You might have seen this story a couple weeks back about New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English having a go of some new AR/VR technology.
The cartoon wrote itself really.
May the Fourth III
I recently drew the above cartoon for the Community of St Luke Christmas billboard. Strangely, it made the news. I have no idea why. Since when is honesty controversial?
This cartoon is more personal for me. 2016 has been a tough year. Not only because of the outcome of the US election (and I’ve had to eat my words about that), there’s just been so much awful stuff to crawl through.
Top of mind right now is the heartbreaking situation in Aleppo. How many pictures of dead and bloodied children do we have to see on TV before those in the position to influence the situation actually do something about it? It’s infuriating and soul-numbing.
So, am I thinking Christmas is going to make a difference to that somehow this year? Sadly, no. I just want this year over and done, and maybe come 2017 we can start to rebuild sufficiently so that there will truly be a reason for joy next Christmas.
In the event you need help understanding this cartoon, click here.
Mental Health II
Jim likes cartooning for a good cause. And this is an especially good cause.
Click here to read more about the People’s Mental Health Review.
About a year ago, I was chatting with a friend about my next book project. I’d had a bunch of ideas about what it could be … maybe a sequel to my last book, or an overview of my cartooning careers over the past 30 years … but nothing was really coalescing into a single definitive idea. Then my friend stated the obvious:
“Why don’t you do a book of all your technology cartoons?”
It seemed so simple. And it was. I had been working for the past 10 years in public relations consultancy roles on a wide variety of technology brands, and all the while my cartoonist’s brain had been creating cartoons that naturally picked up on the themes and topics that my PR consultant’s brain was mulling over on a daily basis. I checked my foilio and found dozens of cartoons on technology themes; definitely enough for a book.
Skip forward to today, where I am now very excited to announce that my new book, ‘Sounds Like a Game Changer: A soon-to-be obsolete collection of technology cartoons by Jim’ is complete and is now just busting to get published!
This is where you come in!
From today until the end of June 2016, I am seeking folks keen to support the publication of this book and pre-order copies so I can raise enough cash to print it and bring it to life. I have set up a campaign through Kiwi crowd-funding web site PledgeMe where you can place your order and score some cool rewards as well. Check out all the campaign details here!
I’m really proud of how the content of the book has evolved. As some major tech moments have occurred over the past year I’ve created new cartoons about them, and grouped them into seven distinct topics areas: innovation, devices, life online, tech at work, big data, sustainability and the future. I’ve added some written thoughts to each chapter drawn from my work with technology brands which complement the cartoons and give a bit more insight to their development and reflection on the issues they address.
I’m also super chuffed that my good friend and world-renowned scientist / technology guru Dr Michelle Dickinson (a.k.a. Nanogirl) is writing a foreword to the book! Can’t wait to see that!
So, if you’re into technology and love cartoons, this is the book for you. Be a game-changer, and help me get this book published!
My recent cartoon for Touchstone magazine on the bankruptcy of the terrorist mindset.
Another Easter season … another billboard cartoon by Jim! Here’s the media release from the Community of St Luke about this one...
Church billboard hammers home Easter message to Donald Trump
AUCKLAND, 9 March 2016 - Donald Trump has made an appearance in Auckland today via a new Easter billboard outside a Remuera church.
The cartoon image depicts the Republican presidential hopeful looking across a scene of Jesus Christ nailed to a cross, while holding a hammer in his hand and declaring “I don’t like losers.”
Glynn Cardy, the minister of St Luke’s, says the billboard takes aim at the candidate known for calling a wide variety of people ‘losers’ because Trump’s views are in direct contradiction to the message of Jesus.
“For those of us at St Luke’s, the cross is about politics. Jesus was killed – violently, publically and shamefully – because he spoke truth to power and confronted the leaders of his day about their treatment of the outcasts,” says Cardy.
“To the Trumps of his day, and to those who see winners as having money and power, the Jesus of the Bible was a loser who associated with those rejected by society. And he died broke.
“Jesus had an alternative vision of reality, however. He was a person who sided with minorities and those who were most vulnerable, and it was this that got him killed.”
Cardy says Trump’s comments about Muslims, Mexicans and women are offensive to Christianity.
“I hope that voters in the US will see Trump’s message for what it is, and not make him a nominee for their highest office.”
Cardy says the billboard will remain up throughout the Church’s Lenten and Easter season and as long as the issue of Trump’s candidacy remains undecided.
Visit the Community of St Luke online at http://stlukes.org.nz
- ENDS -
For more information, contact:
Ph: +64 9 520 0678
Mob: 021 545 969
About the Community of St Luke
The Community of Saint Luke seeks to be a nurturing, challenging community which values continuity as well as change, exploration and creative opportunities
•A place where all who come are accepted and respected
•A community ready to use the skills and experience of all its people
•A community which values everyone’s freedom to search for God, or a meaningful spirituality, to make their own response, and to find a fulfilling life
Let me say this … I actually don’t think Donald Trump will get to be President of the USA. There are too many smart people in the US who understand the seriousness required for the presidency to let a racist, divisive demagogue take control of the White House. This is the same bunch of people that voted in Barack Obama twice, after all. That was a good call, USA.
