Discover more from Casey Whalen
Artist Ben Garrison Versus The Troll Army
Q&A of Mr. Garrison's childhood, censorship & the troll army that tried to destory his life
Ben Garrison, a household name across the world. His artistry has captured the attention of freedom minded, law abiding patriots and it has generated criticism from those opposed to his POWERFUL illustrations which frame tyranny front and center.
Mr. Garrison joined Casey Whalen for a second in-depth interview discussing his childhood, influences, censorship and the struggle to fight back against grave injustices facing America. Using his wit and talent to greatly influence the nation for the better.
Early Life, Education & Work History
CW: Thank you for taking the time to join us today. I wanted to start by asking you about your childhood and early family life. I'm curious about where you grew up. You have two brothers, right?
Ben Garrison: I have two brothers.
CW: What was your upbringing like?
Ben Garrison: I had a difficult childhood, we all did. My dad was a tyrant. He was a master chief machinist mate in the Navy. That's the highest you could go as an enlisted man. He he grew up on a sharecropper farm in Denton, Texas.
He was born in Denton. By the way, Walt Garrison, famous Dallas Cowboy running back was also born in Denton. We're distantly related so naturally I was a big Dallas cowboy, Walt Garrison fan when I was a kid.
CW: You grew up in Texas then?
Ben Garrison: Yeah, my dad is a Texan and when he turned 17 he had enough of high school and he wanted to eat cuz he was always hungry. This is right after they had the great depression that he joined the Navy. My grandfather gave him a pair of shoes so he could walk to the get on the bus because my dad didn't have any shoes. He was barefoot, kind of a hillbilly situation, you know. But there are a lot of cowboys too in the Garrison line. My great-grandfather was a real cowboy, worked in north Texas.
So anyway, he went to San Diego boot camp. He said it was like a vacation and he had all he could eat. He was an extremely strong young man and his first ship a destroyer was at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked by the Japanese. His best friend from boot camp was on another ship and was killed.
My dad saw the whole thing and went through World War II. He witnessed a lot of terrible things and endured many battles including one in the Solomon Islands. He was a big Christian and he brought the Bible aboard and everybody made fun of him. He tried to persevere, but by the end of World War II he had given up on it because he saw too many bad things. The worst thing he saw was at the end of the war. His ship assigned to transport American prisoners of war to take him to Hawaii from Tokyo Bay or wherever they were at.
They were walking skeletons and that affected him greatly. After that, he didn't believe in God anymore he was an atheist. So, I grew up with a dad who's an atheist.
He would say, you're just like a blade of grass. And when you get cut, that's it. You're gone forever. You are a brief spark in the universe and once that spark dies out, you're gone forever.
These are terrible things to tell kids, but that's what he told us. He was also a real heavy drinker and would get mean when he drank. He would get abusive and become a terror and all the more fearsome since he was a big man.
When he got to be an old man he stopped drinking and he often apologized to me for the past. He apologized to all of us or his behavior, but it was too late by then. Still, his behavior has inspired my cartooning — because my dad was a tyrant, and I don’t like tyranny.
When we were kids we had to believe whatever he believed. If you tried to argue anything, you’d risk getting a smack. You could not argue with him and you had to believe what he believed or else because he was a ‘might makes right’ type. I grew up resenting that mightily and by the time I got into college I was free to develop my own viewpoints.
CW: Where did you go to college at?
Ben Garrison: Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. After college I went to work at the San Angelo Standard Times. I was a graphic artist there and I drew my first editorial cartoon but the point about my dad is, he is the subliminal foundation of my work. Cuz, I do not like tyrants, I don't like tyranny, I don't like people trampling on your free speech and your free expression.
CW: And it shows in your artwork.
Ben Garrison: He never got to see any of these cartoons because he died in 2003 and I started them in 2009. So he never got to see any of 'em.
CW: What do you think he would've said if he was able to see your work today?
Ben Garrison: I know what he would've said. He would've said it's hopeless and it's useless. My dad was extremely negative as I am too, but not nearly as bad as he was. For example, he once said something after I was complaining about our city putting up red light ticket dispensers. You make a right turn on red too soon and you get ticketed.
I was really mad cause I got one of those tickets in the mail. He listened to me complaining and said “You can't fight city hall.” That bugged me and later on I thought, “Why can't you fight city hall?” It becomes our duty. Somebody has got to or else it’ll just gonna get worse — and it has gotten worse.
