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Recently, Limbaugh’s vitriol was in full display when he called Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student a ‘slut’ and a ‘prostitute’ because she passionately believes free contraceptives should become policy for women’s health. The mean spirited Limbaugh has neither an interest nor an understanding of women’s health or female contraception. He should be fired.
Late Thursday of last week, Ashford Stamper the Art Director at “The Pitch” in Kansas City called with a commission that was due the following Monday. The issue was going to press Tuesday. My son-in-law, Peter Noonan, is from KC so I asked him about The Pitch. He backed up my opinion from my previous internet search. The Pitch is an liberal, alternative news and cultural publication akin to our Seattle weekly, “The Stranger”. They were going to run a story titled, “No Healing” about the struggles of Dr. Ann Kristin Neuhaus who at one time worked with the recently assassinated Dr. George Tiller who had operated an abortion clinic. The Kansas Board of Healing Arts never did agree with the pro-abortion views of Tiller nor with Neuhaus. Since the death of Tiller the Board is seeking to revoke the medical license of Neuhaus under very dubious claims.
In a personal essay for the Sunday LA Times Op_Ed, Lorenza Munoz, fears returning to her homeland in Mexico for the holidays because of crime and violence. The art director, Wes Bausmith was able to run the image in color so using the colors of the Mexican flag in the flower was possible. The image also appeared large on the page which made it quite powerful and graphic.
Recently, I illustrated an essay for the LA Times OP_ED about Muslims in the US and I posted it here on my blog. In one of the sketches I addressed “Muslim Baiting” which is a term Haris Tarin, the author of the essay, used to describe a tactic the fear-mongers in our country are using this election cycle. Even though another sketch was selected for publishing I decided to take the sketch to final as a personal work.
Haris Tarin’s essay titled, “My Father Did Not Fear for Me, But I Am afraid for My Children”; parallels the openness and tolerance his Muslim, Afghan born father and mother experienced when they moved to the U.S. in the 1980′s and the bigotry and fear-mongering present today as Muslims seek to open mosques in regions of our country. He speaks of Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and the host of “Professional Bigots” building a cottage industry out of “Muslim-Baiting” in this election cycle. He refuses to allow the voices of fear minimize his father’s experiences and degrade the America he fell in love with. He writes that his children deserve better. “We all do”.
Eventually Wes Bausmith (AD) and I settled on the hands holding and supporting a mosque as our solution. We felt that it best reflects the positive ideals the author’s father revered about Americans. However, I really liked the power of a couple of the “Muslim Baiting” sketches too. Maybe someday.
About a month ago during a two week stretch I was contacted first by Aviva Michaelov of the New York Times; second, Heather Hopp-Bruce of the Boston Globe and third, Jim Brooks of the LA Times. All three commissions were for black and white OP-ED pieces. It’s always an honor to be asked and it’s also bit unnerving. Each commission is usually wrapped up same day if not in few hours. Lots of people see these pieces so I hope I’m on my toes. Fortunately for me, all three art directors are great to work with. They are calm under pressure and they know their stuff.
The NY Times piece: In an election year, both political parties are pushing for their own healthcare reform bill and not in a bi-partisan manner. I began with a reference to the caduceous, then the Sisyphean angle and then the kite flyers. Aviva ruled out the caduceous sketches because she said the next day there was going to be an illustration in the letters sections that referenced the caduceous. We went with the politicians and the rock. When I opened the paper the next day, I saw my piece on the OP-ED side and I saw my republican/democratic caduceous idea in the letters section. According to Aviva, the esteemed illustrator, animator R. O. Blechman had submitted an unsolicited illustration of a caduceous with two democratic heads. Aviva suggested that it be changed to a republican and a democratic head. The same idea, at the same time in different cities!
The Boston Globe piece: A primary care doctor with a two person practice has started a blog brimming with what she calls “close encounters of the life-saving kind”. The 55 word dispatches are like medical haikus-fleeting glimpses of a particular moment in the doctor patient relationship. She concludes her OP-Ed article by saying that she has the ability to get to the heart of a matter and make things better and there’s nothing more rewarding than that.
The LA Times piece: A first-person account of a California olive grower writing about how wars, economic troubles, etc. come and go but the olive tree endures. He talks about how his olive trees sustain him, his family and his community. My first sketch was a hand resembling the gnarly roots of this long lived tree. I later toned down the hand so it didn’t look like it was struggling. In some sketches I incorporated another hand to show community. In the end the editor thought the hand reference was confusing. I tried a version where the tree was inverted to become the roots of the grower. Still no go. The image that ran was the ancient tree offering protection to the grower.