- Apple TV’s ‘Servant’ will make you scared of reborn dolls 7 Years Ago
- Lindsey Graham roasted for turning his back on a veteran 7 Years Ago
- Scooter Braun asks Taylor Swift for ‘resolution’ after allegedly getting death threats 7 Years Ago
- ‘Frozen 2’ plays it safe and lacks the magic of the original 7 Years Ago
- Graphic video shows police pinning man face-down in subway station 7 Years Ago
- Mini-documentary shows Trump supporters clashing at Denny’s Today 11:52 AM
- Here’s why ‘Furry and Proud’ is trending on Twitter Today 11:16 AM
- Sacha Baron Cohen calls tech giants the ‘greatest propaganda machine in history’ Today 11:04 AM
- ‘Resistance Reborn’ is a must-read before ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ Today 10:14 AM
- Stephen Miller should be fired, more than 100 lawmakers say Today 9:56 AM
- YouTube star Bretman Rock goes off on fans who wanted selfies during his dad’s funeral Today 9:14 AM
- The U.S. Army is reevaluating its use of TikTok after security concerns Today 8:45 AM
- Nurse’s TikTok video accused of being insensitive to patient trauma Today 8:16 AM
- The tweet showing a man talking to a woman in a club is gone but not forgotten Today 8:00 AM
- Netflix’s ‘The Knight Before Christmas’ is gosh-darned hopeful Today 7:30 AM
Meet DonkeyHotey—ingenious political caricaturist
With more than 1,000 illustrations on Flickr, DonkeyHotey’s barbed portraits have been ubiquitous throughout the presential race.
The 2000 presidential election angered Americans unlike anything people have seen since Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal. Hundreds of people protested in the streets while others filed lawsuits against Florida officials for allegedly not counting their votes accurately.
Instead of picking up a picket, DonkeyHotey channeled his frustration into creating caricatures of Washington’s elite.
Chances are you’ve seen his work. Since 2010, the anonymous illustrator has posted more than 1,000 original caricatures on Flickr for people to use freely with attribution, an act that has led his work to be featured everywhere from Charles Pierce’s political blog to here on the Daily Dot.
From President Barack Obama’s big ears to Mitt Romney’s pronounced chin, DonkeyHotey’s portraits exaggerate politician’s unique features. Unlike most caricaturists who focus solely on the physical, however, DonkeyHotey digs deeper with his work.
“Generally I am trying to capture a facial expression that tells something about the person as it relates their actions in current events,” said DonkeyHotey, who asked that his identity not be revealed.
Each caricature takes about five to six hours to create. He uses Photoshop, a couple of plugins, a trackball, and a pen tablet. Most of the time is spent adding depth and details to the eyes, mouth, hair, and skin. All of the work is done in 300 pixels per inch (PPI) and then reduced to produce a clear image.
DonkeyHotey’s perhaps best known for his caricature Prresident George W. Bush, who the artist claims “practiced crony capitalism and would sacrifice anyone or anything to achieve their ends.” The illustration portrayed Bush as a chimpanzee, tearing up the Constitution. It stirred up quite a bit of controversy and taught DonkeyHotey a valuable lesson about the power of art and perceived stereotypes.
“If I want to use [stereotypes], I should have a really good reason and be prepared to defend them,” reflected DonkeyHotey, a self-taught caricaturist. “If the use of a stereotype blinds the viewer from my message then I am not successfully communicating.”
Growing up, DonkeyHotey was no stranger to stirring the proverbial pot. While in high school, one of DonkeyHotey’s favorite artists was Thomas Nast, a caricaturist and editorial comic whose illustrations help take down New York’s William “Boss” Tweed, a corrupt politician. But in order to do so, Nast had to play a little dirty. That resonated with DonkeyHotey.
“I did my first cartoon in high school for the high school paper,” he said. “It was about a local judge who had barred a political magazine from school. I pictured the judge being aroused by images in the magazine he banned“It caused a problem for me with the principal at the time.”
This penchant for brutal honesty has served DonkeyHotey well over the years. His ubiquity on the Web helped land him contract work earlier this year with Esquire.
But what DonkeyHotey is most proud of is seeing his work show up at the top of Google’s image results. (Try “Romney caricature” for example). This has presented opportunities he would never have dreamed of, such as the cover of Utne Magazine, which is in large part thanks to posting his images under Creative Commons, which allows artists to freely determine what licenses they can reserve or waive when it comes to their work.
“One of my goals is to express ideas,” DonkeyHotey said. “I always try to choose CC licenses that permit commercial use and remixing. I needed to be able to develop my skills and decided that the best way to was to be part of a community. It also allowed me to see what kinds of images publishers actually want to use.”
Last night as millions of Americans were glued to their TVs and phones, eagerly awaiting the results of the election, DonkeyHotey was hard at work creating exclusive caricatures for Esquire.
“I believe we could solve most of our problems if everyone voted and everyone took time to contact their representatives on a regular basis,” he said. “It seems simple, but 38.4 percent of eligible voters did not vote in 2008. Those people could change everything.”
Until that statistic changes, DonkeyHotey will have to voice his concerns and frustrations the way he does best—with pen tablet in hand.
All illustrations by DonkeyHotey
Fernando Alfonso III served as an early Reddit and 4chan reporter and the Daily Dot’s first art director until 2016. He’s gone on to report at Lexington’s Herald-Leader and at the Houston Chronicle.