That said, I can see Trump becoming the Republican nominee. But if that happens, I expect it will be the end of the GOP. Again it’s an issue of being taken seriously. How could the Republican Party ever look anyone in the face again after handing over the reins to such a vile person?
But of course, there’s his support base. It astonishes me that there are people who call themselves Christian in the US and support Donald Trump – yet there are many of them. If they can’t see how his views are at complete odds with those of genuine Christianity, then they betray the very One they claim to believe in and follow.
I hope Bernie Sanders gets to be the Democratic Party nominee. If he doesn’t, then it will be Hillary Clinton, and she would be a good choice too – although I think she would face the tougher battle at an election. (Too much Clinton baggage.)
Whatever the outcome, it’s going to be an interesting year ahead. But mark my words, Donald Trump will not become President of the USA. God forbid.
This cartoon is a bit late, as Star Wars – Episode 7: The Force Awakens was released last month. Fair enough though, I reckon. Lucasfilm were running very late with releasing a decent new episode in the series anyway. (Zing!)
So I saw The Force Awakens one week after it was released, and it was a damn fine watch. Like many, I was captivated by the original trilogy, the first of which (Episode 4: A New Hope) I was too young to go see in the cinema, but VHS tape made up for that. I barely remember seeing Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back in the cinema, but boy do I remember seeing Episode 6: Return of the Jedi. I had won tickets to it by breathing like Darth Vader at a shopping centre which was doing a promo. I also won a vinyl LP soundtrack of the movie that day. So – again, like so many others - the spectacle and story of these films were imprinted indelibly on my brain since boyhood.
Then came the release of the Special Editions. I saw all of them in the cinema, but cringed at the additional new material. Wholly unnecessary I thought, but still great to see them in the cinema again.
Then came 1999 and the release of Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Then 2002 with Episode 2: Attack of the Clones. Then 2005 with Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith. Three films that should have been awesome, but weren’t. And I mean SO weren’t. So much so that today I acknowledge they exist, but I have vowed to never own them and will do everything I can to avoid watching them ever again. (I may give the Machete Order a try some day, but it’ll be with enduring resentment in my heart.)
But back to the new film. The Force Awakens was a joy to watch, and certainly felt like a real Star Wars film, with the same soul of what was there in Return of the Jedi. What I last felt in 1983 has truly awoken again in me, hence the cartoon.
Of course, I always reflect on the parallels of what I cartoon about with my own cartooning journey. I am aiming for this year to be a similar re-awakening for my cartooning after a tough 2015, with some new projects in planning to come to fruition as soon as I can manage them. Do stay tuned for more on that, and pass the time till then with many joyous re-watches of your own of The Force Awakens.
Because, if we can’t just sit back and enjoy the Story of life once in a while, what is the point?
May the Force be with you in 2016.
I was pleased this week to be able to help out the Community of St Luke church in Remuera with a new cartoon for their Christmas billboard.
See below for the full text of the media release about it:
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Christmas billboard portrays the Holy Family as refugees
The Community of St Luke’s church in Remuera, Auckland, today revealed its Christmas billboard; a cartoon depicting the Holy Family of Mary and Joseph as refugees in a leaky boat being turned away at a barbed-wire border fence.
The Minister of St Luke’s, Rev Glynn Cardy, says the image aims to bring into clear focus the meaning of Christmas for a modern world that is facing an ongoing and desperate refugee crisis.
“The first Christmas involved people with few resources relying on the hospitality of those with more. This is the situation today with refugees – whether in Europe, or trying to reach Australia or even New Zealand.” says Cardy.
“Like today’s refugees, Mary and Joseph had travelled far from their families. They were vulnerable. They needed someone to make room, to make a room available, in order that Mary could give birth to Jesus.
“Christmas not only asks us to be generous and welcoming as individuals. It also asks us to make sure our Government’s policies towards refugees are generous and welcoming.”
Cardy says that for Christians to reject refugees is to reject Mary and her unborn child in their time of need.
“Rather than being greeted by a gun, a barbed-wire fence, and a blunt statement ‘Sorry; there’s no room’, could not we greet refugees with shelter, food, and assistance with work?”
Visit the Community of St Luke online at http://stlukes.org.nz
For more information, contact:
Ph: +64 9 520 0678
Mob: 021 545 969
RWC Religion II
Anyone living in New Zealand this year will have got wind of the fact that we’re currently looking at options for choosing a new flag. And like some kinds of wind, the whole process has started to smell a bit.
From the outset, having the Prime Minister instigate a referendum on changing the flag when there was no significantly compelling reason to do so – apart from the occasional embarrassment of having the Australian flag substituted for the NZ flag at sporting competitions and the like – and also while there are many more compelling issues (poverty, refugees, the TPPA, etc) and more crucial uses for the money being used to administer the whole process – certainly has an odour to it.
Secondly, having a panel of judges decide from a list of 10,000 which final 40 flag designs will be considered without someone with actual design or vexillology skills sitting on that panel – and then coming to a conclusion that the only four options that will be considered are all variations on a fern – which, coincidentally, is the Prime Minister’s preference – seems even more on the nose.