So my cartoons are my way of fighting city hall and I'm gonna tell'em that I'm aware of your bulls***. I'm not believing your lies. I'm gonna try to tell other people what's really going on by means of my cartoons. I'm gonna try to say, hey, maybe we do have to take it, but we don't have to like it.
They want us to take it and like it as Klaus Schwab said, “You'll own nothing and be happy.” Oh, bulls***, we're gonna be unhappy and you're gonna be worse than the serfs in the Middle Ages. You know, even the serfs didn't have to pay as much taxes as we do. They had to give their tribute to a lord, but they didn't have to give as much as we're giving right now.
And these people at the top, they don't stop. They have all the money in the world and they want more. There's never enough things that they can take from you because they hate you. Bill Gates is an example of that — he hates humanity.
CW: I want to ask you about your influences. Were you drawing when you were a child and who influenced you?
Ben Garrison: I started drawing when I was a kid. Mostly I just drew cartoons. I would draw characters of my classmates, and they would get a big kick out of what I drew. Then in high school I started getting more interested in fine art and worked on a lot of paintings. I sold a lot of paintings even in high school.
When I went to college, I majored in art. I don't have a BFA, I have a BA. I minored in history. I still read history and especially like the books by Victor Davis Hansen, who is a terrific history writer.
I wanted to be a fine artist when I graduated and quickly realized I couldn't make a living doing that, so I got a job as a graphic artist at the ‘San Angelo Standard-Times.’ I went from San Angelo to San Antonio, where I worked for the ‘San Antonio Express News,’ but it was too hot down there. By the way, I married Tina in San Angelo. After San Antonio we moved to Seattle and I worked for the “Seattle Post-Intelligencer.”
CW: Did she go to school there too?
Ben Garrison: She's got a BFA from the Columbus College of Art Design in Ohio. Tina is actually one of my biggest influences because when I met her she drew slicker cartoons than I could. Mine were very busy and scratchy and I had a compulsion to add in way too much detail. She would set me straight on a lot of things.
She would say, “Well look, you've got talent but in a cartoon you have to keep it simple. You know, much more simpler than what you're drawing. You've gotta concentrate on the big three.” I said, ”What's that?” “It’s the use of black, white and a midtone. Just think in those terms and that'll solve a lot of your problems right up.” And it did — I learned a lot from her.
CW: You said in our last interview she told you, you're all over the place.
Ben Garrison: I would just get this stream of consciousness going and I wouldn't be focused or know when to stop. I added in way too much superfluous things. Tina was actually a lot better than I was as a cartoonist, at least at first.
But over the years I ended up working at newspapers. I specialized in info graphics, not cartoons. No newspaper is gonna hire you as a cartoonist, especially these days.
It’s a rare thing to get a job as an editorial cartoonist and those that did managed to grab the brass ring and they’re not gonna leave. They stay there until they're old men. David Horsey is a good example. He's still at the Seattle Times and he's older than me and he's still cranking out his liberal propaganda. He hasn’t grown and it's pretty sad actually.
Another editorial cartoon influencer for me was the one I liked the best and that was was Oliphant. I liked his fluidity of his line work and he was so good at it. I think he's still alive— he must be in his late eighties. Unfortunately, I didn't agree with a lot of what he would pen. He was on the left as they all are.
It was his art itself that I really admired and it’s the old school stuff that I wanted to draw when I started cartooning again. That's why I draw with an ink brush pen and I draw my cartoons by hand on a large illustration board.
I add color on the computer because you have to add color these days since the end result is on a computer screen. Oliphant refused to put color on his cartoons and I like the stark result without the color. They were black and white right up until he retired. So that was probably my biggest influence, Oliphant. He would hate my cartoons by the way.
CW: Would he?
Ben Garrison: Oh yeah.
CW: Tina's basically become like a mentor essentially? In a way, when it started out?
Ben Garrison: Yes, her biggest contribution for me now is having a like-minded cartoonist to bounce ideas off of. During the summers we enjoy going out on the patio with a sketchbook. Okay, what are we gonna draw today? What's the big news? And she'll be on her phone reading me the headlines.
