He became famous for painting the realism of Trump. It goes very well with him gone.

“What Putin did by invading a sovereign country is obviously horrific,” he explained. “I really feel for the Ukrainian people, but on the other hand, the West, Ukraine and NATO have been pushing the bear for years now.”

He made sketches of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin. But, in a reflection of the internal conflict he feels about the war, he had greater artistic aspirations for the latter.

“I had the idea for a painting of Putin where I was going to see him grabbing a dove with an olive branch in one hand, almost pressing death, then holding a human skull in the other hand and he’s got this kind of look that he’s got a black eye and he’s wondering what he wants to do,” McNaughton explained.

With creative impulses like these, it’s no surprise that McNaughton has been hit with a torrent of criticism over the years. Stephane Colbert underline than on McNaughton website you can scroll through a famous chart to find personalities called the “Liberal News Reporter”, “Satan”, and “Mr. Hollywood. Art Critic Jerry Saltz called his pieces “visually dead as a doornail” and “typical propaganda art, perfectly evident in the message”.

However, as befits the age of polarization, McNaughton has also become famous and revered on the right. Although he doesn’t take commissions, he said figures from the conservative media world sometimes approach him with ideas, including a producer for Hannity and D’Souza. In January, he said, he had a “somewhat private conversation” with Trump at a fundraiser in Texas.

“He didn’t know I was coming at the time, but when I walked into the room and told him who I was, he lit up and he was happy to see me and we had a good chat. “, he recalls. “We talked a lot about [the art].”

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