January 20, 2018
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.

Save The American Prospect

Below are some illustrations commissioned recently by The American Prospect.

Prospects for The American Prospect, a great magazine for politics and art, are looking dark. Now is the time for all good artists to come to the aid of their industry.  This magazine weds journalism and illustration especially well because of its brilliant art director Mary Parsons.  Many of us have worked with her at the Prospect as well as previously at The Atlantic and elsewhere. She understands the power of art and its place in print. As print shrinks we need to insist on a future where some publications can co-exist with web news. This is happening but not across the board. Print needs to survive because it communicates in a cohesive way that is different than on the web or in apps.  It is a complete entity, designed with a beginning, middle and end. It has the potential (albeit sometimes unrealized) of being beautuiful and something to treasure, if only until the next issue. Mary and editor Bob Kuttner do that here.  The journalism is top flight. Tough issues are explained with clarity and verve.

How can we help this magazine? By caring enough to contribute. The link is below. Please care about this. It’s bigger than the Prospect.  Bigger than any one of us alone.





















  1. ALEX MCCRAE says:


    In revisiting this article and Tim Bower’s deft stab at the corporate and military/ industrial complex propensity for fiscal gluttony, waste, and avarice at the expense of us 99%-ters, i couldn’t help but conjure up tunesmith Don Mclean’s 1971-released folk-rock classic, “American Pie”.

    Although many have speculated on what was McLean’s basic take-away message in this haunting self-penned tune, the consensus seems to have gravitated toward the notion of his mourning an American that had lost its trusting collective post-World War II innocence, and shared hope for a brighter future going forward.

    In his symbolically-laced lyric line McLean rues the day in 1959 when we lost the great rock &roll pioneer Buddy Holly and his musician mates (including The Big Bopper and Richie Valens) in that tragic mid-west plane crash; as well as alluding to the surreal Ted Kennedy Chevy-in-the-levee incident, the JFK assassination, and the trials and tribulations of the nascent Civil Rights movement of the sixties, culminating in the murders of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., RFK, and Malcolm X—-all this insanity playing out on the home front, as we continued to wage an ill-conceived and ill-fated war in Viet Nam. But I digress.

    In Tim Bower’s superb cartoon illo we are, in a way, looking at a schematic economic pie chart-come-alive in cartoon form; his symbolic, beautifully rendered visual showing the blatant slovenly greed, and wanton fiscal waste perpetrated and sustained by the corporate, and military forces in America, while the average Joe Public figure looks on, perplexed, and defeated, knowing the paltry crumbs are all that remains for him.

    Gotta love that C.F. Payne ‘Fathers of the Constitution’ satiric piece, as well.

    For me, there’s always a certain warm, calming glow that appears to emerge from Payne’s superbly rendered illustrations. Nothing seems out of place in his precisely resolved compositions. Perhaps ‘charming’ would be too simplistic a description.

    For some strange reason when I’m contemplating Payne’s work, I think of the super-controlled painterly technique of the great French neoclassical master, Ingre, who prided himself in the viewer of his paintings not being able to detect a single brush stroke. In other words, as smooth as a baby’s bottom. HA!

    I also appreciate how Payne’s caricatures are mild tweeks of likeness, rather than extreme takes on any given character, or celebrated personality. Less is more.

    Steve, your Romney ‘Six Faces’ piece is a stunner, as well. I couldn’t help but notice how you smartly incorporated the straight-combed-back receding hairline of our late President Gerald Ford, as an ‘extension’ of Romney slicked-back, jet-black coif. I’m thinking you planned it that way, although it may have been mere serendipity, truth be told? (I always thought Ford may have gone to the same hairdresser as Mao Tse Tung, w/ their mutual slicked-back hair styles. HA!)

    Hope you’re having both a fun and productive weekend. (We all know any illustrator worth their salt treats most weekends as just another couple of working week days, and tries to fit a modicum of a personal life in, where, and when ever possible. Oh well.)