Utah-based painter Jon McNaughton, who has been called the “Trump administration’s unofficial artist", explains the meaning of 10 works from his canon.
|"Wake up America"
“Every man, woman, and child in America is enslaved to our national debt. As anartist, I have laid out my vision of the dire circumstances that surround us. Now, more than ever, each American must make a choice: will we unlock the shackles that enslave us, or will we give up the greatest gift we have—our freedom? It is my hope and prayer that America will ‘wake up’ before it is too late… Those who are familiar with my work know I like to use symbolism and metaphor to engage the viewer. See if you can find and decipher the many symbols in this image. In the painting I have intentionally hidden six keys that will WAKE UP AMERICA and release us from the chains of economic and political bondage. Find these keys and share them with as many Americans as you can. If we don’t ‘wake up,’ the next generation may not know what it means to be free”
“What is the meaning of this painting? This painting has over 100 figures, both good and bad, men and women that have left their footprint on Christianity. The man in the middle represents the modern Christian…a man who must decide whether or not he will stand up for his Christian beliefs. Many are shouting out to tell him what to do. He raises his hand to say, ‘Be silent, for I know that Jesus is the Christ!’ He touches Jesus’ shoulder to indicate that he gets his strength from the Master. Today, Christians are the most persecuted people in the entire world. Yet many of us stand idly by as we are mocked and persecuted for what we know to be true. As true Christians, we must not fear to speak the truth, even if it means we have to stand alone in the world. What does the title of the painting mean? ‘Via Dolorosa’ are the Latin words for ‘Way of Suffering’ and is the name for the traditional road in which Christ carried his cross to Calvary.”
“Every year hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals march to our southern border and cross into our country. Who are they? What right do they have to come here? Dangerous drug smugglers, human traffickers, and other criminals enter our country without permission, while many more wait in line legally hoping for the American dream. These law breakers cost the American taxpayer over 100 billion dollars a year and have a disproportionate level of crime in our population. President Trump only asks for 5.7 billion dollars to secure the border, so why won’t the politicians let him do it? In my new painting, the Democrat establishment declares victory against President Trump as he announces a national emergency to secure the border. They proudly hold the flags they represent and cherish. Our politicians have become traitors to this country, in most cases they are more loyal to whichever country, lobbyist, corporation, or special interest group that will keep them in office and line their bank accounts. I’m sick of how they trample our flag and do not seek America’s interests first. Trump stands apart from them with his head bowed contemplating the state of our border situation. He sees a lost doll left behind by a little girl forced to make the dangerous journey. To not build the wall is to allow people on both sides of the border to suffer needlessly.”
|“Teach a Man to Fish”
“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I imagined President Trump sitting next to a young college student. His pack is beside him and his Socialism and Justice Warrior books laid aside. He listens to Trump’s proposal and looks at the different bait he can use to catch his fish. Trump offers him a fishing pole. Each of us has the freedom to choose our own destiny. Trump has suggested through his educational policy that people can be taught a skilled vocation. How will Trump make America great again? I believe this mantra is about giving American citizens an equal opportunity to find success. Equal opportunity is different than equal results. You can give a man a pole, it doesn’t mean he will use it.
“When they played football in the old days they didn’t have facemasks. It was a time of blood, guts, and glory. Today’s politics are rough. You have to push hard for everything you get. The field is muddy, and the players can get dirty. But, we have a President that has risen above the rest. The other side hates him and will do anything to destroy him. Try to take him down – think again! He’s going for the goal, another touchdown, SCORE! Who are the people?”
|“The Forgotten Man”
“This historic image was painted by Jon McNaughton in 2011 in response to the passing of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). During the 2016 election the painting gained additional interest as Americans united to defeat Hillary Clinton. On the day of the election, Sean Hannity spoke of the significance of this painting and how it would take the forgotten men and women of America to rise up and save America. That night, as Donald Trump gave his acceptance speech he noted that because of the Forgotten Men and Women of America he was standing as the new President of the United States. The day after the election Sean Hannity purchased the original painting and publicly stated that this was the election of the ‘Forgotten Man.’”
|“You Are Not Forgotten”
“When I decided to paint this picture, I wondered if this was taking it too far. But, sometimes you have to speak forcefully, like the brushstrokes of my painting. Many Americans have felt forgotten by the establishment in Washington. I’m talking about the people who are more interested in themselves, and their political careers. How many veterans have been neglected? How many of our police officers have been marginalized? How many families are suffering because of poor healthcare, limited opportunities, and government intrusion? Last year we elected President Trump. He expressed by his words and demeanor what Americans wanted – a man who was not going to bow down to Washington or other countries. A man that would not forget the ‘forgotten men and women’ of this country who elected him. I want a president that will crush the enemies of liberty, justice, and American prosperity. They may have the power to bruise his heel, but he will have the power to crush their head!”
|“Expose the Truth”
“There has been a crusade in this country led by a group that wishes to overturn the election and impeach President Trump. Robert Mueller leads a special council of at least 17 partisan Democrat attorneys who have yet to find a single piece of evidence against the President, yet they ignore the mounting verifiable evidence against Russian collusion with the DNC and the Clinton Foundation. The political bias and negligence of those who have lead the Department of Justice and the FBI is forthcoming. There comes a time when you have to take a stand to Expose the Truth!”
|“One Nation Under God”
“In the painting Christ is holding up the U.S. Constitution while behind him are the Founding Fathers and other patriotic heroes from the past two centuries speaking to us from the dust. They are asking us to remember the foundation of our country’s greatness and the liberties defined under the Constitution. The fact that Christ holds the Constitution is very significant. I believe it was a divinely inspired document. I believe God holds this country in the hollow of his hand. The Constitution gave Americans the kind of liberty unknown elsewhere in the world. I believe our country has been gradually weakened over the years, and we are reaching a tipping point. In the front of the painting, on the left side, are your strong Americans. On the other side are those who I believe have weakened the country. The painting is very symbolic, and I wanted it to be that way to cause people to study it and ponder its message. I hope people will understand my feelings as they learn more about the meaning of this painting.”
|“Angel of Liberty – The Vision of George Washington”
The Vision of George Washington is not so well known by most Americans, but it is worth consideration as our country stands in peril of losing everything we hold dear. At a time when our financial solvency and our national security are more vulnerable than we have ever been, what will save us from the doom that lurks at our doorstep? I chose to paint this vision at the triumphant moment when the Angel of Liberty bursts upon the scene. Whether or not the vision is authentic, is debatable, but the message it contains is timeless.”