Well the big news is this, that and the other so what do we want to say about this? Do we want to do something that's this or that or the other? That’s where the ideas begin. I would dash out a quick pencil drawing or what I call a ‘chicken scratch.’ I scratch up ideas in a hurry to see if they have possibilities. I have notebooks full of chicken scratching, which are things I would spend no more than 10 or 15 seconds on.
I quickly come up with ideas. Often it’s “boom, there it is.” I’d show the idea to her and ask her opinion. “Oh, that's great, but why don't you add this?” And then, “oh yeah, we need to add that.” I bounce ideas off her and it’s great to have a fellow artist around and there's no ego involved.
She could show me something and I could tell her, well that really stinks and she won't be offended and vice versa. We have total freedom of repartee going back and forth, and she actually does a lot. She handles the web site and social media and she spends a lot of time studying the news as well.
She studies it from kind of a slightly different angle than what I would do. She's more concerned with what's popular and what's trending and all the other people and their opinions. She's aware of what all the big influencers are saying and I'm not. She gets in there on a micro level — a granular level and she soaks all of it in.
As for me I'm kind of looking at the big picture. I look for the intrinsic and over-arching meaning behind the news. I want to get the word out, and that usually concerns the protection of our freedom, because it's under constant assault.
She talks to people because she's more personable than me. I often don’t want to talk to anyone. Some troll might make me mad and I might say, “F*** off!” She would never do that. Even with trolls...she treats 'em with humor and will say “I'm sorry you didn't like it but that's tough. That's the way life is,” or something such as that. She'll simply say something blasé to them and she has actually converted some of them onto our side that way.
I don't know, I wouldn't be able to do it because I'm kind of more like my dad. I'm really negative still, but Tina remains positive just like my mom. It's a weird thing in that I repeated the template because my mom was extremely positive whereas my dad was always negative. My mom is really the reason why we kids survived. My dad would tear us down and she would build us up.
CW: What did your mother do?
Ben Garrison: She was a housewife. That's all she did, but it was a big job because she had five kids to take care of. She's still alive at 93 and lives in Washington State. My older brother and I can't talk about my cartoons because he's a big Bernie Sanders supporter and he hates my cartoons.
So, we just don't talk about it. We could talk about other things, everything else is fine, but we just can't talk politics.
CW: You consider yourself a journalist, you mentioned that a lot of people don't think of it that way. They think of it as entertainment, what you do is extremely important. That's why people love your work, you're breaking the political correctness paradigm and people appreciate that.
Ben Garrison: Yes. And boy, I lost all my liberal friends, all of 'em. Actually, there's one guy in Minnesota who's still my friend. He's on the left— a socialist, but he'll still write me and he's really interested in what I've been through, he's a good guy.
He's one of these old liberals that will still tolerate speech that he doesn't agree with, and he'll still talk to you. The ones I thought were my friends no longer are. When I was still on Facebook one of 'em wrote me and said, “Drop dead.” This from a guy I knew for years telling me to drop dead because I drew cartoons that were not aligned with his viewpoints. They're all socialists and on the left and they all hate conservatives.
Boy, you don't wanna be a conservative working in a newspaper. No, you are forced to cover your tracks if that’s the case. You better hide that because most of the media are controlled by the left. And that includes all the newspapers I worked at, except for maybe the Standard-Times.
CW: What other newspapers did you work for?
Ben Garrison: I worked for the Standard Times and for the San Antonio Express News. I did info graphics mostly. I didn't draw a lot of cartoons.
I drew zero editorial cartoons while at the Seattle Post Intelligencer. They had David Horsey, who definitely resides in that liberal echo chamber.
It's ridiculous that he thinks he's a moderate. He thinks he's reasonable. He's middle of the road… no, you're not, Dave. You're far, far left, especially when you start praising Biden for being equivalent to F.D.R. because Biden has accomplished so much. He's a great president.
Yeah, he's old, but you know, you could tolerate that. Everybody gets old, but he's still accomplished so much and he's such a great president. And when I hear this I say, “Are you kidding me? What is this?” You know, you've been in that echo chamber for too long. It's driven you batty.
CW: What's your message to aspiring artists trying to make it in this day and age at this particular time? If you were a young Ben Garrison trying to make it, what would an older Ben Garrison say to that person?
Ben Garrison: The editorial cartooning waters for a young person can be very treacherous. Diving into this business independently, I mean. Now, if you want to get hired by a newspaper, forget it. They are firing cartoonists, not hiring them. Newspapers used to have about a thousand editorial cartoonists in the country during the golden age of newspapers, well before radio and TV.
