Donald Trump has been in office for nearly a year that has gone both incredibly fast and all too slow. TIME forced the president to remove the fake TIME covers the president photo-shopped his own image onto from his golf resort gift shops. Yet, the president continues to grab the magazine’s attention – especially the new real Trump anniversary cover.
Artist Edel Rodriguez is a Cuban-American and designed the previous cover, “Meltdown,” for TIME. People see his orange-and-yellow trademark and immediately understand the cover is his. Rodriguez has repeatedly challenged himself and recreated the theme over and over again.
Michael Wolff’s new White House tell-all book exploded upon the scene, and Rodriguez said TIME wanted to reference the Fire and Fury book on Trump’s anniversary cover:
‘I got a message from (TIME Creative Director) D.W. Pine that they wanted to do a cover referencing what’s been going on with the Michael Wolff book, Fire and Fury, and also the anniversary of the inauguration, looking back to the past year.’
The artist said he meant for the flames on the anniversary cover to reflect both Wolff’s book’s contents and its title Fire and Fury. Rodriguez said that he incorporated into his art Trump’s menacing comment that North Korea would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” should the little nation not stop threatening the U.S.:
‘We used to live where the United States was a pretty steady country, and now you wake up every day and try to figure out where’s the next fire, where do we have to go, what do we have to try to contain. It’s sort of this President that you’re always trying to contain, like a wildfire that’s moving from one place to the other at all times.’
The artist gave TIME a mock-up cover, which was “flatter than flat” and placed it on his Twitter site:
‘I thought it was going to be for my friends on Twitter, like an exercise, and it’s the most retweeted image I’ve ever done.’
‘I’ve been asked what I would’ve done with the Fire and Fury cover by some folks who think the existing cover design is a disaster and a missed opportunity, so here is what I might have done with it.
Rodriguez liked the orange he uses consistently for Trump’s face, since he began with the “Meltdown” cover. He said:
‘Part of what I was trying to do was establish this brand, that I can do anything to this image and you can see it anywhere and it just reminds you, “Oh wow, that guy’s making that again, I should pay attention.” It’s sort of like an anti-branding campaign, where you’re branding something so that people recognize it and kind of critique it strongly.’
TIME creative director, Pine, discussed the newest cover:
‘Edel has been an important part of TIME’s visual language the past few years. It’s amazing how his bold, yet simple graphic strokes perfectly capture a likeness, but also start a conversation.’
One of Rodriguez’s Trump covers won him an ASME award, but he said that Trump does not inspire him:
‘I’m not inspired by (Trump) at all. The opposite — I feel that I’m in a position where I know how to make pictures that communicate well, and I don’t really see that many people visually taking him on. It’s a bit of a responsibility for me to do it.’
The artist discusses freedom of speech, which Trump has said he wants to curb:
‘For me, free speech is the reason I left my homeland. Anyone that leaves their homeland, it’s in their mind a lot, and they want to make it worthwhile. There’s a reason you left, and the reason I left was to make my work and to speak freely, and so I’ll keep on doing it.’
Featured Image via Nicki Twitter Page.