February 23, 2018
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.

Pope From Hell

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 mich easier to scale back than to get looser once you 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.#1, Pope as Alien Bot.#2: As a kind of Swamp Thing.#3 With apologies to Brian Stauffer. I would have split the take with him, I swear.#4 More like portraiture and closer examinations of the face.
#5 Now the whole face and the pockets full of money and NC tell the story.
#6 Pope at last shows up and then is stuffed into the scanner ASAP. But I know he and his kind are never gone. Illustrators and cartoonists must keep a vigilant watch.  Or something.

Gratefuls to David Remnick, Chris Curry and Jane Mayer.


  1. jon casey says:

    Thank you for showing your process on this steve. I read the article on a flight home today. Your amazing work is like no other.

  2. Steve says:

    Thank you Jon. Very much appreciated. SB