As far back as Joon W. can remember he always wanted to be a distinguished artist

Image credits: Joon W. at home working on his latest political cartoon for The Levant News (private picture).

It is not an easy skill, and one must be gifted to draw political cartoons. The Liberum's own Joon W. (45) is a gifted cartoonist with a cynical sense of humour and is talented in 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. I used 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 for as long as I can remember, and I always dreamed of doing this as a professional Artist. It took a lot of Social media and a fair bit of luck to get to where I am today,” the Dutch cartoonist added.

Chinese and American fencers fighting about who gets to deliver the most vaccines to Africa and thus gets most influence.

Joon W. is not only a talented political cartoonist. He further specialises in graphics for adult novels and children's books. He emphasises the life of an artist is challenging in 2021.

“It is tough. Fortunately, I am a practical guy, so besides my artistic work, I also have a full-time job to support my family”, he said. “Hopefully, there will be a time when I will be a self-sufficient artist.”

A kinky Hungarian prime minister (Viktor Orban) after defending an anti-LGTB law in his country earlier this year.

Joon W. started as The Levant News’ in-house cartoonist less than a year ago. Before that, he frequently published in various Dutch regional and corporate magazines. In addition, he is also a gifted portrait-maker.

Despite his other work, he gets much satisfaction from drawing political cartoons. In his opinion, it is an 'excellent way' of sending out clear statements into today's dynamic world.

“The time we live in is an extremely inspiring age for someone like me. The rise of social media started a new age that is polarised rapidly. Whether left-wing or right-wing, there is a media platform for everyone.”

Why are you so sceptical towards current global events? “What made me pick up my brushes? 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. It was almost like the former Soviet Union state television, with 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.”

Good old Santa Claus bringing the World Covid-vaccines for Christmas 2020. 

Santa Claus
To illustrate, Joon W. started with an evil Santa Claus giving away “free” vaccines. “I’m not pro or anti-vac, but I am anti-bullshit. Big Pharma 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 that opposition asking the right questions about the matter is being filtered out of the mainstream media. Opinion leaders are 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 every day 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 wrong or to tell them that he knows things better. He aims to ring the alarm bell and let people think for themselves.

“Ask yourself, am I a sheep that follows the hurdle, or am I a free person who makes up his mind? Basic questions in my perspective.”

Donald Trump
Another attractive 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.'s impression of Donald Trump tweeting away from mainstream social media channels

Joon W. is eager to draw and publish many more similar ‘dark’ cartoons shortly. “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.


Joon W

Si le monde était clair, l'art ne serait pas." (Albert Camus)
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