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.