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Artist takes aim at Governor in “Color Me Arnold”

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Beth Winegarner
News Pointer Editor
August 24, 2004

Marin native Conor Buckley didn’t imagine his passion for drawing would lead him to co-create a coloring book based on actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger. But the book, also written by Lawrence Gipe, is already selling well online and will hit stores in September.

“Color Me Arnold” is about 70 pages of cartoonish drawings, word-search games, connect-the-dots exercises and other amusing meditations on California’s newest governor. It pokes fun at Schwarzenegger’s movie career, personal history and quotations — many of which come from his campaign and post-election period.

“Larry was a drawing professor of mine at the University of California at Santa Barbara,” Buckley said. “He has a 2- or 3-year-old daughter and he said he saw her coloring in a coloring book right after Arnold got elected, and he said he would enjoy scribbling all over [Arnold’s] face.”

Gipe knew that Buckley’s drawings were often similar to coloring-book art, and suggested working together on a coloring book satirizing Schwarzenegger. Buckley went home and began working on drawings, based on a magazine distributed during the Austrian actor’s gubernatorial campaign.

Buckley came up with about 20 drawings. “We would meet up periodically and look online for quotes, and came up with games and puzzles,” he said. “Once we found the quotes, we saw that the book was basically going to write itself.”

Early in the book, readers are greeted with a connect-the-dots that reveals multiple women hanging from Schwarzenegger’s sides. Later on, he is depicted with a pinwheel of arms, like a Hindu god, nicknamed “The Gropenator” — a reference to allegations that Schwarzenegger groped multiple women without their permission.

The book features quotes such as, “I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman,” and, “Keep your ammunition and your gun separate, so if you get emotional, by the time you get your gun from the glove compartment and your ammunition out of your trunk you have a chance to cool down.”

There’s a paper-doll page, where readers can envision dressing Schwarzenegger in a suit, his Conan the Barbarian costume or a ballerina’s tutu. In the “road to Sacramento” maze, the reader must guide him through environmental meetings, press conferences, San Francisco hippies and energy companies.

It took Buckley and Gipe about seven months to develop the book, working in their spare time after work. Gipe’s sister-in-law, who works at a publishing house, showed the book to officials at Manic D Press, which jumped at the chance to publish “Color Me Arnold.”

When asked whether he was a fan of Schwarzenegger before the book, Buckley deadpans, “I think his work in ‘Jingle All the Way’ was breathtaking.” He pauses. “I liked him as a kid in movies like ‘Kindergarten Cop’ and ‘Terminator.’ I don’t have anything against him, particularly.”

Buckley grew up in San Anselmo and graduated from Marin Catholic High School in 1999. From there he went to UCSB, where he earned his degree in art studio. “I’ve always been drawing. I didn’t have a lot else going on when I was young, and when I was in high school, I was in a ska band with friends. We went to punk shows, and that’s where the politics and everything comes in,” he said.

He recently moved from Santa Barbara to Redondo Beach with some friends, and is in a hardcore metal band called the Fierce Urgency of Now, based on a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.

Buckley doesn’t know what his future holds, but he hopes for a career in the art world. “Any kind of illustration would be really fun,” he said. “But no matter what, I’ll keep doing that in my own time. [I could do political cartoons], or if I could make a living publishing stupid books where I make fun of people, that would be great.”

This article originally appeared in the San Rafael/Terra Linda News Pointer.

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Written by Beth Winegarner

August 24, 2004 at 6:40 PM

Posted in Politics, San Anselmo

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