Mark Ulriksen
Haunted House
A couple of weeks ago I decided it was a good time in my schedule to submit some ideas for New Yorker covers. Of course the political nuttiness in DC was a ripe topic.

Initially I thought of a literal tea party, ala Alice in Wonderland.

Another thought was to show the current Congress in action; as in the Mad Hatter, the Joker, a sloth, a clown, a toad, a fool and a snake charmer with his "don't tread on me" snake.

Given that Hallowwen is around the corner, the Capitol and the House of Representatives as a literal haunted house seemed a great fit. I envisioned the Capitol with broken and boarded up windows, perhaps padlocked.
But my timing was off. Art Director Francoise Mouly was away in Australia for two weeks. And news like this is always in flux, tho I figured I could count on the Tea Party to never surrender their lunatic notions. So maybe my ideas would still be viable once Francoise returned.

Last Tuesday morning editor David Remnick requested submissions for ideas dealing with the current political mess. I emailed the magazine to remind them of my submissions of a week before and that afternoon I got word to move forward with my haunted house idea.
The magazine wanted a tite sketch and color study that evening and I would have the next day and night to complete the gouache painting.
And then my computer crashed.
In the end the painting was finished and uploaded by 2:30 in the morning. Editor Remnick suggested I push the current political angle, hence the ghosts of John Boehner and Ted Cruz. Had one last minute phone call with Francoise in Australia at 5AM her time. It was all a bit crazy. And my computer still doesn't work correctly. Haunted I guess.

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