It goes without saying that it is not an easy skill and one has to be gifted to draw – political – cartoons. The Levant News’ own Joon W. (45) is a gifted cartoonist with a cynical sense of humor and has the talent of producing drawings that bring out the truth of their subject.
By Arthur Blok
“As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster”, Joon W. said when asked about the first time he picked up a pencil and started drawing. Using one of the most famous quotes from Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning 1990 crime drama Goodfellas.
“If you replace ‘gangster’ with artist, you get an idea of who I am and who I want to be. I have been drawing as long as I can remember and I always had the dream to do this as an professional Artist. It took a whole lot of Social media and a fair bit of luck to get to where I am today,” the Dutch cartoonist added.
Joon W.is not only a talented political cartoonist. He further specializes in graphics for adult novels and children books. He emphasizes life of an artist is not easy anno 2021.
“In fact, it is extremely difficult. Fortunately I am a practical guy, so besides my artistic work I also have a full-time job just to support my family”, he said. “Hopefully there will be a time when I will be a self-sufficient artist.”
Joon W. started a little less than a year as The Levant News’ in-house cartoonist. Before that he frequently published in a wide variety of Dutch regional and corporate magazines. In addition he is also a gifted portrait-maker.
Despite his other work, he gets a lot satisfaction out of drawing political cartoons. In his opinion an ‘excellent way’ of sending out clear statements into the dynamic world of today.
“The time we live in, is an extremely inspiring age for a someone like me. The rise of social media started a new age in which is polarized rapidly. No matter if you are left-wing or right-wing, there is a media platform for everyone.”
Why being so skeptical towards current global events? “What made me pick up my brushes? Basically the fact that – predominantly – the big global mainstream media (e.g. CNN, Euronews, or BBC.) are almost evolving into spokesmen for the ruling governments of the countries they operate in. Almost like the former Soviet Union state television, where there was no room for any alternative voice. And that is a dangerous development.”
He added: “I do not see the mainstream media giving a voice to the unheard. In this context a seed grew in my head to draw provocative cartoons about matters that – in my opinion – are urgent.”
To illustrate Joon W. started with an evil Santa Claus giving away “free” vaccines. “I’m not really pro or anti vac, but I am anti bullshit. Big Pharma literary makes billions of dollars nowadays selling non-clinically tested Covid-19 vaccines thanks to a global campaign based on fear, mass -psychology, peer pressure and lobbying. An unprecedented situation.”
What bothers him the most, is the fact that opposition asking the right questions about the matter is being filtered out of the mainstream media. Opinion leaders asking – the right – critical questions are being put aside as nutcases.
Black Lives Matter
Another spot-on example is his drawing about the hypocrisy of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. In particular the influence of mobile telephones on the global outrage concerning racism and discrimination.
“I am taking a stand for the thousands of predominantly black – and brown – children dying everyday of hunger in Africa and other parts of the world. Where is the global outrage on that matter? I am still waiting for sit-ins in London, Paris and Amsterdam for these kids.”
His goal as a cartoonist is not to tell people what is right or what is wrong, or telling them that he knows things better. His goal is to ring the alarm bell and let people think for themselves.
“Ask yourself the question am I a sheep that follows the hurdle, or am I a free person makes up its own mind? Basic and fundamental questions in my perspective.”
Another interesting cartoon was that of former US president Donald Trump published a few months after he was silenced by social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook. An awkward situation according to the Dutch cartoonist.
Joon W. is eager to draw and publish many more similar ‘dark’ cartoons in the nearby future. “I hope that The Levant News readers in the future will enjoy my drawings but, more importantly, I hope that they will make you smile, or even laugh.
Arthur Blok is the Executive editor-in-chief of The Levant News.