Andy Von Son is a very interesting man and would be funny if people got his jokes. A lawyer by day and a satirist by night, Von Son is working his hardest to raise consciousness in the communities around him.
Like many Americans, Von Son worries about the direction society is heading. But instead of feeling helpless, he contributes by making a difference with art and humor. He manufactures cartoon criticism of President George W. Bush and other social quirks. But as usual, what’s funny to one person may be offensive to another—hence the name of his collection: Bad Taste T-Shirts.
“I didn’t like [Former President Bill] Clinton but George W. is obscene,” he told me. Von Son’s first distaste for modern government policies surfaced in the late 1960s while he was attending law school in Los Angeles.
Things all around him were changing: Martin Luther King Jr. and JFK were assassinated just as people were coming together and speaking their minds about the Vietnam war, minority rights and other civil injustices.
Von Son had always doodled as a child but at this point in his life a specific message was beginning to form. Eddy in America, about a man who pondered the meaning of life while exercising, was the cartoon that started it all. The books The Money Rebellion and Cops n’ Dopers came after. They were meant to educate Americans about their rights and inform them about government corruption that affects everyone.
“Cartooning is a great way to communicate if you want to get someone to look at something,” he said. “Most books about money problems are too wordy.”
Von Son makes civil disobedience fun. His cartoons are meant to raise awareness, though not all are politically and socially based. When Von Son first began creating his T-shirts they were of a much lighter nature—one simply says “Peaceful Anarchy”—though some people found them to be offensive.
Why, I have no idea. “The Singing Cow
Poke” depicts some yokel having sex with a cow. Another, “So Long, Suckers,” concerns a guy snorkeling in a toilet bowl. Stuff like that and “Loading Zone,” in which two men are sitting in a loading zone getting loaded first got him attention.
His subject matter is so wide that most people can find some truth in his comics. But they give him a unique platform to speak his mind and continue his cause. Fast forward to 2003: around the time that the new Iraq war was starting Von Son began making bumper stickers saying, “George Bush does not speak for me.”
It was a loud and clear statement. As a criminal lawyer Von Son has seen how oppressive the system can be. Except for the random cartoon dealing with cows or toilets, most of his work has to do with money. From his experience he sees that money and taxes are the bottom line—“that is how they manipulate and control,” he said.
Von Son believes that any revolution begins with consciousness and awareness; that’s what he said drives him. Over the past few years he’s
gotten more recognition, especially in Paia, where his law office is located. The harder he works, the more people seem to accept and enjoy what he produces. Perry Colombatto, who lives near Von Son’s office, noticed him a while ago.
“I always look forward to what he puts out next,” she said. “I enjoy his style because it is smart, funny and unique.”
You can order Andy’s t-shirts at www.mayflowerunlimited.com. MTW