The work of British illustration icon Ronald Searle, who passed away two years ago at the age of 91, has influenced innumerable illustrators, designers, cartoonists, and animators over the past sixty years. One of the artists who can claim to being inspired is veteran story artist Matt Jones, who works at Pixar by day and curates the Ronald Searle Tribute blog by night.

What sets Matt apart from the average fan is that he became friends with Searle during the last years of his life, visiting him numerous times in the south of France and exchanging frequent letters. Now, Jones has hatched a plan to shine greater attention onto Searle’s work in the United States by staging the first-ever West Coast art show of Searle’s artwork. The show, “Searle in America,” will exhibit the drawings that Searle made in America while on reportage assignments for Holiday magazine, like the top view of American sailors in Honolulu or this view of a slot player in Las Vegas:

Jones is collaborating on the exhibit with San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum. However, the cost of shipping Searle’s artwork from Europe and printing a catalogue are prohibitively expensive for the non-profit museum. To help raise money for the show, they are organizing an auction of new illustrations and paintings inspired by Searle. The Cartoon Art Museum will begin the auction later this month on eBay and all the money raised will go directly toward the costs of presenting the show.

I’m rooting for them to pull this off because it’ll provide a benefit to the entire visual arts community on the West Coast who will have an opportunity to see Searle’s original artwork. Jones is inviting artists to mail their own Searle-inspired contributions for the auction by July 15th. For more details, you can contact him via this page.

Here’s a preview of some of the artwork that will be auctioned, a lot of it which is created by artists who work in the animation industry:

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