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Stephen Kroninger
January 2008
John Kascht Describes The Inspiration Behind His Caricature of...
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These short films from washingtonpost.com are smart, funny and insightful. Kascht demonstrates how the features of each candidate reveal their character. They are also a helluva tutorial for budding caricaturists. One of the pleasures of the series is that Kascht isn't advocating for any one of the candidates but simply using his caricaturist's eye to get to the heart of their true nature. Good stuff. Artist John Kascht describes the inspiration behind his caricatures of Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee John Kascht's Website
Jack Davis and the Super Bowl
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It’s another Super Bowl Week and that gives me a good excuse for sharing this look back at a Jack Davis spread from the January 22, 1971 issue of LIFE Magazine. Each ran as a full page. As depicted in the opener, the Baltimore Colts and the Dallas Cowboys met in Super Bowl V. For those keeping score, the final was Colts 16, Cowboys 13. Text: “The last crunch-at last! At 8:30 p.m. last June 27, on a sultry summer evening in Lubbock, Texas, the cameras flicked on and Jim O’Bien of the University of Cincinnati kicked off for the East in the coaches All-America football game. Shortly thereafter TV addicts coast to coast were savoring their first crucial third down of the 1970-71 season. Summer mellowed into autumn and autumn raged into winter and promised “great halftime shows” came and went unwept. It will be all over-finally-next Sunday, Jan 24, after the Pro bowl all-star game in Los Angeles. Between June and January the three major networks gave us 500 hours of televised football-as many hours as an average man puts in on the job in twelve weeks. Artist jack Davis, as sturdy and faithful a fan as exists among tens of millions, here offers parting shots his musings on the season as it passed…and passed…and ran…and passed.”
Text: “A frazzled fan…”
Text: “…and his fantasy: There were games on Monday nights, and then playoffs upon playoffs, and bowls for every fruit and flower. The true fan was a man engorged with his mania, feared by those he loves, inflated of stomach and 10 yards wide at the eyeballs, happy only at feeding time on the screen. Davis imagines that by 1990, Superfan won’t have to put up with today’s homey clutter (above), but will require as much gear as an Apollo astronaut. To see games blacked out locally, he’ll cruise the country in his specially designed fanmobile equipped with a wall of TV screens (A) and stereo speakers (B), enabling him to follow every instant replay in the entire expanded 96-team league. His long-suffering family will be isolated in the driving compartment (C). A beer keg (D), headset, (E). mechanical masseuse (F), cigarette smoking machine (G), and a tape deck (I) for statistical reference will ease him through the games. An intercom (J) will provide minimal communication with his family, and a fluid-filled jar (K) stands ready for emergency intravenous feeding. Fanship, predicts Davis, will be no bed of AstroTurf.
Text: “And Now, a Word from Jim Thorpe: If the famous (but untelevised) Indian all-American of 60 years ago had a chance to comment on the past season, he would probably reply in a word of just one syllable.”
Here’s Jack Davis’ 1977 TIME cover for Super Bowl XI. Final score: Oakland Raiders 32, Minnesota Vikings 14.
another Davis Time football cover. This one on the October 16, 1972 issue featuring New York Jets Quarterback Joe Namath surrounded by fellow Qauterbacks Greg Landry (Detroit Lions) Bob Greise (Miami Dolphins), Johnny Unitas (Baltimore Colts), Fran Tarkenton (Minnesota Vikings) and Terry Bradshaw (Pittsburg Steelers).
A One-Way Ticket to Disaster
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This was done with Peter Morance for The New York Times.
The job really began to take shape on Christmas Eve. The idea was to do a bunch of celebrity train wrecks as a year end round-up.This was the sketch I sent to Peter and that he approved.
I worked on this deep into Christmas Eve. While I was working the kids were watching "Mark Morris' The Hard Nut" on TV. I can't help but think the music was an influence. The piece seemed to be getting overwhelmed as a set piece, a backdrop.
When I woke up on Christmas morning I decided to simplify the concept by dropping all of the periferal stuff and just keeping the train. I felt that with all of the characters that needed to go into this the piece it was just going to become too heavy, too busy. I drew up this quick sketch and sent it with my concerns on to Peter. He agreed.
Update with track. I had Paris Hilton engineer the train since she went to the hoosegow on a DUI.
