THE NOT-SO-PLAIN DEALER

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Letter to the Editor, published June 30, 2012

This letter was a bright spot: It’s easy to write to criticize or complain, but darn rare to write to praise. When someone takes the time to do the latter, it has real meaning.

Chris Morris’s illustrations for the Plain Dealer have been catching my eye for months — witty pen-and-ink caricatures reminiscent of Al Hirschfeld, culminating in his retrospective tour de force for this year’s Rock Hall Induction ceremony; graceful silhouettes of a stylish dining couple for the covers of the A-List Restaurants Guide in late April; and countless clever graphics throughout the year. But his portrait of Charlie Sheen in the June 23 Arts & Life section — made entirely of matchsticks, and captured on film by Martin Fong as it went up in flames — was not only a laser-sharp portrait, but a brilliant example of medium as message.

In fact, graphic art throughout the newspaper seems to have raised its game lately — like Ted Crow’s affectionate, poignant illustration Saturday for the article about elders raising their grandchildren. These illustrations complement and enhance the stories they accompany, and add to the pleasure of reading the newspaper. Kudos to the entire art department at the Plain Dealer!

Mark De Guire
Cleveland Heights, OH

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