of my earlier collections that suddenly seemed to belong to this one. There's a nice feeling of finally finding a book-home for them. The other thing that is important to me in compiling a book is to put the cartoons into some kind of pleasing order to create a whole - watching the rhythms and pacing and placing of topics. It may be an order that no one else ever notices, but I know it's there.
Question How does If You Can't Stand The Heat investigate the dilemmas of contemporary life?
Judy Horacek: If You Can't Stand The Heat consists of cartoons, which are mostly about contemporary life, about who we are and what we think, about the things we are concerned with at this point in time. There is the concern with climate change that I've already mentioned, and the destruction of the environment, but there are are also cartoons about the internet and social media, about relationships, knowledge, fairytales. Focussing on women's lives and using women as main characters has always been important to my work. There are quite a few cartoons about work - something which is such a large part of most of our lives. And there are quite a few plain silly ones - about singing monkeys and talking forks. Cartoons are about dilemmas almost by definition, and contemporary life is a never-ending source of material!