His Short, Easy-to-Read Biography

This is how I became an artist

Rick Meyerowitz grew up in The Bronx, and although Ogden Nash famously wrote “The Bronx? No thonx!” it was a great and vibrant place to survive a childhood. In the 1960’s Rick studied fine arts and literature at Boston University. He returned to New York, found a loft in Chinatown that cost him $35 a month, (possibly the most memorable fact you will read here) and began life as working illustrator.

Rick has done thousands of illustrations for advertising agencies and magazines. George Plimpton, beer in hand, said of Rick’s art, “He does illustrations only a sourpuss wouldn’t love.”

For 21 years, from 1970 to 1991, Rick was the most prolific contributor of illustrated articles to the National Lampoon. He painted the iconic poster for movie Animal House, and created the Lampoon’s trademark visual, The Mona Gorilla, which has been called the best Mona Lisa parody ever.

His books include Nose Masks, Volumes One and Two, and twenty years later, Return of the Nose Masks (Workman Publishing); Dodosaurs – The Dinosaurs That Didn’t Make It (Harmony Books) and Elvis the Bulldozer (Random House).He adapted and illustrated two videos for children (Rabbit Ears), Paul Bunyan, narrated by Jonathan Winters, and Rip Van Winkle, narrated by Angelica Huston. Hardcover versions were published by Simon and Schuster.

Rick and Maira Kalman created the acclaimed New Yorker cover, “New Yorkistan.” It appeared on December 10, 2001, and sold out in a day. Later that week the New York Times wrote: “when their cover came out, a dark cloud seemed to lift.” Rick and Maira continue to work together on other projects and hope to lift many dark clouds.

In 2010, Harry N. Abrams published DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: The Writers and Artists Who Made the National Lampoon Insanely Great. It was the product of three years work, and told the story of those cartoonists and writers who were the foundation of the magazine’s great culture-changing success in the 1970‘s.

In May of 2013 Rick was a visiting lecturer at Beihang University in Beijing.


Roy and Trigger
Roy and Trigger. Oil on numbered canvas. Rick Meyerowitz 1953. Collection of the artist. Formerly collection of the artist’s parents. Attempts to donate painting to the artist’s children have failed.


Hy Meyerowitz impersonating Charlie Chaplin  and Maira Kalman's painting of that photo
In 1931, my father, Hy Meyerowitz, got a job impersonating Charlie Chaplin during the New York premier of the film City Lights. This is the photo. In 2005 Maira Kalman made this painting of that photo.


Rick’s fans have been asking what his future plans are. They also wonder why he continues to write in the third person. Some things can’t be explained, but here’s Rick’s illustrated vision of his future.

Self Portrait 2114


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“I can’t seem to escape the sins of my smart-aleck youth,” he said in 1964, seven years before his death. “Here are my amends.”

“I wrote those lines, ‘The Bronx? No thonx!’
I shudder to confess them.
Now I’m an older, wiser man. I cry,
‘The Bronx, God bless them!’”