Move over boring political portraits, your term is up.
It’s time for SEAL Team 1776. Packed full of figures from United States history and set against the backdrop of the U.S. Constitution, the January 2019 painting by artist and history buff Jason Heuser, shows a stoic George Washington flanked by his fellow presidents: Teddy Roosevelt with a Desert Eagle in the top left, and an M4-rocking Jimmy Carter in the left-hand corner. Teddy Roosevelt (top left); Jimmy Carter (bottom left); George Washington (center) and Benjamin Franklin (right) embark on a mission to safeguard ‘Merica.Jason Heuser/Deviant Art
“I was trying to think: ‘Who would be a really random guy to put in there,'” Heuser told Task & Purpose. So, he settled on Carter, who despite having served seven years in the U.S. Navy was, “Not particularly known to be all that aggressive, and that’s a big reason I thought that would be funny.”
Rounding out the cast on the right is Benjamin Franklin, the founding father that Americans love mistaking for a U.S. president.
“He wasn’t a president, but everyone thinks he was,” Heuser said. “I hadn’t seen the old presidents in modern military gear, so I thought it’d be interesting to see, and thought it’d be kind of funny to see George Washington kitted out in military garb, with modern gear.”
This SOF-spec’d photo of American presidents (and Ben Franklin) is just one of a number of similarly badass illustrations by Heuser, who goes by the handle SharpWriter on Etsy.
“Most of my ideas are just oh hey, this’ll be funny. Then I try to bring actual information in there, but each idea starts with ‘this’ll be funny, or this’ll be random,'” Heuser said.
His work is a who’s who of historical figures with a heavy dash of “rah rah” ‘Mericana thrown in. It’s also largely satirical, which is something that has to be explicitly stated this decade.
After the FBI arrested Cesar Sayoc, who was suspected of mailing bombs to critics of President Donald Trump, Heuser’s art made the news when an illustration he made of Donald Trump riding a tank, was found on Sayoc’s van, according to an Oct. 2018 interview with Heuser and The Verge.
Given the current political climate and the take-everything-at-face-value mentality that’s so pervasive in the 24-hour news and Twitter cycle, maybe Heuser’s idea for SEAL Team 1776 will one day be discussed in complete seriousness in Washington or on cable news, much like Reagan on a velociraptor.
After all, art is in the eye of the beholder, and maybe it wouldn’t be so bad: A top secret special mission unit assembled from the ranks of Congress and the White House might be one way to ensure politicians have skin in the game next the time they get all hot and bothered for a new war.
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