Some may already be familiar with the image featured above. For those who aren’t, it is painting titled “The Forgotten Man” which features President Obama trampling on the Constitution while an astonished James Madison pleads with him to stop. To the side, a man sits on a park bench in the throes of depression while 43 presidents look on. The painting, which uses discarded dollar bills and scraps of paper with individual constitutional amendments scrawled onto them.
The Blaze first reported on artist Jon McNaughton’s controversial rendition back in 2010 when the artwork was released. Now, however, McNauughton’s Forgotten Man has resurfaced and is making its rounds across the internet again after appearing on Rachel Maddow’s blog on Thursday.
In a video that accompanied The Forgotten Man’s release, the politically charged McNaughton revealed, “For a long time I didn’t know if I wanted to paint this picture, because I worried it might be too controversial.”
He explained that the man on the park bench “represents every man, woman, and child who is an American” and who “hopes to find the American dream of happiness and prosperity.” The artist added, “But now because of unconstitutional acts imposed on the American people by our government we stand on the precipice of disasters.”
The artists’ work can be found at McNaughton Fine Art (though the site appeared to be down, at least temporarily on Friday evening) and on his Facebook Page. A search of McNaughton’s postings on Facebook reveal a number of paintings with strong political and religious themes including another provocative work released in October 2011 titled “Wake Up America.” The image features Obama smiling on the stump while shackled Americans gather around him. From the artist’s YouTube page:
We are enslaved to our debt. Wake up, America! Before it is too late…
Every man, woman and child in America is enslaved to the national debt. As an artist, I have painted my vision of the dire circumstances that surround us. Now, more than ever, each American must make a choice: we must unlock the shackles that enslave us, or will we lose our freedom. It is my hope and prayer that America will “wake up” before it is too late.
The image is featured below:
With the Nevada Caucuses around the corner, CBS Las Vegas caught up with McNaughton to talk about his work. Since the painting’s release, “It sold thousands,” McNaughton told the network.
“I sold many different sizes and editions, and now that we are in an election year I expect to sell more.”
Below is a video of the artist explaining “Wake Up America”:
Much of McNaughton’s work is political in nature. Previously, he released “One Nation Under God,” a painting depicting Jesus holding the Constitution and judging several archetypes including a liberal journalist, a smug college professor, and a man McNaughton calls “Mr. Hollywood.”
Originally from Arizona, McNaugton currently lives in Utah and received a full scholarship to Brigham Young University.
“I hope my work will create conversation and reach people on a deeper level,” he states on his website. “I like to use metaphor and multiple levels of meaning to reach my viewer. If it makes them think and feel, then it is successful.”
McNaughton also told CBSLV: “I’m not trying to create an art style. I want to communicate my ideas. Isn’t that the purpose of art?”
Below is a painting titled “Peace Is Coming”: