Francis Cleetus

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Francis Cleetus
Cleetus at a book launch event
Nationality (legal)American
Occupation(s)Cartoonist, painter, sculptor, creative director, graphic designer, copywriter
Notable workIt's Geek 2 Me

Francis Cleetus (/ˈkltəs/) is an American cartoonist,[1] painter,[2] and sculptor.[3] He is also a creative director,[4] graphic designer,[5] and copywriter,[6] who has worked at various ad agencies including Foote, Cone & Belding, Ogilvy & Mather, J. Walter Thompson[7] and Doe-Anderson[8] in India, Hong Kong and the US.

A member of the National Cartoonists Society of America, Cleetus is the author of two It's Geek 2 Me tech cartoon compilations. He has created contemporary art inspired by Indian themes for multiple art shows in the US. He has also developed advertising campaigns for global brands including Moen,[9] Maker's Mark,[10] and MTV.[11]

Cleetus lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, and continues to work on visual art, brand advertising, corporate communications and pro bono projects.

It's Geek 2 Me cartoons[edit]

Cast of cartoon characters

A tech cartoon about people and their off-center relationships with technology, "It's Geek 2 Me" pokes fun at its ubiquitous role in people's lives. Cleetus self-published his first compilation of tech cartoons in 2012 titled Wish Your Mouth Had A Backspace Key in the United States through[12] In 2013, a new compilation titled It's Geek 2 Me – Total Timepass Tech Toons[13] was published by Hachette India for the Indian subcontinent. He has also drawn tech cartoons for the Pittsburgh Tech Council's TEQ magazine,[14] Tata Consultancy Services' @TCS magazine and other publications.

Contemporary Indian art[edit]

Adding finishing touches to a mural

In February 2012, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh commissioned Cleetus to recreate ceiling murals from a 16th-century palace[15] for their Tropical Forest India[16] exhibit. The Asia Institute – Crane House in Louisville invited him to host a solo exhibition[17] in June 2017. Pittsburgh's Not-white Collective featured his paintings in their 2018 juried exhibition[18] "In Between the Middle".[19] In January 2018,[20] the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council (GPAC) showcased "Karmalogue", a themed show that featured Cleetus' paintings, drawings and sculptures[21] as part of the Gallery Crawl[22] organized by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. In August 2018, the Westmoreland Cultural Trust put together "Conglomeration",[23] a group show that included his work. The RAW artists organization invited Cleetus in November 2018 to participate in their Pittsburgh creative showcase "Ovation"[24] that featured over 60 artists.[25] In January 2020, his paintings were part of the "Past, Present, Future" exhibit[26] organized by GPAC[27] along with 140[28] other visual artists.

Advertising campaigns[edit]

Kentucky tourism poster campaign

Cleetus has created multimedia advertising campaigns for global brands at ad agencies in three countries. After spending his formative years at Draft FCB in India, he moved in the mid-nineties to Hong Kong and worked at Ogilvy, JWT[29] and D'Arcy, before relocating to the United States in 2001 to work at Doe-Anderson.[30] In 2007, he moved to Pittsburgh-based agency MARC USA.[31] His advertising campaigns[32] have crossed geographic as well as cultural borders and won creative awards in Asia, Europe and the US.

Photo art for dogs[edit]

Fine art for refined dogs

A lifelong dog lover, Cleetus launched a collection of conceptual photography art just for dogs in 2019.[33] The entire collection[34] is conceived from a dog's perspective of the world,[35] and features larger-than-life dog portraits; fire hydrant centric scenery; dog food still life and renderings of chewed-up tennis balls.[36] The artwork[37] is specifically designed to be hung at a dog's-eye level near the food bowl and brighten up the pet's personal space.

Pro bono work[edit]

2019 PIC5K event and T-shirt design

In 2009, Cleetus worked with the Epilepsy Foundation of Western & Central Pennsylvania at MARC USA to create a community outreach ad campaign. The ads recreated the disruptive effect of seizures,[38] and the slogan 'seize back' urged people to help. Since 2013, Cleetus has been part of the executive committee (board member for two years) and art director at Pittsburgh Indian Community & Friends,[39] a non-profit that hosts the Annual PIC5K Run[40] in the city. The organization has raised over $650,000 for more than 30 local charities[41] including the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank[42] and the Allegheny County Fire Academy,[43] among others.[44] In 2021, Cleetus was invited to participate in the FISA Foundation’s “Southwest PA Says No More”[45] initiative in partnership with the Heinz Endowments and United Way. He joined a diverse group of Pittsburgh dads[46] to take a Father’s Day Pledge to help prevent sexual harassment, assault, and domestic violence.


