Before 2008, Jon McNaughton made a living painting landscapes and religious scenes. But following the election of Barack Obama, he became increasingly alarmed with the state of the country, and began to paint about politics.
Works like “One Nation Under God” and “The Forgotten Man” were shared widely online, and established McNaughton as a protest painter. “I one time did a painting of Obama burning the Constitution,” McNaughton tells Kurt. “I sold a ton of them and I thought to myself, ‘Where do people hang this?’”
McNaughton talks to Kurt Andersen about the power of political art, the effect he thinks his paintings had on conservative discourse and, in a follow-up phone call, the inspiration behind some of his recent Trump-era paintings, including “Crossing The Swamp.”
(Part of this story originally aired February 23, 2017)