About Opinionated Art & DonkeyHotey

The above slideshow features cartoons and caricatures by DonkeyHotey. Click any image to view credits on Flickr.

Bill Kristol's NeoCon Dream by DonkeyHotey

Bill Kristol's NeoCon Dream by DonkeyHotey

Opinionated Art explores information related to the art of caricature, caricature artists, editorial cartoons, and political and cultural illustrations. This effort is an outgrowth of my work creating caricatures and political cartoons using the pen name DonkeyHotey. Since 2010, I have been posting caricatures on Flickr under Creative Commons License for writers and editors to use to add interest to news and opinion posts on websites. The DonkeyHotey Flickr photostream has had over thirteen million views. My current work is a combination of caricature, photo collage and photo manipulation. DonkeyHotey caricatures and cartoons have been published over 2300 times on sites including: BuzzFeedCampaign for America’s Future, CBS MoneyWatch, Common Dreams, Daily Kos, Examiner.com, Fast Company, Esquire.comFiredoglake, Forbes, In These Times, IPS, Mother Jones, Neon Tommy, The GuardianThe Jimmy Dore Show, Truthdig and more. I have done some custom work on commission for a book cover project about Ayn Rand, caricatures for Eclectablog, a magazine cover of Mitt Romney for Utne Reader, and a series of 2012 election cartoons for Esquire.com's “The Politics Blog” and other projects. DonkeyHotey caricatures are featured in Jimmy Dore's very funny book, Your Country Is Just Not That Into You. I have documented this work  in simple form on my Wordpress site. Custom DonkeyHotey Caricatures are currently available in 3D via CHOPS.

I realized that the response to my work was good, but it could be more rewarding. After the 2012 election it seemed like a good time to take a break from my regular routine and do some research about caricature history and caricature technique. I also wanted to study the period in U.S. History from the American Revolution to the end of the Gilded Age. Our current times have much in common with the Gilded Age and a review of the issues as presented in political cartoons of the era is enlightening.

Cowboy Governor Rick Perry by DonkeyHotey

Cowboy Governor Rick Perry by DonkeyHotey

Americans need to wake up to the fact that powerful monied interests are working non-stop to capture government at all levels with the intent of getting friendly regulations, tax breaks, unsupervised government contracts, unequal application of justice and an insecure labor force willing to except lower wages and benefits. This country is ill-served by major news-entertainment media. We are distracted by fantasy outrages, petty social differences and celebrity trivia. The corporations and billionaires of our world learned from the Robber Barons that you need to make the activities of graft and corruption legal or unenforceable to avoid consequences. It should not be a surprise that the Koch Brothers, Scaifes, Adelsons and Petersons fund networks of groups tasked with writing the justifications, drafting laws and doing the organizing needed to return America to an unequal past. It is not a conspiracy, but rather the natural result of fallible humans seeking profits above all other goals.

The sad fact is that the citizens of the United States could stop this slide into serfdom. All it would take is for more people to work to improve their communities and for most people to vote and express their opinions to their elected representatives on a regular basis. When legislators hear from their constituents en masse they become afraid for their jobs. When voters respond to giveaways and corruption by voting legislators out off office the system slowly changes. That is the necessary counterbalance to corrupted government.

megaNewt by DonkeyHotey

megaNewt by DonkeyHotey

The political cartoonist's primary job is to illustrate to the average busy person how they are being cheated by powerful interests and to accomplish that in a memorable and humorous way. Caricature is important because malicious and stupid laws and policies are not the result of a system. They are the result of the individual acts of individual characters over time. In the early days of the Pictorial Press; Nast, Keppler and Gillam had the attention of the public and were feared by politicians and tycoons. Today, the closest actors we have who compare in stature are Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. These speakers of truth to power are all imperfect, but do more to raise awareness of corruption and hypocrisy than traditional editorial cartoonists. This is primarily due to the decline in newspaper and magazine readership. Some of the most viewed political images today are the “photoshops” and random images shared via email, Facebook and messaging.

As digital media evolves there may be opportunity to develop a new form of political cartoon and delivery to achieve a more viral reach. I am not claiming that I can do that, but I want to think about what the possibilities are. So after I spend time understanding more about the history of caricature and cartoons, I plan to research the progress of technique and technology for creating and publishing cartoons to influence my future choices.

To these ends I decided to build Opinionated Art. The content and purpose of this site will evolve.

Some of the features you will find on Opinionated Art are:

My goal is continue to post cartoons and caricatures at Flickr and to add new content to Opinionated Art as often as possible. I would also like to get more paid work on a commission basis and/or become involved with an appropriate enterprise. - DonkeyHotey