Further along, some more sketching but nearing the finish.
art for Joe Klein's IN THE ARENA in TIME Magazine
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The first three were done with former TIME art director Edel Rodriguez.. In anticipation of the Iowa caucus, the first sketch has Obama skating effortlessly away as Hillary, in the background, is slipping and sliding trying to regain her balance. In the second sketch all three leading contenders have their feet tangled up in their race to the Iowa finish line. For the final we basically combined the two sketches, adding Joe Biden to replace Obama.
At every year’s end Joe Klein awards his Teddy’s in honor of those he feels most exemplify the principles and ideals of our twenty-sixth President. Notice that in the sketch Teddy is wearing his hat. In my first “Finish” I didn’t include the hat. Edel sent me an e-ail reading “WE WANT THE HAT!”
During my five year stint doing a stand alone political piece at the Village Voice I made the choice that each work should read with the immediacy of a poster. The aim was to simplify, simplify, simplify. This ran in the Voice in its June 21, 1994 issue. I liked the idea but thought the final was too busy. Looking at it today I think it’s really two separate ideas battling for attention. Lady Liberty with a gun and the country surrounded by a large wall topped with barbed wire. Either one makes the point. The image of Lady Liberty carrying a high powered rifle to defend the United States against “Your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” stayed in my mind and was an image I figured I’d revisit.
This is a stand alone piece done for The Progressive. Each month Patrick Flynn asked me to do a full page color on any political topic that came to mind. Lady Liberty came to mind again in 1996. Again, it may be too busy.
A recent Joe Klein column was “Immigration: The Hottest Issue.” I told Edel about my two previous, not completely successful Lady Liberties but that I really liked the concept and thought it would work well for this column. Edel shared my enthusiasm and asked me to send a sketch. In this version it’s kept real simple. I didn’t alter the statue’s expression and kept its actual stoic pose and attitude more or less intact. She’s just holding that rifle behind two strands of barbed wire. I think this would make a great poster.
This latest piece I did with Tom Miller. I’ve been working with Tom for years and it’s always a pleasure. Here’s Republican hopeful Willard Mitt Romney being pelted with tomatoes. Just a few words on Edel’s retirement from TIME. Edel is a wonderful art director. We were in sync from the first phone call. As we know from Edel’s work, he’s also heavily influenced by the visual language of posters. That eye always worked to the advantage of any illustrator he'd choose to work with. It was great working with you. May your freelancers life be all you hope it will be and more, Edel. You’ve earned it.
Ben Katchor: The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island
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 Anyone who is going to be in New York shouldn't miss this. I saw the original production back in 2004 and it was absolutely brilliant. I'm going to see it again.
Sue Coe
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Sue Coe is perhaps the greatest political artist of her generation. I can’t think of anyone who comes close. Whether one agrees with her point of view or not, her passion, her draftsmanship and her commitment to the causes she believes in can’t be denied. From Michael Brenson’s New York Times review of Sue’s first gallery exhibit: “Using collage and the vocabulary of outrage developed by Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Goya, George Grosz, Kathe Kollwitz and the Mexican muralists, Coe pieces together images that are direct and unequivocal…There are no questions asked; there is no curiosity about the other side or doubt that everyone is either part of the solution or part of the problem… Coe is not an artist who will reassure anyone who is troubled by the complacency and exploitation of the right but also by the inflexibility and exclusiveness of the left…And Coe’s images will reinforce anger about some or all of the issues with which she is concerned.”
Illustration as journalism: “Wait a moment. I don’t want to die this afternoon.“ was published by The Village Voice in its February 22, 1994 issue. Each piece is a full page. The design director was Robert Newman.

Text: “Wait a moment, I don’t want to die this afternoon.” by Sue Coe

On invitation from the Institute of Medical Humanities, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, I made paintings of the infectious disease ward. It is a hospital for the indigent and one of the foremost in the world for AIDS research and treatment. The following pictures are what I saw, or reconstructions of what I was told.

“It’s a horrible disease, it’s relentless-everything you throw at the virus, the virus moves around it. It never lets up-constantly putting the pressure on…I hate it.” Dr. Avery

“Doctors can’t stand insurance companies calling all the time, eying up staff hours, when they could be caring for patients. It’s hard to answer where future AIDS patients are going to receive care. THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN. There needs to be a lot of spreading of the word; the trouble is, there are not that many people listening.” Dr. Pollard
Infectious Disease Clinic: Outpatients, up to sixty a day. One patient to another…”They told me yesterday, I’m in shock.” “I was told six years ago, and I’m still alive and healthy, I’ll give my phone number, there are support groups, call me, I can help.”