Some of 'em were paid fortunes too, even though few can remember their names now.
But back in those days, newspapers ruled and you had a much better chance of getting a job as a cartoonist at a newspaper than you do now. Now there's about 30 paid cartoonists left, I'm guessing even less than the last time I checked. Trying to get a job as a paid political cartoonist these days, you might as well forget it. Especially if you're conservative, there's no chance. There's zero chance. Zilch.
So, you have to do it on your own and when you do it on your own you’d better get ready for that ring of fire because, boy. And there's probably a lot more rings now than the ones I went through. I don't want to encourage a young cartoonist as much as I'd like to even though we need help and we need more conservative cartoonists. There's plenty of space.
What I wasn't expecting were people out to destroy me, because I was very naive when I started out. I wasn't well-versed in how the internet really worked. I was naive. I read G. Edward Griffin's book, “The Creature from Jekyll Island,” and that book inspired me into action. I thought, “We gotta do something about this!”
I thought, “how come none of the establishment cartoonists aren’t drawing anti-Federalist Reserve cartoons?” Well, I'm gonna do it, then. I have the internet here, I got a blog, I'll put it on my blog. Nobody can stop me. I'll draw a cartoon that's an anti-Federal Reserve cartoon.
CW: What year did you post to that blog?
Ben Garrison: It was the summer of 2009 and my blog probably had two dozen followers.
CW: Is that when things changed in your life?
Ben Garrison: Yes, but my first cartoon was put on my blog and probably had a couple dozen people see it. Ron Paul was calling for the audit of the Federal Reserve, the image was the big bad wolf blowing open one of the big bank buildings and revealed all these pigs in there with trillions of dollars. It was called “Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?”
Well, the private central bankers don't want the audit. They don't want anyone to see what they don't want you to see. The Federal Reserve doesn't want you to know who's controlling it. That was my first cartoon I didn't spend a lot of time on it. It didn't get a lot of views, but kept at it.
I just thought it was fun to draw cartoons again, because at that time I had my commercial art business and I was doing extremely complicated and informational graphics for corporations. I was doing pretty well at it. But, little did I know that eventually the one of my cartoons would go viral.
And that was the pyramid one with two legs.
Censorship & The Troll Army
CW: And that's the one deemed to be anti-Semitic?
Ben Garrison: No, not at first. I think it was Andrew Anglin who put the Jew head on the top of it, this Jewish caricature. And that was the cartoon I tried to get him to take down. And that's what started the whole trolling stuff. Little did I know, I set off a nuclear bomb when I did that. The cartoons did not make me money, I wasn't selling prints, but I didn’t draw them with the idea of making money, nor did I harbor the hope of getting famous.
I didn't care about all of that, I just wanted to draw them. I wanted people to see that the Federal Reserve is not all that complicated to understand. And when you do understand, it’s like pulling the curtain back on the wizard and you see the wizard is really afraid that you're finding out that this is all a farce. They're all confidence tricksters — con men in control of our money.
That's the point I wanted to get across. When one finally went viral, I started getting on the map and that's the first thing I had to go through was all this trolling stuff. And by 2015 I'd given up, that's when I wanted to stop, I tried everything. They say, well, you're just supposed to ignore the trolls. Just ignore 'em.
Okay, I did. I did that for six months while they tore me down. There was somebody also attacked by the trolls, I forgot her name, I wish I could remember her name now. She wrote an essay that ran in some publication that I can't remember.
Anyway she says, this is what happens when you get trolled: You ignore 'em, it gets worse. You try to stop 'em, it gets worse. Everything you do, it's just gonna be worse. And it was for her. I mean, she was getting threats of rape and all kinds of junk — even death threats. And why did this happen to her?
Because she was in some kind of coding business and she was a rare bird of interest in that field in that she was a female. She spoke out against something and behaved vaguely feminist about it and then she got piled onto. When she complained about it, it got worse, and so eventually she had to get off the internet entirely and just let it all settle down for many years. I went through the same thing to a certain degree.
Then Tina helped me out and she salvaged everything essentially. All that said, it would be tough, very tough for any young person to start drawing the cartoons without getting their reputation destroyed. So my advice is that, hey, if you want to keep your career because you're not gonna make a lot of money on the cartoons when you start out. Nobody knows who you are and you can't acquire acquire a base instantly.
