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September 24, 2021

The Tea Party’s Favorite Painter

Have you ever flipped through cable channels while impaired, lingering on some freakishly weird Lawrence Welk Show dance moves for a few seconds of guilty pleasure? Looking at the works of right-wing Utah painter Jon McNaughton is kind of like that.

If you haven’t exposed yourself to the visual splendor of his überpatriotic art, you’re so missing out.

Stylistically, McNaughton cranks out the kind of representational schlock a Days Inn manager circa 1975 would have been too embarrassed to hang in one of his guest rooms. He makes Thomas Kinkade look like Damien Hirst.

During his studies at Brigham Young University, McNaughton quit the art department—griping about its “less appealing emphasis of modern art.”

The guy who found BYU too edgy.

The guy who found BYU too edgy.

Of course he did.

“I like to use metaphor and multiple levels of meaning to reach my viewer,” McNaughton explains, clearly not understanding the meaning of “metaphor.”

Robert Motherwell’s Elegy to the Spanish Republic would count as a metaphor, for instance, depicting a bull’s genitals to mock the male banality of warfare and Franco’s fascism.

But connecting those dots actually requires a few seconds of thought, and McNaughton will expose his Tea Party fans to no such mental duress.

Instead—BAM!—we have Obama stomping on the Constitution, with George Washington going “what the FUCK, dude?!”

I’ll pause here while you process through all that visual subtext. Hang in there, it’s subtle, but after a few minutes of googling and meditating upon 18th Century U.S. history, the deeper “meaning” will reveal itself to you.

Though some day McNaughton’s art may feature the finesse of a preschooler’s Crayon stick figure of mommy crying, we’re not quite there yet and will have to settle for the bad depictions of his least favorite TV personalities in Liberalism Is A Disease. But come on, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

The next time you’re battling insomnia I recommend trolling his Facebook page. The folks at Democratic Underground suggested McNaughton’s imagery contains a strong undercurrent of racism. It’s unclear why they’d suggest this, other than the fact that his imagery contains a strong undercurrent of racism.

McNaughton is the kind of guy who think the metaphorical slavery, as he sees it, of paying one’s taxes is far more offensive than the actual slavery in our nation’s history.

But it’s cool. “My black friends don’t think I’m a racist!” he protests in defense.

Yes. He actually went “I have black friends” on us.




16 Responses to “The Tea Party’s Favorite Painter”
  1. Beaglemom says:

    Kind of reminds me of the two pictures on the wall above the rocking chair where a local fundamentalist self-proclaimed pastor does his sermonizing on local access television here in northern Michigan. He’s got a nineteenth century cartoon depiction of Abraham Lincoln (the monkey one, you know) and a bathed in sunlight and haloed Robert E. Lee leading his soldiers. Pretty obnoxious but the pastor fills his patter with “alleluias” and “amens.” He’d probably just love this guy’s pictures.

  2. GoBig says:

    Looks like something from Mad Magazine.

  3. mike from iowa says:

    For Ms Cushman up above-McMaughtyman takes his political cues from the Snowdrift Snookster re the Bull Moose Party-

  4. mag the mick says:

    An extremely labored, one might say obsessive attention to detail. Use of violent imagery. Inclusion of figures associated with fear and destruction. I think this man demonstrates evidence of severe mental illness, and I hope he gets help.

  5. AKblue says:

    His work has kind of a Hieronymus Bosch madness to it.

  6. Zyxomma says:

    Yuck. Ick. Blecchhh.

  7. Dagian says:

    Sorry – I left out Pieter Bruegel the Elder. I couldn’t remember his name & had to do a little online rummaging.

    Anyway, this clown may feel he belongs in such company, but he doesn’t. Not now. Not ever.

  8. Dagian says:

    He’s no Durer or Lorenzetti, that’s evident!’

    I’ve seen far more interesting street murals (commissioned by individual or community) and graffiti.

  9. mike from iowa says:

    Jon McNaughton “Painter of Slight”. I kinda get the symbolism of the first painting. Raygun and fiends are gonna mug the poor chap on the bench and give the money to the Koch Bros while Washington is going after the dimes in Obie’s penny loafers to give to the wealthy. Second painting shows Obama debating a rwnj “chicken-hawk” while one of the Koch Bros. clutches a satchel of money tightly to his chest. McNaughton,is that ALL you got?

  10. Jamie says:

    Oooooh schlock, indeed! And Ronnie and Abe as Founding Fathers! Yes! Great, great write up and analysis of this truly ‘Murcan artiste….. but you didn’t mention where one can buy these timeless beauties. And how many are hanging in a museum?

    • beth. says:

      You can get to his website and be enthralled by his write-ups about each of his glorious works via the “Liberalism is a Disease” link to his website above {or here: } This particular painting, btw, is his most popular — unfortunately, it isn’t for sale “due to copyright restrictions”, but some lucky bidder won it (I guess) by offering the highest bid on it prior to 15 July 2013. Fear not, though, you, too, can be the proud owner of any number of his magnificent works for a mere +/- $95-ish per print. I know, I know, your heart is all a-pitter patter with that news. You’re welcome. beth.

  11. Scott Elyard says:

    Uh-oh. This guy has been on Boing Boing (as have I) but now that he’s appeared on the Mudflats, he’s one-upped me.

    I need to go paint things.

  12. beth. says:

    Well, at least the Socialist Muslin [sic] Community Organizer, Obummer (Ptttui!), finally got FDR off his lazy ass… Ol’ Frankie’s standing right there, all WPA-ish and CCC-like, between Billy Clinton and Woody Wilson.

    Oh, I’m swooning over the exquisite and realistically rendered paintings. I can’t wait for him to paint that most glorious of Murrican Ideals, the one and only Paragon of Patriotism and Fearless Defender of Freedom, Mrs Todd “Sarah” Palin. Maybe one of her with Lady Margaret Thatcher and dear, dear, dear Ronnie? Against a backdrop of Seven Mountains. Truly, seeing that, my joy would surely know no bounds. beth.

  13. AKMagpie says:

    But where are the dinosaurs? I was sure there would be dinosaurs and Jesus. Srsly, as soon as the gummint starts up this man should be enrolled in an NIH study of mental dysfunction -and his pet dinosaur also, too. Don’t they have PET scans now? We could compare his brain with the pet dinosaur’s. What? You mean the PET scan isn’t for actual pets? How confusicating. ARRGGHH.

  14. Alaska Pi says:

    Well- in the political-statement paintings- uber heavy on the white guys, almost no women and kids except as emotional props, and a buncha schmaltzy , boorish “symbolism”.
    Oh, Jeez- what’s not to like?

    And that rilly, rilly white guy with the big gun and flag and camos in the SYG farce?
    The whole thing is a phallic fetish piece.

    And the cut-off-your-slave-chains painting and my-black-friends-don’t-think-I’m-racist crap?
    ROFL so hard I broke 3 ribs

    This guy is like some Onion piece which came to life…

  15. alwaysagardener says:

    Totally uninspiring schlock. My tole-painting friends can do better! Apologies to tole-painters.

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