Political illustrator shifts focus to essential workers for his illustrations during the coronavirus crisis.
Amidst the lockdown brought about by the global coronavirus pandemic, illustrator Victor Juhasz has been finding art in essential workers – “We’re realizing that the people that we oftentimes disregard have actually become the essential workers,” said the artist. In 2011, Juhasz started illustrating for the Joe Bonham Project organized by Michael D. Fay, a Marine, and former combat artist. The same group is now creating a series called the Emergent Warriors of the Pandemic. “We’ve expanded the parameters of what the front line is,” Juhasz said. One of over twenty four contributing artists, Juhasz is particularly known for his dynamic and sketch-like political cartoons — ranging from a 2012 illustration in which the artist portrayed the Bank of America as a money-hungry ‘swine in a suit’, to a cover for Rolling Stone in 2017 on the concept of ‘Trump tornado’.
The artist first started to hone his skills in a small town near Albany, New York where his home studio is situated. Juhasz started off drawing the employees at his local post office – he would create quick sketches in-person and then photograph his subjects to add additional details at home. “I brought my sketchbook and my pencils, but I also brought my camera,” said Juhasz while discussing his art subjects during the pandemic – a group of linemen installing high-speed internet cables along telephone poles in April of 2020. He compared the workers to military infantry people he saw on assignment to bases in the Middle East. “Honestly, these guys move faster than Marines on patrol. Marines sometimes take a knee. They didn’t even take a lunch break”, added Juhasz. The installation workers seemed to be undeterred by the pandemic; “I really didn’t discuss COVID with them,” informed the artist. Upon being asked about their work and if they liked their job, the workers had said that they “dug what they were doing.”
Jason Bapp, Carrying a Line by Victor Juhasz via Rolling Stone
Linda Vanbergen, U.S. Postal Service Clerk by Victor Juhasz via Rolling Stone
Cynthia Page and Jami Ashley, USPS Averill Park office by Victor Juhasz via Rolling Stone
While some of Juhasz’s illustrations capture the personalities of his subjects, others show the physical aspects of the tasks being performed to keep society functioning. “I was just trying to show what we would call ‘regular people,’ shared Juhasz. “There’s nothing dramatic about what they do, but it’s very important work,” added the artist.
Featured Image Via Unsplash