The image of the dread-locked man (dubbed “da man wit the chips”) throwing a tear gas canister while wearing an American flag T-shirt and holding a bag of Red Hot Riplets has become the photo of the Ferguson protests. And he wants you to know that he wasn’t throwing it at police. He was throwing it away.
In case that link is tl;dr, he picked up the grenade because there were kids nearby. He wasn’t aiming it at the cops, he was just making sure the kids weren’t getting hurt, which is why this picture is about 800% more iconic.
For more from Graeme’s previously-unseen library of sketches, follow @graemebase on Instagram.
If these images of mechanical, organic and otherwordly creatures feel familiar, it could be because they come from the imagination of beloved children’s book illustrator Graeme Base (@graemebase).
"I’ve been writing and illustrating picture books for something like 30 years, but for every finished piece there are dozens of sketches that have never seen the light of day," he explains. The Australian artist—perhaps best known for the 1986 alphabet book Animalia (1986)—uses his Instagram account to share this trove of beautiful, unpublished pieces.
"The recurring themes in my art are nature and fantasy with whimsical overtones," he says. "I’m slightly shocked to find myself well into my fifties now, but inside the 11-year-old schoolboy is alive and kicking."