It took me years to do it, of supporters to help out. You're gonna have to go through a ring of fire. A lot of this, I can't recommend it because, that ring of fire burns pretty hot and it's painful. If you've got a job and they find out that you draw conservative cartoons, chances are a legion of trolls will complain to your employer and call you all sorts of names. Chances are, you’ll get fired.
That's essentially what happened to me. My commercial art business went away because when HR departments typed in my name, Ben Garrison, the search results said I was a Nazi. During my early days of cartooning that's all they saw was Nazi, Nazi, Nazi.
I realized I wasn’t gonna get any more commercial work and I didn't. My ability to make a living was destroyed. By 2015 we were flat broke. I ended up writing a book in order to tell the world that I was not a Nazi.
And it was a stupid book, I really regret writing it because I only sold about a hundred copies and it cost me thousands of dollars to put it in print. This was before I knew I could use a Amazon service that was much cheaper. I had it printed up independently and it had many color plates in it. I spent the last of our savings on this book that was supposed to salvage everything.
Nobody wants to see somebody virtue signaling to begin with, but after that it was sort of like wringing out a towel. I rung out the water of political correctness. The book helped me ring out the last of the liberal mindset soaked into me at newspapers.
I wanted to make sure that the world knew that I wasn’t some sort of racist nut job. I was not some kind of far right-wing kook. That I wasn’t anti-Semitic or this, that and the other. After I published that book and it flopped, I really got mad at myself and it rung out the last drop of political correctness.
After that, I didn't give a s***. When I resumed drawing the cartoons again, I drew Pro-Trump cartoons. I said, I don't give a s*** anymore, I don't care if the trolls can out-shout me. But it turns out they couldn't because Tina did such a good job that I got known for what I really am.
I was redeemed and I can only thank Tina for that. Fixing the troll problem was her accomplishment. I couldn't have done that by myself.
And so if somebody wants to get into this business, you think it's gonna be easy because you have the internet and you've got free speech.
No, you don't. Not really.
Especially now, you don't have a platform anymore. Silicon Valley is not gonna give you a platform. And yeah, you might be able to get a blog spot or something until they kick you off.
Even using a conventional site there's no guarantee they won't kick you off for something—maybe you didn't even say. They might believe some lie or perception that you're this, that or the other and they're gonna kick you off.
I want to draw better cartoons. I want to get better, that's the attitude. Too many of the establishment cartoonists that I’ve followed have not gotten better over the decades. They get their Pulitzer than they'd rest on their laurels for the rest of their lives while they grind out globalist propaganda.
And it's disgusting because they should be like, well, like us, we're real journalists exposing the truth.
You're doing investigative journalism. I'm trying to expose what's really happening, right? And that means because I'm independent, I'm able to draw things without an editor, no one can say you can't publish that. Those editors might say it will lose us advertisers and harm the publication’s reputation. That will make the owners of the corporation mad, so we can't publish that.
Being independent gives me the freedom of speech. At least, until I started getting banned on Twitter. We had 300,000 followers and then they pulled the plug on us. They didn't tell us why. But we violated their rules somehow and then, after that, we were trying to get reinstated.
When Elon Musk bought Twitter, he was talking about he believing in free speech and that it means tolerating unpopular speech.
I said, well, that's great. But those turned out to be empty words. It's just platitudes because we can't get on there. I know a lot of other conservatives who can't either. They’re not getting reinstated. The weird thing is, they reinstated Andrew Anglin who was my arch nemesis.
He was the one who originally started vandalizing my cartoons. He sent his troll army after me to attack me.
CW: He was in Whitefish, Montana right?
Ben Garrison: He sent his troll army there. I don't think he was ever here. He might have visited here, I don't know. But he sent his troll army to attack, a Jewish woman who owned some real estate.
Now Richard Spencer, I don't know if you'd say he was in league with Anglin, but he was on the right and labeled ‘alt right.’ I wouldn't say he was a Nazi such as Anglin was. Anglin thought he was supporting Spencer by attacking this woman who owned the building that Spencer’s mom had some sort of connection with — I don’t remember exactly. It gets complicated, I don't remember.
He sent an army of trolls to harass this the Jewish woman. She was threatened with violence over the phone and all kinds of foul stuff.
And so she had a really good case against Anglin. My lawyer at the time told me Anglin was broke and I wasn’t gonna get any money out of him. And these lawyers themselves always want money. They want to make sure they get paid and they get a big cut of the spoils. I wanted to go after Andrew Anglin, but he's broke.
However, this woman in Whitefish apparently spent a lot of money to go after him. And she won the case, won millions, and then Anglin hightailed it to Southeast Asia somewhere. He's still down there as far as I know. And then of course they shut his website down and then it kept popping up. Whack-a-mole type Daily Stormer.
CW: Is that his website?
Ben Garrison: Daily Stormer, yeah, that's it. He sent his troll army after me. My fine art was selling at a gallery in Big Fork, Montana when he sent his army out to start harassing the owner. They began telling the owner that I was a Nazi.” Did you know a real Nazi artist is in your gallery?” That sort of thing.
They showed her doctored pictures of me with my painting in the background, but my painting was changed to a big portrait of Adolf Hitler. They sent junk such as that to her. And then she was boiling mad. She called up saying I want you out of here right away.
I told her to calm down. You know, this is not me, this is trolls. I'm sorry they're attacking you, but yes, I'll go because I don't want you to be attacked.
So I had to leave. I wouldn't say she kicked me out, but it was kind of understood that I had to get out as soon as possible. Because she didn't wanna have anything to do with that. Naturally, a business person does not want to have to deal with that kind of junk. That's what Anglin was capable of doing with his troll army.
He destroyed my ability to make a living from my paintings via a gallery. I have to sell 'em on my online site. Now, why do you think that happened? Why? Because I politely asked Andrew Anglin to please remove a vandalized cartoon that was on his site. I tracked it back to him. It spread over the Internet because of him.
I said, you know what? I respect your free speech. And I was really polite when I wrote him. “I respect your free speech, but this is, this is libel and I can't tolerate having this. Could you kindly take this down?” Now Anglin especially at that time, saw himself as a professional troll. That was his passion in life. And he said as much in one of his posts. He said, “I enjoy trolling, that's what I want to do in life.”
And so, unbeknownst to me, that callow naive me, not knowing how the internet works. What I did is equivalent to throwing some blood in his water and like a shark he came after me. After that, it was open season on me. He instantly ramped up his attacks because he knew it bugged Ben Garrison.
I'm a conservative, I'm not a Nazi, I'm a conservative libertarian. I respect your free speech. I respect Anglin’s right to be a Nazi. I respect his right to have a website that talks about that stuff, even I don't like it. I'm not gonna read it. That's what free speech used to be in America. We used to be tolerant.
Now of course they all get shut down and they get kicked off all the platforms everywhere. Even their own websites get shut down. I think he had GoDaddy and when people complained, they kicked him off. So essentially we now have this old canard of having freedom of speech, but that doesn’t mean freedom of reach.
The same thing happened to me when we got kicked off of Twitter, and then we got kicked off of Facebook permanently.
So yeah, I've still had my freedom of speech but it's gonna boil down to what? Stapling up one of my cartoons to a telephone pole? Or I could go shake my fist at a rain cloud and start yelling. What good does that do?
We must have the ability to reach others and these days it means connecting by means of the Internet. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter love to claim that they're just like the telephone. The telephone company claims they don't have anything to do with what you talk about on the phone. They say they merely provide the service. “We're neutral service providers,” they say.
Facebook and Twitter like to say that, too. And that's bulls*** because they also want to be editors. They want to edit what the content that's posted on their sites. They want to make sure that people such as me don't get the reach. So they monitor my phone calls, essentially...and then they take and delete what they don't want me to say.
The Facebook thing was the weirdest because they actually kept banning us over and over. They first banned me for my Cry Bully cartoon. I showed some students as giant babies taking over a campus and crying. It was a real popular cartoon. Antifa hated it.
Antifa and others got together and complained to Facebook. It reached some sort of complaint threshold and they deleted it. I got a two week ban just for this.
It was simply a humorous approach to what was really happening on university campuses. That was the beginning of a lot of bans we endured, but we stuck with it because we had a lot of followers on Facebook.
Finally, they permanently banned us for an old cartoon that we re-posted. It was about fluoride in our water and I showed how the fluoride business works and how it gets into the drinking water. It was all about money. It’s all corrupt. For some reason that cartoon got us permanently banned. We don't know why it’s so offensive.
