Texas Monthly - Bum Steers 2013
posted: January 9, 2013

This is the current Bum Steers edition of Texas Monthly. I was honored to be asked back this year by art director T. J. Tucker after doing last year’s Bum Steers cover portrait, Texas governor Rick Perry. Lance Armstrong was the clear winner of this year’s “Texan Who Destroyed His Legacy” sweepstakes, so he has the spotlight. The honorable mentions are:
Glenn Beck and his latest art project. Mr. Beck turned up his crazy to 11 in a desperate attempt for attention with his take on Andre Serrano’s Piss Christ, filling a mason jar with his very own pee and a submerged Obama bobble head. Nice.
Then there’s poor Randy Travis who got drunk, got naked, and got caught by the police. Hey, he’ll look back and laugh. Probably because of all the money he’ll make with his forthcoming hit country song “I may drunk and nude, but at least I ain’t with you”. We originally had Randy more, er, exposed, standing proud in all that God gave him. But the editors wisely observed that we are dealing with possible mental illness, so simply implying a birthday suit would be enough. Good thing because my only option for reference material was myself, and nobody wants to see a naked illustrator. Trust me.

Snoop Dog made the cut he’s Snoop Dog! He should know not to roll like that in the Lone Star State. Who does he think he is, Willie Nelson?
Sshh....Don’t wake Josh Hamilton. He’s slumpering. Really though, I fear for Josh. I’m wondering if his born again self will be able to withstand the temptations of Los Angeles, where sinnin' is how you get ahead.
Not to be forgotten is last year’s cover boy Texas Governor Rick Perry. Now that he’s safely detained in Texas the rest of the country can find him amusing again. What’s that Rick? The teachers should be armed? Oh, you're so cute. Come here, I’m going to give you a noogie.

Oh, look! There's Gary Taxali back there. Man, that guy knows everyone.

And finally the star of the show, Lance Armstrong. World Champion, National Champion, 7 time Tour de France winner, cancer survivor, founder of Livestrong which has helped those afflicted with cancer (including my mother) in more ways than simply raising money for research. Lance was a true American Hero. His story put him more in line with the mythic tales of Paul Bunyan, or John Henry. He became the rare athlete who transcended his physical accomplishments to become a kind of spiritual token for those with cancer looking for a way to believe there's a path back to a normal life.

And then, the inevitable crash of reality. The string of rumors that stuck to his cycling cleats eventually pulled the fabric of his legend apart and we were left with nothing more than what appeared to be a just another greedy, lying,intimidating bully who didn’t care what or who stood in the way of him getting his. Truly heartbreaking for those who wanted to believe that he could be a clean champion in a dark age of doping.

But hey, it makes for a fun picture!
Lance's facial expression was tricky. Too excited and he'd look like a lunatic. Too happy and he'd look like he got away with something ( He did of course, but only for a while).


