From birth, we assume the world to be a certain way. However, as we age and things change, we may question things that seem normal in society. Austrian artist Gerhard Haderer and Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski use their talents to question society through their satirical observations of humankind’s habits and obsessions.
The artwork suggests that we as a society need to do better before it is too late. Looking at these powerful illustrations, you may start to ask yourself if you agree with what the artists are trying to convey.
39. Let’s Take A Photo
We all know how convenient having access to phones and cameras has been for us with its benefits. It also seems to come with a downfall for most of us, as well.
It’s all too common in today’s society to see a person taking photos or recording a situation where someone needs help. However, they’re snapping pictures instead of helping right away.
Screens are one of the most controversial topics out there. By the angle of this photo, we are guessing that Kuczynski isn’t too impressed with society’s direction. This sad illustration shows a family supposedly saying a prayer.
However, they read their prayers from their screens, be it their phones, tablets, or laptops. This reminds us of our dependence on screens. It also says how screens affect many aspects of society, including the ability to say a prayer without having a screen to read it from.
While looking at this photo, we may have the urge to laugh while boiling with anger inside. And it seems that Kuczynski has that way of making unfortunate things into something so satirical that we feel the need to laugh.
Here, the artist attests to the continuous political garbage that we, as a society, face every day from politicians. Not just nationally but globally as well. He is kindly reminding us where they all belong, though, in a garbage landfill.
In this illustration, you could interpret it in several different ways, depending on who is looking at it. However, by the looks of this, it seems like Kuczynski is pointing towards the fact that one day, probably not too long from now, books will start to become the real treasures of the world, maybe even becoming harder to come by. With computers, social media, television, and other screens taking over, books are becoming rarer and rarer.
An old Japanese saying goes, “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” That saying could not apply more to this illustration here. The artist could be referring to a couple of different things. Maybe they are referring to the fact that we need to keep up with technology in today’s society.
If we don’t, we will get hammered down. Alternatively, maybe it could even mean that if someone were to stand out too much from the others, they, too, would be mowed down.
This illustration is compelling and is a harsh reminder of the inequalities that make up our world. While some people may have everything they want and need, or at the very least don’t have to worry about where they’re getting their next meal, others are not as lucky.
There are too many people in this world who are hungry and have little to no access to food. That is, not only for themselves but their families.
There seems to be no waste of an opportunity to criticize technology and our dependence on it when it comes to Kuczynski’s illustrations. Perhaps his criticism is not the fact that we use it, but more so the fact that it has wholly sucked us into a shallow pool of ability.
This can so easily characterize the internet. Moreover, while there, we completely ignore the beauty of the oceans and the rest of the world.
Pokemon Go fans will probably make faces cringe a little bit when they hear this one. The game had come with the intent of taking people out of their homes and getting them to become more active outside. However, in the first 148 days of its launch, the game may have contributed to almost 150,000 traffic accidents.
It also led to some 250 deaths. That’s not something to take lightly in today’s society regarding something controlled by technology.
Although we are guessing that people will have many different views of this illustration, we’ll attempt to interpret this one. One person could interpret it as a man who is slowly killing himself and his wings.
The food he chooses to eat by choosing detrimental eating habits that include harming and even frying his own wings so that he can indulge himself.
It seems that reading a book or doing anything else other than being on our phone or tablet seems to be rebellious more than anything else. However, many critics may say that the artist may be placing too much importance on books.
In their mind, this is just oversimplifying the benefits of technology to spark the debate even further. Nevertheless, we must argue the fact that books are far from useless.
This illustration is not only a meaningful reminder but also a brutal one that illustrates how the work culture we have created in today’s society in the world is completely destructive to any hint of creativity out there.
It seems that people have become “slaves” of their work and to their bosses and work exactly as expected. At the same time, wealthy bosses and big corporations plow the fields with the tears and sweat of those they exploit and see nothing with it.
This picture here strikes us as an exaggerated reference to the fact that many people have become completely lost in the selfie situation. This photo illustrates someone who decided to take a selfie with a shark, just in time for the shark to eat them for dinner. Meaning, people seem not to consider how dangerous they may put themselves in to get that perfect shot.
The illustration couldn’t be more ironic since research shows that more people have died from selfie-related incidences in comparison to shark attacks. That doesn’t seem like such an intelligent thing when we could have avoided it all.
In this illustration, it appears that the cell phones or the screens have gotten in the way of the donkey’s eyes and are everything that the donkey can use to perceive the world. We are guessing that the artist is referring to people, like the donkey, being completely blinded by technology from all sides in today’s society.
This makes it impossible for us to look forward in life, or anywhere else for that matter.
Almost no secret is safe in today’s society. That’s because of technology and how rapidly news stories can travel these days. That secret that you told only one or two other people may somehow leak, even if by accident, making it, so more people hear about it than not at any given moment.
Twitter is certainly one of people’s favorite platforms to share things. In this illustration, the artist makes an apparent reference to how people use the platform to spread gossip instead of important information these days.
Here is another powerful criticism made by Kuczynski that points towards how each of us puts into technology, which results in most of us becoming isolated and alone. When people immerse themselves for hours in their laptops, phones, and tablets, they create tiny islands.
The beauty of the outside world becomes invisible, and spending time with those they love becomes rare. It’s a sad reality, but it happens to a lot more people than anyone would like to admit.
In this illustration, Kuczynski used the power of his art to abruptly remind us of some harsh reality that most of us will face. In his drawing, it appears that the cat is about to poop out one of the mice’s family members or friends into the grave while they anxiously wait to give their dear friend the respect and rest that they deserve.
