I recently revisited a lapsed homework assignment from last Summer’s illustration course–a short graphic memoir about a small lesson I’ve carried with me from one of my early jobs in TV.
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Also known as Doomscrolling, as this Wired article explains. 2020 has been a tsunami of terrible news and disheartening human behavior.
If there’s any bright side to 2020, it’s that more and more people are realizing that the gaslighting of the last four years, where reason and empathy gave way to politicizing previously objective things, is slowly but surely crumbling. Viruses don’t care about politics. Scientists, it turns out, know a lot more about science than game show hosts. People of all stripes are marching in the streets, not out of some radical cause, but for the simple notion that the skin you’re born into shouldn’t automatically preordain a life of exclusion and harassment and premature death.
I realize the message isn’t getting through to everybody. A lot of my doomscrolling involves watching people scream about the need for masks being a hoax, or an assault on their freedom–didn’t their parents ever teach them about cooperation?–and then capping it off by screaming the name of their favorite dementia-addled orange carny, 2020! But you can see in their eyes that they’re running scared. Like they realize deep down America isn’t great “again,” but they don’t have the coping skills to process it, so they lash out like toddlers.
Ironically, the only way we can make non-political things non-political again is to vote our conscience in November. Not just in the presidential race, but all down the line, vote out all the ghouls who sow mistrust of science, journalism, logic, critical thinking skills, historical perspective, and empathy.
Second assignment — faux New Yorker cover! I wish I could say it seems a little outdated but let’s face it, the rest of the country is doing their best to make sure we get that second wave. Get ready for a record-breaking string of curtain calls, essential workers!
First prompt from my virtual return to Steve Brodner’s “Art of Illustration” course — what’s quarantine like for you?
And it ain’t over yet, folks. This weekend I saw a few videos of maskless idiots around the city partying outside, and I’m thinking, did we learn nothing? Like, do what you have to do to survive — and by that, I mean, travel to your essential job, buy groceries, take a walk — but if a plurality of selfish Brooklyn bros can’t go one Summer without a douchey block party, then we’re positively screwed.
Uncle Bobby was never the loudest guy in the room–who could get a word in edgewise with six siblings?–but when he did speak up it was always with wit and warmth and a mischievous smile. And as nice as it was to have him around as an Uncle, I know for sure he was also an amazing dad and grandfather. Needless to say, we all wish he could have spent many more years chasing after the twins he adored.
A life cut short provides a painful but important lesson: Though none of us is guaranteed a set amount of time on this planet, you can always take ownership of how you’ll be remembered. If you can manage to be as kind and caring as Uncle Bobby, you’ll leave behind people brimming with fond memories, gratitude and love.
I really enjoyed the recent film “Stan and Ollie” starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as the title characters, at the end of their careers, embarking on a1950s tour of the United Kingdom. This painting depicts a moment during that time.
And here’s a time-lapse of the digital painting in Procreate: