Moorhead native wins national award for editorial cartoons

MOORHEAD--One semester was all Devon Manney needed to win a national award for his editorial cartoons. The 21-year-old Moorhead native who recently finished his junior year of animation studies at University of Southern California's School of Vis...
Illustration by Devon Manney / Special to The Forum
Illustration by Devon Manney / Special to The Forum

MOORHEAD-One semester was all Devon Manney needed to win a national award for his editorial cartoons.

The 21-year-old Moorhead native who recently finished his junior year of animation studies at University of Southern California's School of Visual Arts was named the 2016 recipient of the John Locher Memorial Award.

The award, open to full-time student cartoonists ages 17 to 25, comes with a $1,000 cash prize and a trip to Durham, N.C., next month to attend the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists annual convention.

"It was a really big shock to get the award, but I could not have been more enthusiastic about it," Manney said. "I'm really grateful for the opportunity they're giving me, and they seem to really enjoy the way I'm expressing the ideas."

The artist and aspiring independent filmmaker took up editorial cartooning during the spring semester, contributing pieces to USC's student newspaper, The Daily Trojan. He had made cartoons before, especially when he had a funny idea or a political statement to make, but said that only happened "fleetingly" before last semester.

While Manney enjoyed the work, he said he likely won't be able to do it during his senior year. He'll need to focus on his thesis film during the fall semester, he said, and he'll have other projects that will keep him busy.

The remaining days of the 2016 election season also don't appeal much to Manney.

"It's hard to be humorous with an election that's already so innately humorous," he said.

Still, he said editorial cartoons will always be "a huge part" of his work, whether he's storyboarding for a California film studio, working as an animator or developing his own independent films.

"I think taking more serious issues and trying to find humor in them is a major part of art in general," he said. "For me, doing that with more political and social issues is just vital to the way I think about the world."