Over the years, Eric J. García often got suggestions about putting a book together of his political cartoons.
After 12 years of work, García has completed “Drawing on Anger: Portraits of U.S. Hypocrisy.” The South Valley-raised artist will give a presentation and book signing at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center Art Museum.
“Drawing on Anger: Portraits of U.S. Hypocrisy” is a collection of García’s most unabashed political cartoons about U.S. history and politics from 2004 to the present.
He says each piece offers a scathing indictment of Republicans, Democrats and the self-proclaimed greatest country on earth.
García reconstructs pivotal moments in history – such as U.S. complicity in the disappearance of 43 Mexican students, genocide and torture in Iraq, and femicide along the U.S.-Mexican border – and reflects on the larger themes of anti-immigration laws, global imperialism, veterans affairs, and the conquest of the Americas.
His cartoons are equally critical of both political parties and of both the United States and Mexico, lobbing criticism and satire in every direction.
“It started over 12 years ago when I began creating political cartoons,” he says. “My purpose is to push some buttons, and I want to get reactions. I want to tell it like it is. I want to show the reality of it all. If that means throwing some fire, so be it. My purpose is to show the reality of what is going on, and some people can’t handle the reality.”
García was born and raised in Bernalillo County’s South Valley, and he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of New Mexico and received his Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
A versatile artist working in an assortment of mediums, from hand-printed posters to nationally published political cartoons to large-scale public murals, all of his work has a common goal of educating and challenging.
“Art, in general, is very therapeutic,” he says. “This is the art form that lets me release it all. I look at it all through a Chicano lens.”
García says the biggest obstacle in creating the book was getting the right number of cartoons.
The book has the 10 best cartoons from each of the past 12 years.
“I had to curate what had to go into this book,” he says. “I left out hyper-local cartoons. I wanted to curate what is going to be given to a broader audience. I also wanted the book to be relevant. I’m constantly feeding myself with information. Then I step back and process it and distill it for others to understand. Some of these issues are very complicated, and I have one single-panel frame to get people to understand it.”