In “A Brodner Minute,” illustrator-animator Steve Brodner‘s series of satirical videos for The Washington Spectator, Brodner twits everyone in his path. No one is safe—from Rudy Giuliani to Mitt Romney, Arizona governor Jan Brewer to fatcat donors, Grover Norquist to Newt Gingrich. Below, Spectator interns Annie Jones and Renae Lesser ask the artist a few questions about his work.
AJ: You studied fine arts, but what inspired your interest in politics?
To me, politics was never any different from life. As a kid—maybe because it was the ’60s—I saw this connection. How you lived was affected by the way you saw civil rights, the war, and so on. Louis CK has a line about wondering why, on a bus to Pittsburgh, a person is annoyed that somebody brings up the subject of Pittsburgh. Well, that’s the place the bus is going! We’re all going to Pittsburgh. If, then, all we talk about is Kim Kardashian, Snooki, Simon Cowell, what does that say about us? There must be a finely tuned psych term for that.
AJ: Who’s the most interesting politician to satirize?
The most interesting politician is always the one with the most telling face. It’s much harder to drag messages out of a face that is constructed to say nothing, or the reverse of the truth. So we love Gingrich and Nixon and hate Reagan and Romney.
AJ: What do you look for in a target?
I don’t really look; anything worth saying rings my doorbell. All you have to do is open the door and let the horrors in. And there are way too many of them. Every day. So this is, tragically, an easy job.
RL: How did you learn the art of caricature?
It is a skill learned in the doing. There are no textbooks, only sweat and self-criticism that will help the next piece along. I have done many thousands of pictures, and each one has been an interesting project—but more important, it has gotten me to a better place with the next one.
RL: What advice do you have for young artists?
Video will prove to be an important piece in the puzzle. It’s the medium that the computer is starting to embrace in a major way.
Steve Brodner, The Washington Spectator‘s award-winning satiric artist and animator, has been skewering the famous and infamous for the last three decades. His illustrations and animations have appeared in most major publications in the United States, including The New Yorker, PBS, and Slate. He lives and draws in New York City. His website is brodnersbicycle.com.