Half and Half make one Half Full – Let the Knights Joust.

Half and Half make one Half Full – Let the Knights Joust.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Half and Half.”

Where there’s black, there’s always some white; when there’s dark, there’s a possibility of light;
You may have to look for them, but in a world full of wrong, there are always things that are right.

This world is half-and-half, and until I saw this prompt, I didn’t realize that a lot of my illustrations are half-and-half too. One of these half-and-half illustrations is a two-page spread for the Talk Business and Politics magazine that has Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson jousting to become the Governor of Arkansas.

Half and Half - Daily Prompt - Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson Jousting for Arkansas Governor.

Left Half: Mike Ross (Democrat)
Right Half: Asa Hutchinson (Republican)

This image and the prompt together make me wonder:

These two valorous knights galloping towards each other with their lances targeting the other’s chest, hoping to throw the other off his stead, are the reason why this scene exists. The State Capitol building is essential to the scene because forms the quest, but why is the crowd there? The crowd is there because of the two knights. It is there to watch them joust.

And this makes me ask questions, that I admit, are totally unexpected of the happy-go-lucky right-brained arty-kinds.

  1. Why do we like to see fights? Why, we even make animals fight one another, and wager bets? 
  2. Why on one hand we cheer the winners and on the other, root for the underdog?
  3. What kind of thrill we get from seeing people spill blood or even kill one another?
  4. And if we don’t, if we have actually arrived at point in human history where our senses have become more refined and our battles are now fought with arguments, votes, and referendums, why still wars continue to rage through out the world?

I think there aren’t any answers to these questions, but we have opinions – and our opinions matter. They matter with all two warring-halves of the world – from the smallest halves to the biggest halves. Our opinions matter when we can influence the two halves and help them stand on the same side of the picture so we can help them become one. Our opinions also matter in bigger issues too as we can influence the course of history by voting the right decision-makers to the top-office of our country.

Until that happens, let the knights joust and the pugilists box.

 

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Lines of Attack: Conflicts in Caricature, Exhibition at Nasher Museum, Durham, NC – We want More Caricatures in our Newspapers!

Caricatures show us what isn’t obvious, by using visual and/or verbal exaggeration. Thus, they wake us up from our peaceful slumber by poking us with a funny wand.

Check out Edward Sorel’s caricature of the “Clods.”

Nasher Museum Caricaturist: Edward Sorel Caricature: Clods Bush US politicians

Edward Sorel, "In Clods We Trust," 2007. Pen, ink and watercolor, 20 x 16 inches. Appeared in Rolling Stone, June 29, 2006.

Did you read the Newspaper this morning? If you didn’t, I recommend that you find it now, and go through it page by page. Don’t read anything. Just look. Do you see those pictures? Now classify them as photographs and illustrations. What’s the ratio of the two in your newspaper? I did the same exercise and discovered that the ratio was 42 to 3 or 14 to 1! Among the three illustrations, there was one “tree”, one “cartoon”, and only one “caricature.”

Now time-track back about a century and a half! Close your eyes and try to see the newspaper? What do you see? You see a lot of illustrations, cartoons, and caricatures. You see meanings being loaded into the faces and the bodies of the politicians – suddenly, you find yourself viewing an interpretation of an event – and not its snapshot! A caricature is not just the picture formed on your retina, it is the picture understood by the mind – and the newspapers in those days were full of caricatures and cartoons…hilarious, sarcastic, witty, biting, caustic, romantic…the newspapers then were more alive!

So meet President Bush and President Clinton in this caricature by Gary Varvel, and wonder how a photograph could’ve caught this caustic humor.

Nasher Museum Caricaturist: Gary Varvel Caricature: The Suits of George Bush and Bill Clinton

Gary Varvel, "Which Suit Most Offends Democrats?" 2003. India ink on drawing bristol, 11 by 7.5 inches. Appeared in The Indianapolis Star.

But this is my opinion…and I am a caricaturist! You form yours. If you are in or around Durham, NC, and you are inclined towards the visual arts, you’d be interested in the exhibition “Lines of Attack: Conflicts in Caricature”, which is currently on at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. It began on February 04, and will continue to May 16, 2010.

Even if you aren’t in the vicinity, do visit: http://www.nasher.duke.edu/exhibitions_caricature.php to initiate a new line of thought, and wonder whether we need to review the function of caricatures in the newspapers of today.

After all, all of us have our own reasons for everything, as this caricature of President Bush and an Iraq War Veteran by Rob Rogers, illustrates.

Nasher Museum Caricaturist: Rob Rogers Caricature: Bush and Iraq War Vetran

Rob Rogers, "Iraq Forced Me to Give Up Golf, Too," 2008. Ink on Grafix 32-L Unishade Board, 12 3/4 x 9 inches. Courtesy of Rob Rogers and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

With this I rest my case for MORE CARICATURES in the newspapers!

Important Note: The three images used in this post have been used with explicit permission from the Nasher Museum. If you’d like to use them, please contact the Nasher Museum for permissions. Thanks.

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