The Bashful Boys

Have you ever seen a pug in a Halloween costume? It’s cute—but it’s also very, very sad. They look ashamed. Defeated. Embarrassed. For this portrait series, I aimed to portray a few of today’s (seemingly shameless) political figures in an unfamiliar emotional state: that of a pug squeezed into a polyester unicorn straight jacket.

After being inundated with doomsday-level news over the past year and change, I wanted to express my frustration with the prominent political figures in our country, minus all the heady discourse. And as a writer by trade, pettiness plus watercolors felt like the perfect antidote to too much talky talky. 

In case it wasn’t already clear, Mitch, Steve, Lindsey, and Teddy C. are all wearing dog costumes in these paintings (human costumes offer far too much mobility and dignity). I carefully chose each costume to amplify the look of shame and defeat for the subject, not as a symbol for anything about them or their actions. 

Are these paintings imbued with layers of meaning, ripe for spirited artistic analysis? Probably not. And that’s ok, because the thought of Mitch McConnell in a dog’s strawberry costume made me cackle like an overzealous cartoon villain. I hope it does the same for you.