The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 12, No 1 (2024)

The Deadly Drawing: an artistic research by Self-reflective Steve

Steve Michiels


This article, consisting of 31 illustrations with annotation, presents the result of an artistic research project revolving around the question of how to use one’s power as a creator of humour. The reader/viewer is presented with insight into the life and thinking of cartoonist/artistic researcher Self-reflexive Steve, who engages in self-investigation because he is conscious of the virtues as well as the dangers of humour. In a globalised, diverse, and democratic world, it is important to consider different sensibilities within society. Self-reflexive Steve always regarded humour as a form of connecting communication, because when people are able to laugh together, they understand each other. However, Self-reflexive Steve increasingly wonders whether he has achieved his set targets, as he primarily acts for a captive audience and creates his humorous drawings from a safe stand-off in his ivory tower. His publications are always endorsed by the editorials of the magazines he is working for and this within a society where humour makers are protected and esteemed. However, in today’s society humour is frequently used to divide. As a cartoonist/researcher, Self-reflexive Steve explores the limits of his medium, deliberately going off the rails at times. As a humour maker he seeks to reclaim the right to use fantasy, lies, distortions, exaggerations and wild associations from those in power who deploy these qualities of humour to divide and rule.