“Airport Passengers on Line, 1984”

“Portrait of Airport Passengers on Line" Ink on paper, 2012.The Lawrence Public Library’s Banned Books Week trading card series has had a great deal of success both locally and nationally, so it seemed prudent to make a mention of it here, since I was one of the artists selected for inclusion in the set. In fact, today’s the day that my card is available for free– just stop in the library and ask for a copy! Here’s what I had to say about my piece with the entry…

This piece reflects the vibe I get from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. When I last reread it in 2004, I was struck by how similar descriptions in the book were to happenings in the world today. Not just by how many of the party phrases in the book sounded eerily similar to sound bites coming out of the Bush administration, but also in Orwell’s descriptions of cubicle-filled workspaces and rundown infrastructure.

Dale has been creating original comics for most of his life. He currently publishes a weekly webcomic at http://www.watusithethalkingdog.com that is nothing like this piece.

This isn’t the first time Nineteen Eighty-Four has influenced me as an artist, either. Eight years ago I produced a series of portraits pairing government figures with an appropriate quote from Orwell’s novel. Due to those previously mentioned similarities, it was a project that pretty much wrote itself.  They’ve exhibited as a set only a couple of times before, so it seems like a good opportunity to give them another showing. Just view the gallery and prepare to become unsettled…

2 thoughts on ““Airport Passengers on Line, 1984”

  1. I liked your 2012 card a lot. Your 2004 cards were indeed a bit scary. Once the current election is over, I may have to go back and read “1984” again. I’ve read it a couple times, but I think the last time I read it was in ’84. Your 2004 cards were also a bit scary in how on-target they are. You captured Cheney’s lopsided snarl really well. Sadly, I have to admit, I can’t put a name to the face on the Senator card.


  2. I rarely reread books, but it was interesting to revisit Nineteen Eighty-Four. While it felt timely to be reading it when I did, I was also struck by how timeless a lot of it felt. Feelings of alienation and disconnect and wanting to make a positive change happen in every generation.

    I don’t feel I do portraits as well now as I did in my life drawing days, so I relied a lot on photo reference for these. Cheney and Rumsfeld were pretty easy to portray, but Bush was harder to capture without lurching into caricature. The Senator might be easier to recognize if he was wearing a sweater vest…


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