|Will Bunn "Bunny" Matthews III|
Bunny photographed by Lee Crum.
February 15, 1951 |
Bunny Matthews is a cartoonist from the Greater New Orleans Area. He is best known for his depictions of New Orleans characters and local dialect, especially Vic and Nat'ly Broussard, an overweight husband and wife who speak in what some call the Yat dialect and run a working-class corner bar and po-boy emporium in the city's Ninth Ward. In light of these characters' sometimes unfavorable reception, it bears noting that Matthews has often and repeatedly described others' use of the word "Yat" as derogatory. Matthews' cartooning style has been called "post-psychedelic baroque." Vic and Nat'ly first appeared in 1982 in Dixie, a former weekly supplement of The Times-Picayune. Matthews' first cartoon strip was the late 1970s, early 80s era F'Sure: Actual Dialogue Heard on the Streets of New Orleans published in the defunct New Orleans weekly paper Figaro, for which Matthews also wrote music reviews.
Some of Matthews' artwork can be viewed in the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge, the Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans, and gracing the sides of New Orleans bakery Leidenheimer Baking Co.'s delivery trucks. His original illustrations can be found in the Historic New Orleans Collection, which also commissioned Matthews to create a large mural for the official City of New Orleans Pavilion at the 1984 World's Fair. His exhibitions include "Chihuahua: King of New Orleans Dogs" (Scheurich Gallery), "The Art of Bunny Matthews" (Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans), "Bunny Matthews: Art For Heterosexuals" (Space Gallery), "Da Eve O'Destruction" (Vega Tapas Cafe), "Too Many Bunnies" (Arthur Roger 434), "Black and White" (Arthur Roger Gallery), and "The People of New Orleans From A-Z" (Arthur Roger Gallery). His monumental painting, "Nint'Wardica," based on Pablo Picasso's "Guernica," was displayed at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
During his career as a music journalist, Matthews interviewed countless celebrities including James Brown, Brenda Lee, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Eddie Bo, Ernie K-Doe, King Floyd, Bobby Marchan, Jessie Hill, Albert Collins, Elvis Costello, Mark E. Smith, Marilyn Chambers, Cab Calloway, Black Flag, Jonathan Richman, Suzi Quatro, Al Green, and 1978 Playmate of the Year Debra Jo Fondren. He composed album liner notes for artists including Smiley Lewis, The Meters, Earl King and James Booker, with whom Matthews was close friends till his death in 1983.
On February 15, 2012, Matthews' band, Bunny and the Playboys, performed for the first time at Tipitina's. The band includes guitarist/vocalist Christopher Stoudt, guitarist Anton Gussoni and bassist Colby Kiefer.
Matthews and his wife Debbie reside in Abita Springs, Louisiana, across Lake Pontchartrain north of the city. In 2015 he underwent multiple surgeries for a malignant brain tumor, from which he had largely recovered as of April 2016.
- Aaron Duplantier (2012). "Bunny Matthews' Worldview: Race, Art, and Love for New Orleans". Louisiana Folklore Miscellany.
- The Center for New American Media Channel. "Bunny Matthews Interview, 1984".
- D. Eric Bookhardt (2014). "Review: The People of New Orleans from A to Z". Gambit's Blog of New Orleans.
- Scott Jordan (2002). "The Bunny Pages". Gambit Weekly.
- Stephen Faure (March–April 2011). "Bunny Matthews". Inside Northside Magazine.
- Arthur Roger Gallery. "The People of New Orleans From A-Z".
- Alison Fensterstock (15 February 2012). "Bunny Matthews to celebrate his birthday tonight with an apocalypse-themed party at Tipitina's". The Times-Picayune.
- Keith Spera, "Bunny Matthews, creator of iconic New Orleans cartoon characters Vic and Nat’ly, battling back from brain cancer", The Advocate, April 2, 2016.
- http://www.offbeat.com/author/bunny-matthews/ (Archive of Matthews' Music Writing with Offbeat Magazine)
- Video of Bunny and the Playboys: The Antichrist Birthday Party, 2.12.12 @ Tipitina's. on YouTube on YouTube