Jerrold (Jerry) Belland was born and raised on a dairy farm near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. His initial visual inspiration came from daily cartoon strips in the Chicago Tribune. Inspired by golden age comics like “Dick Tracy” and “Li’l Orphan Annie,” he came to visualize and draw out his own world. His youthful goal was to become a cartoonist. As a high school student, he published a weekly cartoon in the local newspaper.
He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1970. Soon after, he gained a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He held a day job as an art teacher for years as he slowly built a solid fine arts reputation in Wisconsin. In his career, he has won over 100 awards in various art exhibitions. His work hangs in hundreds of private and public collections.
In 2012, he won a Racine Art Museum fellowship. At that time he decided to return to cartooning. He returned with a vengeance. In quick succession, he has published four books of cartoons. His dark view of politics led to his third book, “Scott Walker in Hell and Other Delights.” This book was quickly followed by another book about the first year of the Trump presidency, “Donald Trump, the First Hundred Years.”
Belland maintains a studio in the inner city of Racine. Each day he drives down a street named Memorial Drive, taking mental notes as he goes. His “Memorial Drive Journal” is a series of paintings and drawings that counts about 20 paintings and over 100 drawings. This series of paintings has won many awards and has been exhibited widely.
Belland lives with his wife in Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin. He has two grown daughters. At 70 years old, he still maintains a rigorous studio practice.