But now, in the midst of all that stink, a flag design that was dismissed by the panel has blown back into the public consciousness and captured the minds of a significant percentage of the New Zealand’s population – or at least those who are on social media. It’s a simple design people are calling ‘Red Peak’ and it’s been like a breath of fresh air in the whole fetid swamp of this process.
I overlooked it on first glance. It seemed almost too simple. However, after reading more about the creative process of the designer Aaron Dustin, and the thought and consideration that went into its imagery, and then looking at it with the intention of finding my own meaning in it – as we must do for all images – I realised that I’d fallen in love with it.
I see the Land of the Long White cloud in Red Peak, the same country that welcomed me so warmly 17 years ago. I see snow covered mountains, which form part of the landscape here that I love. Beneath that is the red glow of the geothermal activity that beats deep in the heart of the land here and bursts through to the surface in so many places, providing energy and industry.
The dash of black on Red Peak acknowledges for me the role that the colour black has played in the New Zealand sporting identity, which – like it or not – is an important part of this nation’s psyche. I also see a nod to the past in the colours and the angles that resemble a close up of the Union Jack. And yet I also see the patterns of traditional Maori tukutuku in the triangle design.
Essentially, it’s a design that resonates with my experience living in New Zealand, and I would be proud to see it flying as a representation of this country that I live in and love so much. However, Red Peak is not on the official flag short list, and short of a law change (which is possible, apparently) it’s not going to be. That seems a shame.
As an Australian who has now lived in New Zealand for almost 17 years, I’ve been well aware of the mix-ups that happen between the two flags of my country of birth and now my country of residence. Both are part of my identity, and yet both seemed to be clinging to a bygone era that’s all about empire and colonisation.
Which brings me to the above cartoon. It’s clearly a nod to those who do not want to change the flag at all for historical reasons. They want to keep the old flag because people fought and died under it, and I completely honour that reason. I agree that we shouldn't just change the flag without taking that history into account, and if we can’t find one that does, then we shouldn't do it. However, Red Peak does acknowledge that history, in my view at least.
I also like to think that Red Peak is a representation of the fact that New Zealand today is a society that does not have to fight wars of empire anymore, and that it is a precious thing to be living in a country where we have the freedom to freely express ourselves – on Twitter and elsewhere - and fight for things like what flag best represents our common, yet multicultural, identity.
If nothing else, Red Peak is a reminder that identity matters, and if we don’t take a stand for defining that ourselves, someone else will do it for us.
So let’s not get blown about by random winds of change. Let’s run Red Peak up the flag pole and see who salutes.
Drone Baby, Drone
May the Fourth II
Well, it’s that time of the year again. The day when sci-fi geeks like myself get to let our freak flag fly about our love for Star Wars!
I must admit, I’m getting pretty excited about the impending new movie, Episode VII: The Force Awakens. As one who still denies the canonical authenticity – and sometimes, the very existence of – the atrocious prequels, I’m glad that it does look like we’re in for a decently executed story this time.
In spite of the fact that I still hold a grudge against JJ Abrams for sucking me in, then dashing my belief in his TV show ‘Lost’, I still reckon we can trust him to redeem George Lucas’ tarnished legacy. If he doesn’t, well – we’ll just have something else to gripe about. Either way, it’ll be fun.
So … May the Fourth be with you!
Last weekend, I was one of about 90 “artists” who gathered at the Aotea Centre in Auckland’s city centre for the Chromacon 2015 Indie Arts Festival. (Please note … When I put “artists" in quotes, as above, it’s referring to my own comparative lack of artistic ability.)
It was a huge lot of fun, and I got to meet some amazing comic illustrators for the first time, and caught up with a bunch of others I’ve known for a long time. But in between those collegial moments, the above cartoon was pretty much how I was feeling most of the time. While I know plenty of people have seen my cartoons before, there is nothing that quite compares to having someone stare at one's attempts at humour while you are sitting right there in front of it.
The reactions were many and varied. Thankfully, the majority were laughs, but there was the occasional stony face that glanced, read and then sauntered off, clearly unmoved. The scariest was the old lady with pursed lips who stopped and picked a copy of my book of ‘(sac)religious’ cartoons then flipped through the pages with a disapproving scowl on her face before dropping it back on the table and striding away, having made not a nano-second of eye contact. Yikes.
Of course my favourites were the ones who approached with blank stares, then broke out in chuckles as they pointed the particular cartoon out to a friend or accompanying family member. Those were the golden moments that made me realise why I enjoy drawing cartoons.
It’s the moments of connection that I long for. This joke formulates in my brain, I put it on paper, then someone looks at it and laughs. It’s now in their brain. There’s something simple and magical in that transaction, and the best bit is that in that moment of my nakedness, I don’t feel self-conscious anymore. Because everyone is naked at that point. We’ve effectively returned to the Garden of Eden, to an unsullied place of spiritual connection between the human and divine.
I’m not sure if the other artists at Chromacon felt the same way, but there was certainly a lot of creativity going on in that room that day. If that isn’t something divine, I don’t know what is.