CW: Was this recently then?
Ben Garrison: Yeah, this is recently. Gosh, it's happened right after the January 6th riots. They're coming after me, I think because I'm the MAGA cartoonist. I'm known as the MAGA cartoonist. They were on a witch hunt and I think that's what precipitated our permanent ban on Twitter. I guess when was that? In January, 2020?
So gosh, three years we've been trying to get back on and we thought with Musk returning, this is a really good sign. But no, Musk puts Andrew Anglin back on, but not me. And that really grates me. They recently sent us this form letter saying, you're permanently banned, you're not coming back on.
After that I started drawing some anti-Musk cartoons. I showed him as the hypocrite that he is. They're not allowing me back on Twitter so I drew the WEF (World Economic Forum) woman he hired as CEO. I showed her laying an egg. Her face on a giant Twitter bird on the nest. She's laying an egg, and Musk is flying in the background with a big grin on his face.
She's hatching Klaus Schwab. Klaus Schwab is cracking through the shell. And you see Klaus Schwab is in control of Twitter. Right after that we get an email saying, we're reconsidering whether or not we should reinstate you. We need you to write us a short essay describing why we should reinstate you.
So we did and we haven't heard back yet. The email we sent back was by no means rude. It was a very polite, well-written and I mentioned free speech and how we did not violate anything. How can we even violate something we didn't even know because you never told us what we violated?
Regardless, since 2016 we have made a living by means of cartooning. It’s something I never would have thought possible. The last couple years have been kind of hard. I sold a lot of paintings too and that has helped.
Ben Garrison: I’ve always had a desire to draw editorial cartoons, but I didn't have an outlet. Nobody was ever gonna hire me to draw them and I'm not gonna just draw them for myself or send them to a friend or something. So I didn’t draw any.
Still, when I read the book, “The Creature From Jekyll Island” G. Edward Griffin — that was the spark that started the cartoon conflagration and it was a lot of fun. I decided to draw them, even though I knew I could not make money from doing it. Money didn't enter the equation until 2016. We didn't make any money before then; the cartoons cost me money.
They cost me my career and for a while they cost me my self-respect. They caused me to re-frame everything — what I thought and who I was.
Then we drew the Pro-Trump cartoons and began selling them. We sold a lot of copies of my first book. That's thanks to Tina too, because she's really good at marketing. I had success forced upon me! When I saw that we could make a living doing this, I was shocked.
Are you s****ing me? You can't make a living from cartoons—everyone knows that! I would've laughed in your face if you said that was possible. But that's what we've been doing since 2016. That's how we've been able to make it. Our supporters have made it possible.
The last couple years have been kind of hard due to the bad economy, but I’ve sold paintings too, which have helped.
CW: I didn't realize you painted?
Ben Garrison: There’s one weird thing I gotta tell you about that. I've gotten a lot of email from people who are on the far left who hate my cartoons. They would send an email with a preface saying how they hated my cartoons, but they thought my paintings were wonderful.
These critics hate my cartoons, but they love my paintings enough for them to write me and compliment me on 'em in a backhanded sort of way. That said, my paintings aren’t for everybody. And in actuality, they don't go over well with my base, which tends to be conservative.
The people who are conservative tend to like conservative art, which is to me is completely and utterly boring. They like the old cliches that have been painted over and over and over. I said, don't you get tired of looking at this s***? Well, I wanna paint something that's unique and original.
I want to go down a trail that's not been blazed by so many, so thoroughly, and so many times. I want to do some exploration and combine elements that get the viewer involved. Let them decide what they're seeing, too. Reality isn't just some surface thing, a light shining on a mountain. It's a lot deeper than that.
Reality is something deeper than a lot of people would think and that's what I do. That's what I really love doing in life, even more than the cartoons. So that's why I'm thinking about retiring and doing that after the next presidential election cycle.
You're probably not gonna like my paintings.
CW: I can see why conservatives might not like it.
Ben Garrison: They don't because they have they have closed minds and they won’t allow themselves to like modern art anything. That's too bad, but I love modern art. I love a lot of things about it and that's something that I don't think a lot of people know. I must have I guess about 20 paintings on Garrison Gallery. Most of 'em I've sold.
So I'm really happy about that.
Ben & Tina Garrison live and work in the State of Montana, please patron their work and help them continue fighting for liberty:
Casey Whalen is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.