Chris Christie's career is in a tailspin. The New Jersey Governor has been dealing with fallout from what the New York Times calls “revelations that his administration ordered the revenge-closings of traffic lanes at the George Washington Bridge.” But his brand of damage-control only seems to be making the situation worse. The witty and whimsical portrait Hanoch Piven created to accompany a story on Christie for the current issue of Fortune illustrates what happens when a larger-than-life persona collides with an off-the-rails political decision.
Says Hanoch of the assignment:
Christie has all the elements of classic caricature subject. In fact, he is a caricature in himself, with his large and theatrical personality and also his (sorry) large figure. But although he is a gift for any caricaturist, the big challenge was how to refrain from exaggerating his heaviness and still create a good likeness.
It was clear for me that I wanted to use elements of a car crash—some sort of traffic accident—and I wanted to use flat tires. This was the perfect metaphor for something that went completely wrong for him.
The cars pounding into his head were a later addition, and until the last moment I wasn't sure whether they were just creating too much visual noise, yet at the end I thought that noise IS part of the idea. The fire extinguisher in his mouth is that desperate attempt to save himself and his political career.