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by Tony Fitzpatrick
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Nothing makes religious types twitchier than images of the devil. Even cartoons and caricatures make the fuckers apoplectic. It's funny. As a kid I often drew naked “Devil Women” -- it drove the nuns out of their minds.

Years later, the artist Coop made himself a fortune drawing sexy, naked, porn-devil women. Needless to say, I love these things. Some of them are way dirty -- and man, are they a good time. I still love drawing devils because no matter how comic or antic the image, there is still a transgressive charge that comes along with it. My art dealers used to get sweaty when I told them I was going to make some devil images. “But those birds you make are SO lovely!” they’d often say. This was their subtle way of telling me, “Devils are damn near impossible to sell, schmuck. Make with the pretty stuff; don't shit on the birthday cake.”

Often I just kept drawing birds, because I love drawing them and am happy to do so -- but still I'd keep a private stash of devil images just because they made me happy. In this new body of work, there will be no shortage of devils -- or birds. Maybe I'll even make some devil-birds.

My friend Monte Beauchamp published a beautiful book of Krampus images this year. Krampus also has horns, hooves, a long-ass tongue and a pointed tail -- just like a devil. But he is not a devil. Krampus was kind of the messenger sent to rotten little kids in an effort to get them to straighten the fuck up, so Santa Claus would bring them presents.

You could have fooled me -- the Krampus images are some genuinely scary shit, far more devilish than the devils I'd ever seen before. As light-hearted as a lot of the Krampus images are supposed to be, they are extraordinarily visceral.

In America, a lot of our politics have been hijacked by the religious right. Devil images make them nuts. In fact, three young men in West Memphis went to prison because they were thought to be “devil worshippers.”

They were accused of the notorious murder of three little boys as part of a “Satanic Ritual.” The community was lathered into a righteous religious froth, and those three young men lost 18 years of their lives -- despite the fact that there was next to no evidence, other than the fact that they were pegged as Satanists, mainly by the other prime suspect in the murders, a disturbo who kept showing up in the documentaries, knowing way too much.

The Memphis Three were finally released in the last year. It's amazing what kind of havoc a few pentagrams and a Megadeth tee-shirt can cause. It took three documentaries and endless appeals to free these guys. 

The religious right actually ought to be grateful for the devil. He is their catch-all! All of the evil these fuck-tards perpetrate on women, gays, the poor, the working-class and immigrants is of no real concern to them, but let one of them get caught in a gay tryst or with a hooker or pulling their own cheeks apart for a lobbyist? --and whoa, the water-works start, the “we’ve been bamboozled by the devil!” narrative goes into full flower.

It is always the devil disguised as a wad of cash, pussy, cock, a golf junket. The devil is always disguised as an intern trying to blow you, or making you take cell-phone pictures of your dick and tweeting them to congressional pages. Then they cry like bitches on TV and get all up in Jesus' crevices. These fuckers only have one play in their book -- that devil. He sure is a slippery fish.

Me and my artist friends used to make jokes about making a whole body of “nice guy” devil pictures. Drawings of devils helping old ladies across the street, getting cats out of trees, being crossing guards, and even the devil changing a flat tire for Jesus.

Flip the whole Christian mythology on its nut-sack and piss off the religious drool-cases. I've just decided I want to make some devil images -- not the feral, Heavy Metal devils, though. Those are done to death, to the point of being boring. I like the Snap-E-Tom colored devils, the ones that are redder than a monkey's ass, the wise-ass, hot-foot, flaming-bag-of-dog-shit-on-your-porch devils. Mischief-makers, tricksters, pranksters, Randall P. McMurphy-style devils.

When I was in third grade -- the first time -- the Nun would watch me like a hawk while I drew during art class. She was always lurking like a carrion bird, waiting for me to draw something objectionable.

I never kept her waiting long. The crowning achievement was a drawing of her giant melon in the talons of a harpy eagle -- it was actually the first time I'd gotten a really good likeness. When she saw her big, sweaty head being carried off by a horned eagle, she went bat-shit-mental, ratted me out to my mom and suggested I be taken to a shrink.

I remember going to Loyola -- the door said “Psychotherapy.” I asked my mother who was getting their head examined, her? Or me? The shrink was a nice guy who liked comics and listened to me vent my spleen about the Nun. At the end of my session he told my mother I had an immense imagination and that it might get me in trouble in the short term. But in the long haul, he said it would serve me well. 

Then he told her, "What I'd really like. . . is to get that Nun in here."

TONY FITZPATRICK is an artist from Chicago. For his blog, click here.