Ethics Rounds: Crystal, 22 years old, white female, commercial sex worker. Late stage of AIDS. Six months of diarrhea, dizziness, lethargy, severe dehydration. Patient’s mental status has deteriorated. She is refusing medication and wants to go home. Doctors debate how aggressive to be with medication. The family insists Crystal receive medication. After much discussion, it is decided that the patient clearly refused treatment, when she was mentally competent, and those wishes have to be followed
Louis (Notes From Doctor’s Meeting): Louis, African American, Male, gay, age 35. Final stage of AIDS. B.P. is 118/80. The patient is not mentally competent or coherent, does not respond to questions. Patient is tied to the bed. Patient has renal insufficiency and hypertension. Doctors are surprised he is still alive. The family denies Louis is gay, and that he has AIDS. They want more aggressive treatment for cancer. Doctors have explained that every organ of the body is involved, and that louis should be in a Hospice.  The patient’s lover of eight years does not have any legal rights. Doctor Pollard says, “The law has to be changed, to give power to the significant other.” As the meeting ends, Louis’ father arrives and wanders from room to room looking for his son. Louis does not recognize him.
Kaposi’s Sarcoma: “He positions himself to me, like he wanted to be touched. He was also a Doctor, and my friend. People with full-blown AIDS are rarely touched. The skin wasn’t opened, so there wasn’t a need to wear gloves, but I thought I needed to, because the diseased flesh looked so awful. He went into a deep sleep. Two days later, he was dead. When was the last time you touched someone?”
Blue Bath: “The day before he died, he had a taste for a blue cocktail-type drink. He had diarrhea for a long time, and it was so bad, he could only eat and drink sitting in a bath. I watched as the drink went right
Sue began her career as an illustrator. Early on, Jerelle Kraus at The New York Times Op-Ed, Louise Kollenbaum at Mother Jones, George Delmerico at The Village Voice and Patrick Flynn at The Progressive were all art directors who gave her regular assignments. I first came across her work in the pages of Esquire. Sue’s first important gallery show was at P.P.O.W. in 1985. Today, her work can be seen at Galerie St. Etienne.
England is a Bitch, 1982, mixed media, collage on paper, 41 x 55”
Bobby Sands, 1982, Mixed media, collage on paper, 29 ˝ x 41”.
Defend Yourself to Death, 1982, Collage on paper, 5 x 3’
Riot, 1982, Pencil and tempera on paper, 5 ˝ x 4’
President Raygun Takes a Hot Bath, 1984, Graphite and mixed media on paper, 33 ˝ x 25”, The image as reproduced here is from the November 20, 1984 issue of the Village Voice.
Let them eat cake, 1984, Paint on canvas, 6 x 6 ˝” published in Mother Jones
Vivisection, 1979, Graphite on paper, 40 x 28”
The Last Dance, 1982, Tempera on paper, 4 ˝ x 3’
Reagan as Pig, 1982, Graphite on paper, 20 x 30” published in Raw Magazine volume 1 number 4 edited and published by Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly (March ’82).
Homeless Women in Penn Station, 1985, Graphite on paper, 30 x 22”
Peoples Republic, 1983, Graphite on paper. 20 x 30” from “How to Commit Suicide in South Africa” published by RAW books (Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly)
We Come Grinning Into Your Paradise, 1982, Graphite and collage on paper, 50 ľ x 70”
Jacket art for Kathy Acker's novel "Great Expectations" (1982)
Dorothy Day, 1983, Tempera on paper, 40 x 50” published in Esquire
War, 1991, Graphite and watercolor on paper, published full page in Entertainment Weekly. Art Director: Robert Newman. Great online collection of Sue's work at Graphic Witness This post deals with work that is out of print. For work that is in print, here are some links to Sue Coe collections currently available at Amazon. Dead Meat How To Commit Suicide In South Africa Sheep of Fools X Pit’s Letter Bully! BLAB! Check the contents of individual issues for Sue’s work all images ©copyright Sue Coe
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