A rotating cast of artists weighs in on the state of the world

A rotating cast of artists weighs in on the state of the world

Craig Black awap illo
Craig Black awap illo (For The Washington Post)
Updated Oct. 25 at 2:30 p.m.Originally published May 21, 2021
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‘Filipino Heroism’

GEL JAMLANG

Oct. 24, 2021: “For Filipino American History Month, I am honoring Filipino nurses — who, as of May, made up about a quarter of U.S. nurses who died of covid. I lost my dad and my mother-in-law to covid. As a Filipino American, I found solace in my dad’s Filipino nurses. They provided him with exceptional care, as my sister and I held his hand until he passed.”

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‘Flipped Phone’

JON KRAUSE

Oct. 17, 2021: “Comparing yourself with others is toxic at any age. But for kids, I imagine it can be devastating. The hold that social media has over teens can distort their self-image. I wanted to depict the phone as a powerful entity capable of flipping the user’s viewpoint, while also putting her in a precarious position. And still, she can’t let go.”

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‘I’m Still Not Ready for You’

OLIVER MERTZ

Oct. 10, 2021: “With coronavirus cases once again spiking, the anticipated return to the office has been delayed for many of us. In this image, I’m trying to capture the comfortable awkwardness of working from home. While it’s fun to draw these hybrid/animal figures, I also find them more relatable — anyone can project an emotional response onto the absurd images.”

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‘Kariwatashi’

NATSUMI CHIKAYASU

Oct. 3, 2021: “‘Kariwatashi’ refers to the cold wind that blows in early autumn, reminding us of the months ahead. I was inspired by this word and wanted to re-create the fleeting moment when summer intersects with autumn — when we reminisce about the fun of the past few months, but also look forward to a quieter season.”

[See more from the Art With a Point archives.]

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‘Boosting Toward Normality?’

MADELINE MCMAHON

Sept. 26, 2021: “There is a sense of relief that a booster shot of coronavirus vaccine — whenever it’s available — will improve personal and public health, and there’s hope that the pandemic could start to wane. But looming crises — rising cases due to vaccine hesitancy, global vaccination disparities, possible stronger variants — have not gone away. I fear a cyclical pattern emerging.”

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‘Mask Anxiety’

ANA LATESE

Sept. 19, 2021: “As schools reopen, we need to be watchful for teasing or bullying that might occur in ‘mask optional’ schools. Kids who choose to wear masks could potentially experience more bullying, anxiety and stress compared with kids who aren’t masked.”

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‘Goodbye, Summer’

MAYYA AGAPOVA

Sept. 12, 2021: “As the sun sets on summer, there’s an opportunity to reflect on the past year. I’ve been grateful for the chance to rest, but I’m sensing that it’s time to use my renewed energy to create something different — and, I hope, better — for the future.”

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‘Not Here’

KATTY HUERTAS

Aug. 29, 2021: “It’s been nearly 20 years since 9/11 — an important anniversary. I wanted to commemorate the victims of the attack on the Pentagon by visualizing the emptiness left from all the lives that were cut short.”

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‘This Isn’t Over’

TARA JACOBY

Aug. 22, 2021: “With the delta variant of the coronavirus spreading and the polarization around vaccinations, we find ourselves having to return to covid protocols, such as wearing masks. While everyone is feeling the blow of this regression, vaccinated people might feel particularly disheartened because it seems like things are getting worse due to those who refuse to get vaccinated. It’s time to drop the politics and work together to get through this pandemic.”

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‘Phone Friends’

GIJS KAST

Aug. 8, 2021: “I grew up without a smartphone or social media. Now they’re a huge part of social life for kids. That’s gotten more pronounced during the pandemic. I get lost on my phone too, so I’m not judging — but I hope kids are also playing in the dirt sometimes.”

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‘I’m Not Ready for You’

OLIVER MERTZ

Aug. 1, 2021: “As we go back to the office, we’ll likely fall into a variety of ideological camps. Some of us will operate from the belief that the pandemic is over, while others might want to isolate themselves. We’ll coexist in competing realities.”

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‘Sun and Wine’

L. LAURA COLEMAN

July 25, 2021: “This is my celebration of the healing power of the sun during the summer months. Now that covid restrictions are loosening, we can more freely enjoy our favorite summertime activities — whether that’s on the balcony or by the pool, ocean or lake.”

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‘Olympic Hopeful’

JON KRAUSE

July 18, 2021: “There’s so much controversy and uncertainty surrounding the Olympics this year because of the pandemic, but I think most people are hopeful the Games can go on. While they might look strange — with mandates to not cheer and the possibility of few or no spectators — they are a much-needed respite from coronavirus burnout.”

