'Toon of the Day

NFL Take a Knee

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Take a Knee before you hurt yourself...

With all the news lately — both bad and horrible (we don’t have good news anymore, notice that?) — I have been unable and unwilling to try and process it all into a single comic image. Trump’s daily Armageddon march has me on such overload, that to try and distill it down in one image is near impossible, and I wind up having to drink more than I would like. So I find it strange that I chose this topic to comment on, especially since I don’t much care for sports. However, because it is indirectly related to Trump and it fits well within social justice and free speech, I found it easier to approach without having to get drunk while thinking about it.

Trump has become masterful at reframing a debate/position by completely making up a reason for something while totally ignoring the facts and history of the situation. So, instead of football players protesting systemic police brutality and racism, Trump frames it as hating out flag, anthem and our troops. His supporters, and those who were so inclined to hate the protests to begin with, immediately lined up to agree with his assessment. And so it is in today’s modern politic: facts on the ground have no bearing on a given situation. Historical records do not factor in because history is whatever the Alt-Right says it is. Not worth arguing over. Better to call them out and shut it down.

 


 

Congressional Inaction

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Congressional shooting and legislative inaction

First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Scalise and his family, and with all the other victims of this senseless ongoing saga of gun violence in our country. It has been often noted that we solve our problems with the ballot, not the bullet, but increasingly it seems that the sheer availability and accessibility of guns make them a go-to-solution for disgruntled employees, domestic abusers and lone gunman terrorists. America’s gun homicide rate is more than 25 times the average of its peer nations. Thank God that not more people or children were hurt in this incident.

And while our Congressional Representatives were right to stand in unity and not let this deranged radical with a history of violence get his way, it seems that they need to stand together to pass common sense legislation about GUNS. Virginia has some very gun-friendly laws on the books, so having a guy walk around a neighborhood with a rifle would not normally be a cause for concern.

Gun violence is distinctly an American problem. We need to address this issue so that going to the movies, a baseball game or even to work should not become a matter of life or death.


 

He Said-They Said

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James Comey and the Conservative Filter

My biggest takeaway after watching 14 hours of James Comey’s Testimony and political talking heads interpreting what happened was not only how Trumps surrogates tried to spin the day, but how actual Trump voters viewed the news. I know how people interpret politics through their own filter, and how I’m supposed to understand and not judge their views. But man, talk about losing faith in your fellow Americans... Also, and not relevant in this cartoon, John McCain’s senior moment at the hearings was just embarrassing.


Trump Low Bar

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2017 – A New Era of Doublespeak and Low Expectations

I’d like to say that I was holding off on any Trump-inspired art for something really good, but in all honesty, I couldn’t keep up. Every time when some new story would hit the morning news, by 6:00pm there would be another outrageous incident, tweet, etc. I can’t draw that fast. Seriously. I sketch out my work and then bring it into the computer, play with lines, colors, add type — I’m not one of the pros who has political figures memorized and can sketch them to perfection in one shot.
But after the Presidential Address Tuesday evening, I was blown away on how many people were impressed that he didn’t run off the rails, yell at Democrats, or directly insult anyone in the room. And all the pundits who must be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome by now were actually giving the man credit for remaining calm and composed for an hour.

But didn’t they listen to what he actually said? There were the much-needed rejections of some of the hate crimes being perpetrated against Jews, and some Presidential comments about being one people, who all bleed the same blood… But in-between all that, there was the constant fear of “the other” — illegals, Mexicans, Muslims, all whom are after your job, your wives, your money, your lives. I nearly did a spit-take when he announced the “VOICE” group for victims of crimes by illegal immigrants — really?  Like, crimes by regular average redneck hatemongers don’t deserve a victim’s group? Maybe focusing your efforts on the GUNS being used would prevent said crimes. And that remark about protecting our air and water on the very same day that he moved to gut EPA provisions from the Obama years?

Anyhow, I managed to kick out one of the fastest cartoons I have ever done during my lunch break, with some retouches and sizing once I got home. Odd, how the way I drew Donald from a photo online, very much resembles the Pepe the Frog meme… perhaps he’s morphing into him.

 


 

Trump Glass Ceiling

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2016 Election Art Edition

Wow. That was a kick in the gut. I was literally sick the next day. I bought into the whole narrative from day one. I was certain his candidacy was a joke and he would never win the nomination. That he would never win the election. Part of that was due to the polling that showed no clear path to the Presidency. Partly it was due to the fact that no one "serious" took this guy seriously. And it was, in part, due to after the progress of the past 8 years, with Obama's popularity at an all time high, how could we take such a massive step backwards? I was preparing to celebrate a the election of our first female President.

Boy was I wrong. Myself, most of the country, and most of the world.

This happened once before, when Dubya was elected to a second term. I was sure American were smart enough to see past all the slander and lies and get rid of someone who had messed up so badly. I went to bed nervous, but certain that America would not let me down. The next morning I had a similar case of nausea.

I said it then and I'll say it now, for all the patriotic talk about how great America is and how we pull together, the reality is Americans as ill-informed, selfish, and narrow-minded when it comes to voting. They focus on a particular aspect of a candidate, and inevitably wind up voting against their own interests. This has been documented many times over the past 15 years, most notably in Thomas Frank's book "What's the Matter With Kansas?". Add in healthy heaps of racism, sexism, misogyny, and Fox News, and you have an electorate that can elect the kind of political figure we only hear about in other parts of the world. The kind we look at and say, "how could they elect that guy?" Now the world looks to us and says the same thing.

Just to clarify, I'm not accusing all Trump voters of racism. I know there are many out there who could never vote for Sec. Clinton for many reasons, some valid, some not. But I am saying that Trump's election has no doubt emboldened those with racist tendencies. One only look to all the news reports of hate crimes and ne0-Nazi propaganda on the rise to see the evidence. To quote the wisom of "The Simpsons", "...Not racist, but #1 with racists!"

So my first cartoon to tackle this conundrum is a nod to Hillary's loss, without showing her, while incorporating Trump's business side, and the racism that helped elect him.

 

Current

2016 NYAACF Poster

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Once again the New York Arab American Comedy Festival approaches, and this year the great minds behind the festival thought it would be good to parody the HBO series Game of Thrones. Now, I know many people who watch it but as I do not subscribe to pay channels, I have never seen a full episode. Nevertheless, I know enough and have seen enough to tackle this project. I thought it would be funny to have the “throne” made up of all sorts of microphones and stand-up props like rubber chickens, but the resulting image got too far away from the original. So I stuck to the real throne of swords, and made sure that the camels looked cute and funny, because there is a real danger in showing a camel breathing fire and brandishing a sword…

Anyhow, if you are a fan of the show I hope you enjoy the image, and again, if you are in the NY area, go check out these very funny, very non-threatening Arabs.


 

I recently designed the logo for Attorney Seema Iyer's new podcast and Twitter feed, "The Bollywood Lawyer". If you are a fan of legal issues that are dealt with in a smart and witty way, check out Seema's podcasts, you might just learn something! Follow her at @seemaiyeresq


 

What is Graphix4change?

Let’s start with what it is NOT:
• Graphix4change is not a militant organization.
•  It is not a corporate entity, nor is it a non-profit organization. 
•  It is not even a grass-roots web movement.

It is simply the personal of an opinionated graphic designer and design instructor… me. It is my soapbox to rant, my wallboard to post signs on, my website connection to the great experiment called Democracy in America and to a larger extent the experiment of a democratic World Wide Web.

I have never sold advertising on the site, nor is the work funded by anyone other than myself. From time to time I get hired to create works for others (campaign literature, posters, etc.), or even sell images I’ve created privately, but in general I have used the site to post my personal work and made it available worldwide, for free.

Why would I do this? Not because I’m independently wealthy, but as a designer, most of the work I do is for hire for someone else’s message or product, and I wanted a venue to express my own political views that no one seemed to want to pay me for. And since political art only seems to ever find an audience in the art world every four years or so, posting images on-line allows for a 24/7/365 virtual exhibit without needing a physical venue.

I have the great fortune of having viewers, fans and detractors from countries all over the world, something I never could have achieved through my client work alone or by exhibiting solely in Chelsea.

So if you’ve made it through this far, thank you for taking the time to visit my little self-important site. Feel free to download images, contact me with comments and suggestions. And if you are looking to hire a smart-assed designer for your progressive cause, I’d be happy to be paid for what I do.

Enjoy,
Mike
Creator of www.graphix4change.com