Steve Bell

Mario Minichiello


Home page


Mario Minichiello is an Artist and teacher who lives in Market Harborough and works in Loughborough. I first met him when he invited me up to speak to a group of students at Loughborough University School of Art, where Mario runs the Illustration course, about life and work as a cartoonist. Talking about oneself is easy, unlike teaching, but I was totally unprepared for meeting Mario. His enthusiasm for his students and the work they do is overpowering. I'd never come across anything remotely like it in years of being an art student, teaching a bit, working as an illustrator and cartoonist and going into art colleges to do the occasional talk. Here is someone who loves drawing and isn't ashamed to say so. The course he leads is about drawing in all its forms, and since drawing seems to have become a kind of optional extra on most Fine Art courses, this was an eye-opener for me. I went home after an exhausting but fascinating day with a real sense of optimism.

The next time I saw him was when I had to travel up to Loughborough to appear before the magistrates on a speeding rap, so, feeling chastened and glum on a grey November day, I gave him a call. I'm very glad I did because that's when he showed me his Amsterdam drawings. Another eye-opener. I've always been fascinated by the idea of drawn reportage, and here at last I was looking at the real thing, and of such sheer quality and class. Once again I was bowled over and very nearly blown away.


Some drawings impress with their emotion and humanity, others impress with their technique; Mario's do both and, what is even better, because of the nature of their questioning, they make even this most cynical old hack want to go out and draw the world afresh. Mario's work has a keen sense of engagement with life outside the world of Art. His Amsterdam drawings are breathtakingly beautiful, disturbing, informative and emotionally charged.

With enthusiasm, intelligence, skill and sympathy, Mario Minichiello is bringing drawing back out of the doldrums of neglect and cultural disdain. And not a moment too soon.

Back to top


Steve Bell
Political cartoonist
Works for The Guardian newspapers in London.
Author of Maggie's Farm and Bell's Eye Works

October 2000