Ralph Idris Steadman was born on 15th May 1936 in Wallasey, Cheshire.
A British artist best known for his satirical and provocative cartoons, he learned technical drawing when serving in the Royal Airforce (1954-1956). He sold his first cartoon to the Manchester Evening Chronicle in 1956 and then moved to London where he hoped to make a living as an artist.
After rejecting him many times, Punch magazine finally accepted one of his drawings and featured it on their front cover in 1961. As his work developed, some publications in London deemed it too provocative to print. Steadman felt the need to explore elsewhere in order to find outlets for his work. The USA fulfilled his need, and he was able to travel back and forth as required. Steadman worked as a political cartoonist with a variety of publications in the UK and in the USA throughout the late 1960s and ‘70s.
It was during one of his trips to the US, in 1970, that he met Hunter S Thompson, the American author and journalist with whom he collaborated on several projects. The most famous of these projects being Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas published in 1972, a story based on Thompson’s drug-induced experiences whilst travelling across America to Las Vegas with his lawyer in the 1960s.
Steadman’s illustrations and imagery were adapted for a 1998 film of the same name, starring Johnny Depp. Neither the novel nor the film received critical success when released but have since become cult classics.
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