At one point I flew the idea of Lance being shirtless - he's been stripped of all the Tour de France yellow jerseys he won - and having him with the classic cyclist's tan. No dice. As usual my wife and kids were put to good use as models ( I didn't tell them that their big moment would be obscured by the barcode/mailing label in print) as well as many of my friends here at Drawger. At one point the crowd at the bottom was supposed to be just generic without well known faces. I thought it would be fun to put some friends in there. I think doing this demonstrated that I was up for the challenge of many likenesses so the request for the other Bum Steer nominees was put forth. Yay.
In the great minds think alike department: I had just sent the final and breathed a sigh of relief. T.J. sent a message back with the title "You gotta be kidding me". My heart sank. There was a link. I clicked it. Lo and behold the current issue of MAD magazine.
Thanks again to T.J. Tucker for the fun job. I feel like this is the kind of work I’m naturally inclined to do. I feel like a bird just whistling it’s tune when I do this sort of thing.
Tim OBrien January 9, 2013
A hell of a lot of work goes into a job like this and what most people don't know is that from reference selection to composition to individual approvals on each likeness...the list goes on...its a big job. Well done, Dale and nice to see some familiar good looking people in the scene too.
Victor Juhasz January 10, 2013
FUNNY! This is great and I agree with Tim that putting these composite images together is a lot more than it seems, especially when you are trying to make a comment on each individual. You really did put Taxali in there! Zimmerman. Marc. And Bakal too?! Funny. Wait. I'm in there too. Another honor bestowed. Ha! Thanks.
Mark Fisher January 10, 2013
Great one! Randy Travis is a killer head.
Robert Crawford January 10, 2013
Great cover! You're the master of the group portrait, Dale. Awesome job!! On a side note...I just finished Tyler Hamilton's book " The Secret Race". I highly recommend!
Gary Taxali January 10, 2013
I'm on the cover of Texas Monthly - literally! Very nice, Dale. Honoured to be your subject.
Ellen Weinstein January 10, 2013
Great work, Dale!! Love the cameos, especially Gary.
Harry January 10, 2013
Great stuff Dale. The shirtless Lance would have made it even better, cyclists would def get that, ghostly white skin, emancipated etc. I see Tax, Bakal. Zimm, and maybe Burky. Funny as hell.
John Dykes January 10, 2013
Well done, Dale! Also sighted: Mr. Flaherty and either a self portrait or Mr. Hunt(?).
David Flaherty January 10, 2013
I think Dale just called you a bum Gary! ; ) Dale, that is a lot of work as Tim alluded to. Nice job. I'm sure you're off Lance's xmas card list now.
Steve Wacksman January 10, 2013
It's a beauty, Dale. Lance's slightly crazed countenance is in itself worth the price of admission. The entire composition is the sort of thing that causes me to cringe when tasked with it and you make it seem so effortless. Oddly enough the first faces in the crowd I recognized were Maria's and Flaherty's.
Steve Wacksman January 10, 2013
It's a beauty, Dale. Lance's slightly crazed countenance is in itself worth the price of admission. The entire composition is the sort of thing that causes me to cringe when tasked with it and you make it seem so effortless. Oddly enough the first faces in the crowd I recognized were Maria's and Flaherty's.
Greg Newbold January 10, 2013
Another nice one Dale! Lance is sweating bullets- probably wondering what the crap he's going to do now that his entire life is effectively destroyed. Love your characters- always recognizable with enough exaggeration to make it fun.
David Flaherty January 10, 2013
I like how you put the bottle of urine in front of my face Dale.
Richard Borge January 10, 2013
really nice work Dale.
Scott Bakal January 10, 2013
Dale! Congrats on the nice job and very honored that I got to wear a cowboy hat in one of your jobs! You really are amazing with exaggerated portraiture. Kudos!
sockwell January 10, 2013
urgh. i love it. love it. love. it. agree w/ HC, The shirtless Lance would have made it even better but i can see them (editors) hoping to please some of the dumber readers of TXMO. its kinda like the NYer for TXns. B'sep fulla ads. would love to hear more of your rant on lance. i had the privy of going on a long leisurely ride alondside Lance back when he was probably cool. Or cooler. We were both 15 yrs old but he was quite a stud even way back then. he owned it. a legend even then. i remember one story had him wrecking his bike at the corner of campbell and jupiter and getting 43 stitches in his head. the next morning he slapped on one of those swimming caps and won a triathalon. doubt he had any drugs back then. i did, a few years ago, have the pleasure of meeting his godfather, Jim Hoyt- owner of richardson bike mart. right winger but hellova nice guy. as it happened one of my pals, Paul (who some of you supported with free art here at drawger) got his by a truck and went into a coma. we raised 64K for him, 5K of which came from Jim. We walked in, told him who we were and what happened and he opened and checkbook and wrote a check for 5K. Boom. Outstanding. shout outs to DonKill3 and Leo Espinosa for art
Dale Stephanos January 10, 2013
Thanks everyone. Felix, great story(s). I never met the man and was as big a fan as anyone, but that special-ness certainly isn't there anymore. I know a couple of gentlemen who raced against him for years and one in particular has some pretty hot hate for the guy. My impression is that he's your basic type A apex predator. Fun to watch, but probably not someone you'd want to be around. I've seen some definitions of sociopaths or psychopaths and LA seems to fit in there. I should add, I love doing this sort of thing as long as I'm GIVEN ENOUGH TIME. ;) David, sorry for the splatter.
Julia Breckenreid January 10, 2013
I love the energy of this cover Dale - but I especially love that manic look on Lance's face! And the friends you snuck in.
Marc January 10, 2013
Nice work, Dale! I spotted a number of familiar faces when this one landed in the mailbox.
Dale Stephanos January 11, 2013
Julia, Marc, thanks. Marc, I knew you'd see this- helped me keep my game up.
Jody Hewgill January 11, 2013
Dale congrats on a great cover. A tour de force with this multitude of portraits. Love Lance's expression. Tonally, I think it works best with the shirt.
Rob Dunlavey January 11, 2013
A Tour de France uh…Farce… no Force! Yes. And Dale, your written account is very entertaining and even gripping —as always. Good stuff!
Roberto Parada January 15, 2013
Nice work Dale. The Randy Travis thing was the most amusing story. Lance being the saddest. You put extraordinary detail into this... even Taxali! I commend you for a terrific piece.
Bob "Kooch" Coutu May 30, 2013
Another breathtaking composition from Dale! I think most would overlook the high intesity in effort to create such likeness as well as to tell a story through the portrayed demeanor of each representation in a composition of this magnitude. I love Dales hint of his own personal humor implemented in each caricature. Thank God for the red banner, because the layout easily suggests the off-putting and revealing side of Randy! Amazing work Dale! Amazing!
Mark Ulriksen July 2, 2013
Dale, just read thru this. Amazing painting, I can imagine how much fun you had doing this. I love your work and sly sense of humor. Congrats, if a tad belatedly.