  1. Total Timepass Tech Toons (August 2013, Hachette India, ISBN 978-93-5009-624-6)
  2. Wish Your Mouth Had a Backspace Key (October 2006,, ISBN 978-14495-8712-3)


  1. ^ "Cartoonist launches Cartoon compilation". Upper St. Clair Patch. April 3, 2012.
  2. ^ "Ceiling Murals at the Phipps Conservatory". Upper St. Clair Patch. February 16, 2012.
  3. ^ "Upper St. Clair painter and sculptor". The Almanac. January 18, 2018.
  4. ^ "Ad campaign for Mohawk Flooring". Adland TV. June 5, 2008.
  5. ^ "Maker's Mark ad campaign". Best Ads on TV. November 30, 2005.
  6. ^ "Print campaign for Moen faucets". Ads of the world. November 12, 2008.
  7. ^ "Print Ads – Pearl & Dean LED Panels". August 16, 1998.
  8. ^ "Cleetus leaves Darcy for US position". Campaign Asia. February 2, 2001.
  9. ^ "Print campaign for Moen faucets". Ads of the world. November 12, 2008.
  10. ^ "Magazine ads for Maker's Mark bourbon". Best Ads on TV. November 30, 2005.
  11. ^ "MTV – Magazine ads". Lürzer's Archive. April 10, 2000.
  12. ^ "Pittsburgh cartoonist takes aim at technology". PopCity Media. May 4, 2011. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  13. ^ "Hachette India releases 'Total Timepass Tech Toons'". Hachette India. August 15, 2013.
  14. ^ ""It's Geek 2 Me" Lands on the Pages of TEQ". Tech Burgher. April 30, 2012.
  15. ^ "Ceiling Murals at the Phipps Conservatory". Upper St. Clair Patch. February 16, 2012.
  16. ^ "Tropical Forest India exhibit to open at Phipps". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 27, 2012.
  17. ^ "Francis Cleetus Exhibition Gallery Opening". All Events Louisville. June 9, 2017.
  18. ^ "Notwhite Collective holds inaugural exhibition". Pittsburgh City Paper. January 10, 2018.
  19. ^ "In Between the Middle at the Brew House". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 9, 2018.
  20. ^ "Opening Reception :Karmalogue". Pittsburgh Arts Council. January 26, 2018.
  21. ^ "Vibrant Art on Display". Pittsburgh Patrika. April 10, 2018.
  22. ^ "Upper St. Clair artist's work featured in Gallery Crawl". The Almanac. January 18, 2018.
  23. ^ "Group Art Show :Conglomeration". Trib Live. August 2, 2018.
  24. ^ "RAW Artists Showcase:Ovation". Popular Pittsburgh. December 1, 2018.
  25. ^ "Pittsburgh Ovation Showcase". RAW Artists. November 28, 2018.
  26. ^ "Getting the Hang of It". Pittsburgh's NPR News Station. January 24, 2020.
  27. ^ "10 Years of Art on the Walls". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. January 23, 2020.
  28. ^ "10 Years and 140 Artists". Pittsburgh City Paper. January 24, 2020.
  29. ^ "Print Ads – Pearl & Dean LED Panels". August 16, 1998.
  30. ^ "Cleetus leaves Darcy for US position". Campaign Asia. February 2, 2001.
  31. ^ "Print Campaign for the Epilepsy Foundation". July 10, 2009.
  32. ^ "Maker's Mark ad campaign". Best Ads on TV. November 30, 2005.
  33. ^ "Because our pets deserve art too". October 23, 2018.
  34. ^ "Pittsburgh artist creates stunning art pieces for dogs". April 19, 2019.
  35. ^ "Artist designs visual imagery for dogs". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 21, 2020.
  36. ^ "Upper St. Clair resident goes to the dogs". The Almanac. March 18, 2020.
  37. ^ "Dog Art on display at Mt. Lebanon Artists Market". November 14, 2022.
  38. ^ "Ad campaign for the Epilepsy Foundation". October 7, 2009.
  39. ^ "5K charity event by Pittsburgh Indian community". July 2, 2015.
  40. ^ "Allegheny County Executive's Office". October 1, 2022.
  41. ^ "PIC5K Food Bank Fundraiser". June 16, 2020.
  42. ^ "Indian community responds to food crisis". July 4, 2020.
  43. ^ "Allegheny County fire backdraft simulator". March 23, 2019.
  44. ^ "Mary's Market celebrates anniversary". September 13, 2018.
  45. ^ "Pittsburgh's Father's Day Pledge". June 20, 2021.
  46. ^ "Southwest PA Says No More". May 19, 2021.

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