It could also mean that once our powerful governments eat us, all they do after is “poop on our graves” even after we are gone.
This is no doubt that some of these illustrations made by Kuczynski are a punch to the stomach, and this one is one of them. The fact that this soldier appears to take pride in his violent role in the war he is serving, through his selfie, is a bit hard to look at and maybe even comprehend.
The artist also mentions that he is utterly unaware of what surrounds him and has no idea what he is genuinely pointing his gun at.
This illustration is a sad reminder that humanity has completely lost it when it comes to people’s priorities when looking at anything beautiful in today’s society. Instead of enjoying and watching a sunset, every person on this beach appears to be taking a picture of it.
This is ompletely missing the point and only seeing it through their screens. This picture they took will probably make it to social media after, and you will probably never remember the sunset afterward.
This picture is troublesome because it strikes as an exaggeration for something that parents could feel the need to debate. We are guessing that the artist who created this illustration refers to the fact that baking cookies for Christmas was once a family affair.
It used to be a beautiful moment that parents enjoyed while spending time with their children. However, the mother is baking her cookies alone instead of with her children. They are now all sitting behind her, playing on their phones, tablets, or laptops.
In typical Haderer style, this drawing may come out as a little bit harsh to some. This illustration might make some people out there who see it very angry or upset. However, the truth of the matter is that it starts, or maybe even continues, a critical conversation around priests, religion.
The continuous accusations we have all heard about loom large. So, we are just going to leave this one out there for you to interpret on your own.
Haderer points towards a very particular theme in a lot of his artwork: people miss out on real-life things because they become obsessed with looking at their screens. This artist may have seen or predicted a futuristic scenery where people will no longer worry about spending time with their friends and loved ones. They won’t even fight over who gets to choose what to put on the screen because each person will get their own TV or screen.
By looking at this illustration, you probably already know the intention of this artwork. Haderer seems to be making a not-so-subtle criticism towards business people who are significantly money hungry and never stop wanting more. It’s a pretty self-explanatory one.
This picture shows greed and even perhaps warns us that the more someone chases after money, the more one has a chance of choking on it. Furthermore, they could eventually become ill or, even worse, die from it. We must know that money is not everything.
As a lot of us might know, life is hard, and the world has collectively experienced some of the biggest challenges and crises we have ever seen in just this past year and a half. To stay smiling may not only be a form of survival, but it may also be a reminder that something good can still exist.
Here, however, Haderer references people receiving their fake smiles from a smile shop instead of working internally to get their own smiles back, brought to them by true happiness.
Here, Haderer did an incredible job at drawing on the laptop cafe culture that has seemed to become so common in many places around the world these days. Local cafes often seem to have rows of people participating in video calls, writing emails, and working their way into a fast-paced life.
In this illustration, as you can see, the artist refers to reading a newspaper in a coffee shop being “old school,” or something of a phenomenon, and others are curious about it.
Here is another illustration that is critical of the lack of government leaders in our societies. Unfortunately, however, as overemphasized as it may be, this situation may be a bit too common worldwide these days.
Political debates have become a joke between certain politicians, and the government meetings have become worse than house parties, just as this artist illustrated in this particular drawing you see here. It’s sad to think how truthful this picture may be.
This illustration brings up a lot, and such disappointing feelings for us towards the fair trades of goods in the world of agriculture, with how low supermarket prices continue to swallow local vendors whole. In this picture here, this woman is selling her local tomatoes while she competes with the cost of European tomatoes, which, even if they are cheaper, might be of much worse quality than her own.
However, of course, people will try and save money and go for what’s cheaper without considering the good and bad quality between the two.
In this illustration made by Haderer, you can see that he is undoubtedly making us think about the previous or current situations inside the White House. Depending on one’s political beliefs, it can be pretty controversial for many people.
In this picture, you can see a swarm of flies heading in different directions, giving us a chance to summarize what the artist is telling us. Where can you easily find a hoard of flies? In the swamp, of course.
Even though the signs continue to prove to all of us that one day we might all face floods or drought that will eventually be the end of humanity here on earth, many people still ignore the vital subject of it all. It appears that in this illustration, these people seem to be mourning the passing of the last fish that existed on earth.
This is a reminder that global warming, or climate change, and the constant destruction of our environment will soon slap us all in the face.
Here we are, once again, back to a sad illustration of what some couples out there may do to celebrate the holidays. It doesn’t look like much excitement is happening here in this picture, even with the woman dressed provocatively.
Many people love the holiday season, and who doesn’t like getting a nice present or surprise from a loved one? Sadly, however, this couple resembles what may have become during the holiday season in today’s society. The holiday often passes us by while being stuck into our screens instead of enjoying each other’s company.
Haderer reveals this brutal illustration that is prone to different interpretations, once again. Alternatively, we could be looking at a couple enjoying their life of luxury on a float while those who are not so fortunate approach them.
This oversized couple is indulging too much while people try to swim to safety from a harsh reality.
Haderer may have chosen an exaggeration here to illustrate the modern dating habits in today’s society. With this picture, he may not be too far off from the truth. For all we know, this couple could be on their first date.
Instead of getting to know each other, they are choosing to be on their phones rather. They are probably even tweeting or texting their friends how awkward of a date they are on.
Another illustration that may bring up everything wrong with the work culture that we have created all around us in today’s society is this.
People nowadays work overtime and do what they are told and don’t have any breaks. We live to work. It seems, not work to live as we should. In this drawing, the men precisely depict that they can’t even have a bathroom break without sending that email and working on their laptops.