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Steve Brodner
POPE FROM HELL
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The perversions created by Citizens United are many and growing.  The latest is where tycoons can buy an entire state. In this week's New Yorker Jane Mayer follows up her brilliant Koch Brothers exposé with one that blows the lid off the operations of Art Pope. Pope , a man born into wealth and who won't be happy till he has more of everything, including all North Carolina politics.  He is a great big bag in the tea party's pol pot (I've been waiting to use that). Democracy will increasingly fade, until we wake up.  Here's a good wake up call by the intrepid Ms. Mayer and the steadfast NYr.
On process:
I like to always start wild.  I tell my students to go crazy at first.  It is much easier to scale back than to get looser once you are in talks with an AD or ED about a piece. Here I started with an action image and then wound up with a portrait. The spiritual death inside a face like Pope's can sometimes imply more violence than a field of bodies.
I always try to get the best scrap.  With Youtube you can sometimes really see how the face works in motion and also how it sounds. Watching him introduce Ann Coulter to a red meat conservative group gave me a lot to use.  I make a sheet of heads (you know how to do a screen-grab: command/shift/4), print it out and keep it near my table.
 

 
#2: As a kind of Swamp Thing.
 
 
#3 With apologies to Brian Stauffer. I would have split the take with him, I swear.

 
#4 After some back and forth we get closer to portraiture for the piece. "Drawing in" to the face can be more than enough storytelling for an illustration especially if you begin to get a sense of the subject, which I was beginning to do.
#5 Finally it gets boiled down to the portrait with storytelling accoutrements.
#6 Art Pope, at last, makes an appearance on my table and then in the magazine this week. And happy to help get the story out.  In politics it's always about the big dogs eating first.  With Citizens United it looks like Big Dogs Eat All. Thanks to David Remnick, Chris Curry and Jane Mayer.



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