Roz Chast at the 2007 Texas Book Festival
November 26, 1954
Rosalind "Roz" Chast (born November 26, 1954) is an American cartoonist and a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker. She grew up in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, the only child of an assistant principal and a high school teacher who subscribed to The New Yorker. Her earliest cartoons were published in Christopher Street and The Village Voice. In 1978 The New Yorker accepted one of her cartoons and has since published more than 800. She also publishes cartoons in Scientific American and the Harvard Business Review.
Rosalind "Roz" Chast is a graduate of Midwood High School in Brooklyn. She first attended Kirkland College (which later merged with Hamilton College) and then studied at the Rhode Island School of Design and received a BFA in painting in 1977. She also holds honorary doctorates from Pratt Institute and Dartmouth College, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is represented by the Danese/Corey gallery in Chelsea, New York City.
Chast's subjects often deal with domestic and family life. In a 2006 interview with comedian Steve Martin for the New Yorker Festival, Chast revealed that she enjoys drawing interior scenes — often involving lamps and accentuated wall paper — to serve as the backdrop for her comics. Her comics reflect a "conspiracy of inanimate objects," an expression she credits to her mother.
Her first New Yorker cartoon showed a small collection of "Little Things," strangely named, oddly shaped small objects such as "chent," "spak," and "tiv". Chast's drawing style shuns conventional craft in her figure drawing, perspective, shading, etc.; this approach is similar to that of several other female cartoonists, notably Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Lynda Barry. A significant part of the humor in Chast's cartoons appears in the background and the corners of the frames.
Her New Yorker cartoons began as small black-and-white panels, but increasingly she has been using color and her work now often appears over several pages. Her first cover for "The New Yorker" was on August 4, 1986, showing a lecturer in a white coat pointing to a family tree of ice cream.
She has written or illustrated more than a dozen books, including Unscientific Americans, Parallel Universes, Mondo Boxo, Proof of Life on Earth, The Four Elements and The Party After You Left: Collected Cartoons 1995–2003 (Bloomsbury, 2004). In 2006, Theories of Everything: Selected Collected and Health-Inspected Cartoons, 1978–2006 was published, collecting most of her cartoons from The New Yorker and other periodicals. One characteristic of her books is that the "author photo" is always a cartoon she draws of, presumably, herself. The title page is also hand-lettered by Chast, even including the Library of Congress cataloging information.
- 2014 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction
- 2014 National Book Award Finalist, Nonfiction
- Chast, Roz (8 November 2010). "The Talk of the Town: Postscript: Leo Cullum". The New Yorker 86 (35): 30. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- Chast, Roz (8 November 2010). "Shouts & Murmurs: Bananas". The New Yorker 86 (35): 40. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- 'The Party After You Left,' (Bloomsbury, 2004), "collects the best of Roz Chast's cartoons from the last nine years [1995-2004]"
- Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, and Health-Inspected Cartoons, 1978-2006 (2008)
- Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (Bloomsbury, 2014)
- Official web site
- Video: Roz Chast interview with comedian Steve Martin at the 2006 New Yorker Festival
- Interview with Roz Chast in Newsday, 2006