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Suiting Up Mark Ulriksen’s 50th New Yorker Cover

Posted on 12/14/16 by Sally

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This group looks so innocent through today's lens. Still, a remarkable event - Mark Ulriksen's 50th cover for The New Yorker. A little background on the thinking and painting process behind Suiting Up, in Mark's words:

“Suiting Up, My 50th New Yorker Cover

I’m a news junkie, always keeping my antennae out for current events that might be ripe for a New Yorker cover. As more and more Republican presidential aspirants were declaring their intention to run I thought how awkward it would be for all of these men to be stuck in an elevator with each other, doing what we all do in elevators; avoiding eye-contact and conversation.

That idea wasn't really a quick enough read to communicate as a cover so I changed the location to a men’s locker room, another awkward and confining space that lends itself to individualizing each candidate. Here’s the sketch I submitted.

That’s Chris Christie in the lower left, the last to get dressed, tying his Air Jordan. Rand Paul looks peeved as he combs his hair. Marco Rubio is busy on the phone. Jeb Bush has to decide between a red tie or a purple one. Scott Walker pulls up his socks, adorned with the Koch Brothers logo, while Ted Cruz is the first one dressed, admiring himself. Mike Huckabee hangs in back reading his bible and Hillary Clinton peeps in from outside this men’s club.

The composition needed some adjusting so I enlarged Cruz and moved his body and reflection to the right. Literally. Made Hillary smaller in stature as well. Much better and more accurate too.

I printed my sketch onto smooth Bristol paper and started this gouache painting. First step was covering the surface with a warm mid-tone, in this case raw sienna.

Sometimes I paint faces first, sometimes last, as in this painting. Here I took on the lockers first.

Everyone wears white shirts and has a bit of red in their wardrobe, naturally.

My goal was to make Rand Paul look prickly and Ted Cruz to look self-satisfied. Didn't quite pull that off.

Jeb Bush wears monogrammed shorts resembling cowboy boots.

Ted Cruz has both the Constitution and Reagan’s portrait inside his locker.

The painting above is done, save for Hillary Clinton, who I painted last.”

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