BY LEE ANN SANDWEISS
Kevin Pope has a funny way to live—literally. Humor has been his bread and butter for almost 30 years.
“I had graduated from IU in 1981 with a fine arts degree and was working at the IU golf course when I got my big break. It was the cover illustration for a Canadian publication—the Ottawa Business Magazine. I made more money on that job than I made in two weeks,” Pope recalls.
Pope’s next move was to Chicago with his wife Kim, and his career took off. His work regularly appeared in Playboy and the Chicago Tribune, and his art and cartoons were licensed by Recycled Paper Greeting Cards. In 1983, his daily syndicated newspaper cartoon panel, “Inside Out,” was distributed nationally by Tribune Media Services.
With Kevin’s career in high gear and first child on the way, the couple returned to Indiana to be close to family. In 1987, they moved into their current home overlooking Lake Monroe. Eventually, Kevin built his studio over the garage, into the side of a hill.
“It has a great view and terrific light. The only possible downside is that I’m pretty isolated. My New Year’s resolution every year is to get out and be more social,” Pope says.
Fortunately, his work continues to get out into the world, even if he doesn’t. His cartoon “Melvin and Jenkins” regularly appears in MAD magazine, and a gallery exhibition of his recent paintings lead to a gig with Oliver Winery that has brought his work to a grocery store near you.
“Bill and Kathleen [Oliver] came to my show at Michael Lindsay’s studio in October 2010, and Bill asked if I’d ever done any product packaging, and I had. It went from there,” Pope explains. “It was a dream job. Bill had a great product idea, and he gave me complete creative license to come up with some unusual designs for the bottles, packaging, and store displays.”
As a result, the winery’s new Beanblossom Hard Cider recyclable aluminum bottles are colorfully wrapped with Pope’s whimsical characters and clever stories and displayed in wooden old-time “shacks.”
“I enjoy painting now—it’s what I went to school for,” says Pope. “But I still love cartooning. I’ll never quit.”