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An illo on how we be illin’; Trump trashes Liberty

Award-winning Soho illustrator and fine artist Harry Pincus offers his take on the outcome of President Trump’s impeachment trial — the Statute of Liberty being dismantled by Trump, with her detached torch being dutifully toted by V.P. Mike Pence.

You could say Pincus’s illustration, or “illo” in the lingo, is a very sad commentary on the state of our country, or how “we be illin'”…in the lingo.

Pincus was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1952, the only child of a free-thinking subway conductor and a creative homemaker. A radio actor for the New York City Board of Education on WNYE, Harry graduated from Wingate High School at age 16, and worked in back-office operations on Wall St., only to resign the day before Woodstock so he could attend the music festival in the summer of 1969.

While attending Hunter College, he produced a book of photographs and poems, “Acclaimed Stupendous,” while living in a panel truck for six months and traveling 17,000 miles. The truck, a 1969 Chevy, had been purchased from a Brooklyn flower store and said, “Say It With Flowers,” across the doors. Two 16-mm films, “Max et Meryem” and “Acclaimed Stupendous,” were also produced during Pincus’s CUNY period.

(Illustration by Harry Pincus)

He continued his independent study program while living in Paris for a year. There he worked as a concierge in the old Parisian quarter known as Belleville, and ran his films at the Cinématèque Français (Jeune Cinéma Mondiale), wrote for the Paris Metro and produced illustrations for Libération.

Back in the States, after having driven a cab in the South Bronx, loaded trucks all night for the post office, and worked as a messenger for a Park Ave. law firm, the 22-year-old Pincus was able to “invest” $4,000 to purchase a Soho loft studio. Arriving in what was to become a luxurious neighborhood required living without water or electricity for a time in those early days.

After a stint as a $5 pen-and-ink portrait artist on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village, Pincus  — on the insistence of his father — attended the School of Visual Arts for a year, studying illustration and etching.

He began working as a freelance illustrator in 1975, and was soon published with some regularity in The New York Times, the SoHo News and even Screw magazine (launch pad for several distinguished New York Times art directors). A Pincus illustration of the pope on the cover of The New York Times’s Week In Review was followed the next day by a Screw magazine portfolio of erotic drawings (“Showing Pincus; The Raunch King of Pen ’n’ Kink.”)

Over the years, Pincus’s illustrations have appeared in The New Republic, the Washington Post, thestreet.com, the Nation, the Washington Star, the Melbourne Age and many more.

Pincus still lives and works in his original Soho loft, with his wife and two children. For more about the artist, click here.

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