We can’t get away from Donald Trump. Newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, internet, Twitter(!). Everywhere, every day, every hour. Some people feed on it. Others tune out. Others are angry and want action, if not to impeach him, to make sure he’s not reelected. One thing for sure, the presidency of Donald Trump has been a gold (no, yellow and orange) mine of creativity for political illustrators and cartoonists.
‘Trump’s Worldview’ by André Carrilho. “This was for Diário de Notícias, a Portuguese Daily newspaper for which I do a weekly editorial cartoon. I have the freedom to choose the subject and do pretty much what I want, within reason, Carrilho. says. “When I draw Trump, I try to somehow convey my disgust with his policies. I’m drawing him less now, since all limits to decency seem to already have been explored and shattered.”
“We work in a world where it seems impossible to effectively shame the shameless,” comments New York-based satirical illustrator Victor Juhasz. “But we keep trying. Boss Tweed was shamed and humiliated by cartoonist Thomas Nast. Even Nixon, with his massive ego, could be shamed. The current White House occupant exhibits zero self-reflective capacity, and his minions feast on his shamelessness like rare steak. Do our illustrations and cartoons change anything?” Juhasz asks rhetorically. “Satirical illustrations are appreciated by those who share similar perspectives, and despised or ignored by those who don’t. It would be foolhardy to imagine anyone in the Trump camp being stirred to reflection because of an illustration done by me or my colleagues. If anything has changed, it’s the intensity of America’s political and social divide, which is split into tribes that seek news and commentary that mirror only what their side believes — and to hell with any other point of view. Add to that partisanship the invective of “fake news” intended to shut down debate, and you have an environment in which we illustrators are trying to keep up and make visual sense of the daily, often hourly, melodrama and chaos.”
The act of lambasting Trump on magazine covers is certainly not limited to U.S. publications. Der Spiegel (Germany) and New Statesman (UK) have run some of the most biting images. “People tell me that now is a good time for cartoonists and caricaturists,” says Portuguese illustrator André Carrilho. “My Donald Trump illustrations, which have appeared in publications in the USA, UK, France, and Portugal, may support such a conclusion. We illustrators are the thriving scavengers during the political tsunami that has descended on the western hemisphere, its orange epicenter carelessly splashed across the walls of the White House. Because we artists feed on the absurdity of existence, the current President of the United States is undoubtedly a feast. The very fact that the millions of people in the USA and around the world whose fate he now controls, manage to wake up every morning without screaming in panic is reason for hope in the resilience of human nature. So we keep on drawing.”
With TIME’s August 22 “Meltdown” cover in the aftermath of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Rodriguez started something big and fiery, yellow and orange.
Google “Edel Rodriguez Trump images” and this is what you get.
The original “Meltdown”: after the Democratic National Convention, when it looked like his hopes were melting away.
An then, on October 7, 2016, two days before the second Presidential Debate, the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape aired. Trump bragged, “I don’t even wait. When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything… grab them by the pussy.” For a while, it looked like this would be the meltdown that would put an end to the Trump campaign. Rodriguez and TIME responded with this cover:
TIME on the American Society of Magazine Editors Cover of the Year award for its Oct. 24, 2016 cover, an illustration created by Rodriguez.
The August 25, 2017, issue of The Washington Post, featured an article written and illustrated by Rodriguez. He wrote, “Over the past year, I’ve sometimes strained to differentiate my adoptive country from the dictatorship I fled. Violence at political rallies, friends watching what they say (and noting who is in the room when they say it), and a leader who picks on society’s weakest — this has felt all too familiar. I began making art about what I saw, to bear witness. I wanted to hold up a mirror to the President’s daily abuses of the Constitution, test the rights given to me by that Constitution. I wanted to find out if this is really the land of the free, the home of the brave.”
“I would give all of that up for a return to normalcy,” Rodriguez says. “A return to the idea that the magic of America lies in the fact that it is a country of immigrants and will always be.”
“I make this work as a response to my own curiosity and fury at witnessing the destruction of all life for profit,” Coe says. “Anyone resisting can make use of it. Early images were made for demonstrations and free handouts. This work is done quickly and printed very cheaply. I assume much of what exists online is not real live humans, but bots manipulating each other for power and control, which makes the real print, held in real hands, so much more powerful… paper that is stronger than it looks, and the smell of fresh ink. Black and white. There is no grey area possible in lino prints, and no grey area morally, to tolerate these venal grifters.” Coe is represented by Galerie St. Etienne in New York.