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‘Back to Brooding’

MAYYA AGAPOVA

July 11, 2021: “I first encountered Brood X cicadas back in 2004, a year or so after I had immigrated to the United States. I was young and impressionable in a new country, and hearing their chorus in the trees is a distinct memory. I’ve changed a lot over the past 17 years, and the United States has too. I can’t help but wonder: What will these cicadas see in 2038?”

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‘We the People’

KATTY HUERTAS

June 27, 2021: “With all the Fourth of July celebrations, it’s easy to forget that we are commemorating unfulfilled promises — of equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

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‘MARVELous Dads’

DANIEL SULZBERG

June 20, 2021: “Today’s dads don’t look much different from their kids, whether it’s wearing ball caps and sneakers or playing video games and reading comic books. My generation of dads are big kids, ready to play — and to be next-level superheroes.”

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‘Golden Power’

ANA LATESE

June 13, 2021: “Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. As a Black artist, I wanted to emphasize to my community that we are strong and beautiful and in this together. We have faced many battles, but we must continue to use our voice for positive change.”

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‘Vax Populi’

JON KRAUSE

June 6, 2021: “We have the tools to finally end this pandemic, but there’s a reluctance by some to just stomp it out. Everyone has the right to their personal medical decisions, but not taking the vaccine purely to prove a political point holds back the entire country.”

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‘A Tale of Two Summers’

CARLOS BASABE

May 30, 2021: “I set out to depict the dual meanings of Memorial Day in our culture. The unofficial start of summer is full of family and fun, but it is a privilege earned by the sacrifice of so many. The best way to honor that sacrifice is to both enjoy and acknowledge our privilege.”

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‘Clean Air, Happy Home’

LA JOHNSON

May 23, 2021: “I have never enjoyed spring cleaning — until this year. Now, after feeling confined and isolated for so long, I’m looking forward to welcoming friends and family to my home. It feels liberating to open the windows, shake out the dust and let the sunshine in.”

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‘Life on Mars’

GIJS KAST

May 16, 2021: “It’s crazy that putting a rover on Mars is possible — and even crazier to think about the possibility of life on Mars. It’s also fun for me as an illustrator to think about what Martians might look like. In this image, instead of the Perseverance rover exploring Mars, Martians are exploring Perseverance.”

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‘Hitting the Road’

RINNA DESPI

May 9, 2021: “Over the past year, after weeks of lockdown, my 3-year-old son and I began taking long car rides around the Bay Area. It quickly became our favorite activity. Maybe this Mother’s Day we’ll go for a drive, but now that things are opening up, we’ll definitely miss the empty roads.”

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‘Dining in Bloom’

DANIEL SULZBERG

May 2, 2021: “Lady Bird Johnson once said, ‘Where flowers bloom, so does hope.’ With the harsh covid winter behind us and spring upon us, it’s nice to see restaurants opening back up. There’s hope for a blooming economy.”

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‘100 Days of Biden’

TARA JACOBY

April 25, 2021: “President Biden is approaching his 100th day in office. He’s certainly had a few missteps, but he continues to make progress on his campaign promises. We can only go up from here.”

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‘Vaccines in Bloom’

KATTY HUERTAS

April 18, 2021: “I’m grateful that I was able to be vaccinated recently. After months of literal and figurative darkness, things are finally looking up. The new season is full of possibilities, and I can’t wait to spend more time outside.”

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‘The Ides of April’

JON KRAUSE

April 11, 2021: “Here are life’s two certainties, death and taxes, intertwining and connecting at a tenuous point. It’s great to have an extension this year, but it’s only delaying the inevitable.”

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‘Bracket Buster’

CARLOS BASABE

April 4, 2021: “With this, I hoped to convey the energy and fluidity of college basketball. One of the things that differentiates college sports from pro sports is the possibility that, every season, a long-shot team or athlete will get a chance to shine. The added ‘madness’ of tournaments and fan brackets makes it all the more fun.”

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‘Floral Reality’

GIJS KAST

March 28, 2021: “D.C.’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival will be a mostly virtual event this year. If only there were a VR event where grandma could really immerse herself!”

About this story

The Art With a Point lettering is by Craig Black. If you’re an artist and you’d like to submit an idea, email mag_artsubmissions@washpost.com.

Christian Font is an art director for The Washington Post Magazine, working on projects for print and Web. He has been at The Post since 2012. He previously worked in a variety of roles over 12 years at the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Clare Ramirez is a designer and art director for Washington Post Magazine. She joined The Washington Post in 2017 and has worked on print and digital projects in business, technology, sports, news and features.