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Pat Oliphant

OLIPHANT, PATRICK - Sunday Punk Sunday 1983, Punk the Penguin tackles gender discrimination

Media Type: Pen and Ink
Art Type: Strip Art
Artists: Pat Oliphant All

Born on July 24, 1935, Patrick Oliphant was raised in a small cabin outside of Adelaide, Australia; he attended a one-room schoolhouse and went on to complete his formal education at a local high school. His interest in drawing was sparked by his father’s work as a government draftsman and he decided at an early age that he wanted to become a journalist. Uninterested in pursuing higher education and still a teenager, in 1952 he began working as a copyboy for Adelaide’s evening newspaper, The News, which had recently been inherited by a young Rupert Murdoch. The following year, Oliphant moved to a rival publication, The Advertiser, where he worked as a press artist, and by 1955 he was drawing editorial cartoons.

Frustrated by The Advertiser’s conservative editorial policies, Oliphant had his eyes set on working in the United States. Upon completion of a five-year commitment to the publication, he landed a job with the Denver Post after submitting an exceptional portfolio that singled him out over fifty other applicants. Within a year of joining the Post, his work was disseminated internationally by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. Oliphant’s reputation grew quickly and in 1967 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

In 1975, Oliphant moved to the Washington Star and five years later switched to Universal Press Syndicate. When the Star went out of business in 1981, he decided to remain independent, thus becoming the first political cartoonist in the twentieth century from a home-town newspaper to to work independently.
By 1983 Oliphant was the most widely syndicated American cartoonist, with works appearing in more than five hundred publications. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Oliphant has been recognized with numerous awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, National Cartoonists Society, National Wildlife Federation, American Civil Liberties Union, and the Washington Journalism Review. He retired from an active illustration career in 2015 due to challenges with his eyesight.

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