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Stephen Kroninger
Colbert & Stewart
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Stephen Colbert and John Stewart for THE BAFFLER, art directed by Patrick Flynn. I've been working with Patrick since the beginning of time and it's always been a great pleasure. Patrick was among the first art directors to publish one of my collages and for that I am forever grateful. He's also been a great friend over the years, not only to myself but to the vast network of artists he's worked with, supported, encouraged and published over the years. The list of those is a veritable Hall of Fame of contemporary illustration in itself and it just keeps on growing. Many of those got their start with him.


I like my own caricatures unadorned, sans visual props. In this case the Baffler wanted Stewart and Colbert to be depicted as circus clowns, to which I dutifully obliged, but my heart belongs to the pure caricature. There is no preconception as to how the final piece wil look, no sketches. I begin slicing up bits of magazines and repostioning the pieces, the shapes, until a likeness appears. Years ago I was working with Andrea Dunham, now an art director at PEOPLE, on caricatures of John Travolta and Uma Thurma from PULP FICTION (to let you know how long ago it was). While moving pieces around I couldn't decide if it was finished or not. Andrea looked over my shoulder and said, "you don't even know when you're good" meaning I was finished. Now whenever I ask myself if a piece is finished I hear Andrea's voice and those words in my head. It was no different with Colbert and Stewart.  After completing the cut-outs the heads are then scanned into photoshop where the rest of the composition is completed.
  These are the finished pieces as published.

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  The politics as circus metaphor has been around a long time. I would guess that's it's pretty unlikely that an election cycle goes by at any time anywhere in the world without someone employing it. Here's a favorite by Erich Schilling from a 1927 edition of Simplicissimus. Unfortunately, Schilling changed his views about Hitler after the Nazis gained power in the thirties. He became a fervent supporter of the new regime and continued to work for Simplicissimus after it became a National Socialist propaganda organ. Schilling committed suicide in his Munich studio when the Third Reich collapsed in 1945. 



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