A famous modern artist described art as the language that everyone understands when verbal language separates us.
Colby Jones — a Bryan Adams High School alum and Lake Highlands resident — feels that in his bones.
“We have to get to the point without all the words that a writer or journalist might use,” he says.
That is why he isn’t just talking about the Russian-Ukrainian war but drawing about it.
His recent offering, Burial, is touching the hearts of his fans, followers and friends on social media. The piece depicts all-too-real images that Jones saw in news media — Ukrainian fighters burying their own in mass graves. The only color in Jones’ sketch is the blue and yellow of Ukrainian flags enfolding dead bodies.
“I had seen a video of them dumping the bodies in a trench and it was just horrifying. I was thinking, these were people who just a month or so ago were just leading normal lives. And, and now this.”
Beyond his sympathy for the dead, he says he couldn’t stop thinking of those who had to bury them. Before drawing, he perused online videos and photographs.
“I looked at several photos and combined a few together to create it. I was really struck by one where apparently it is a woman that they’re carrying. I noticed they had her legs fastened together with the colored cloth ribbon, I guessed made it easier to carry. Just a little thing like that, that there’s somebody that’s having to do that. I had to emote.”
While his day job for decades was with the Dallas Parks Department, Jones — also known by the nickname Sir Colby — has been a cartoonist most of his life. He is no stranger to prickly feedback, it’s part of the gig, but in this case he says he wanted to discourage political arguments and encourage compassion.
“I am used to making one side mad and then the other side mad the next time,” he says. “But this one’s not political. I wanted to just stay with that particular situation.”
Like other skilled cartoonists, Jones has a knack in his political cartoons for locating that spot where the keen audience can find both humor and an impactful message. Take his cartoon called All Males, for instance. It shows “women’s rights” activists sheepishly lowering their signs as a man with a bullhorn shouts that “all males must stay and fight.”
But many of his cartoons — such as Springtime in Texas are ones anyone around here can enjoy.