Robert Ariail from the Low Country

By high school Robert Ariail was the school paper cartoonist, inspired by his 10th grade English teacher who introduced him to Pat Oliphant and other notable artists. The principal canned his first cartoon. “My first taste of the editor/cartoonist relationship,” said Ariail. He landed his first job with The State the month he graduated from the University of South Carolina, just the second cartoonist in The State’s history.

above: a couple cartoons from The State’s Robert Ariail archive depicting South Carolina politicians from 2017 and 2018

After leaving The State he looked for a staff position at other newspapers. Nothing. “I landed a contract gig with the Spartanburg Herald-Journal and later the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Each gig lasted about three years until the same cost-cutting newspaper chain bought the papers.”

The three-time finalist for The Pulitzer Prizes kept on keeping on, and today the Andrews McMeel syndicate distributes his work to over 600 newspapers. [link added]

Tom Poland for The Post and Courier profiles Robert Ariail.

Note: Ariail, a Columbia, S.C., native and University of South Carolina graduate, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from USC in 1985. His one-man show at the Koger Center Art Gallery in Columbia opens September 23 and runs until November 17th.

above: Low Country by Robert Ariail from the Charleston City Paper archives