Blaine Canadian political cartoonist was born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, and later relocated to Hamilton, Ontario. He was born on July 7, 1937, dead on February 5, 2012. His work was published in The Hamilton Spectator.
Blaine was the name used by Canadian political cartoonist Blaine MacDonald. He was anything but bland. He had a black belt in karate, played guitar and sang liked wearing cowboy boots and jewelry and was remembered for driving motorcycles and a Corvette Stingray monogrammed with a drawing of a butterfly on the hood. The story goes that he once picked up an injured butterfly by the side of the road, nursed it back to health, and then used the experience of releasing it for inspiration to buy lottery tickets. He matched numbers to the letters of the song Butterflies Are Free (B=2, U=21, etc.) and won $15,443 in Lottario.
He gained a profile in the world of cartooning, adopting a style that was strongly influenced by the great Toronto Star cartoonist Duncan Macpherson, he legally changed his name to Blaine. For his editorial cartooning, He received National Newspaper Awards, a Reuben Award and a Salon of Cartoons Grand Prize. He created a national profile for himself and the paper through the syndication of his work. Roy Carless, a local cartoonist who died in 2009, once described Blaine as “probably the most brilliant caricaturist that I ever met. A lot of artists were jealous of him.”
Other Blaine admirers included Pierre Trudeau, who wrote to Blaine in May 1969, saying: “I am not sure whether it is more foolhardy for a politician to praise the work of a cartoonist, or to refuse to do so — particularly when the cartoonist holds a black belt in karate. In any case, I freely admit to enjoying your drawings, both the lifelike pencil portraits and the imaginative political caricatures. Keep that pencil sharpened. My fellow politicians and I will keep you well supplied with material.”
But actually, it was Blaine who owed thanks to the former prime minister. Trudeau was one of the cartoonist’s favorite subjects and he won a National Newspaper Award by depicting him putting his middle finger into a light socket with one hand and holding an illuminated light bulb with the other. The caption: Finger Power. His caricatures of Trudeau have a special meaning to The Spec’s current editorial cartoonist, Graeme MacKay. Years ago, as a Grade 10 student with a sketchbook tucked under his arm, MacKay went into The Spec’s newsroom to meet Blaine.
He received the National Cartoonist Society Editorial Cartoon Award for 1969. In 1963 Blaine became the first cartoonist ever to win the now internationally famous Salon of Cartoons, in Montreal. He once presented a pencil sketch of Lindon B. Johnson to him at the White House.
Blaine was the newspaper’s editorial cartoonist for 30 years until his retirement in 1993, had been in poor health in recent years after heart surgery and a stroke and was living at Macassa Lodge. He died at Juravinski Hospital on Sunday evening.
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