The Welsh designer whose ‘TIME cover’ fooled the internet
When graphic designer Patrick Mulder saw the horror unfolding in Ukraine, he wanted to make a statement.
He wanted to contribute a bold artistic message to the discourse surrounding Vladimir Putin’s ordering of Russian forces across the border.
It’s safe to say he certainly achieved that.
Using the iconic US news magazine TIME as his frame, his image of Putin uses part of Adolf Hitler’s face supplanted onto the Russian president. It was bold, powerful and effective.
Patrick’s image has been shared thousand of times, fooling the internet into believing the image they are reposting is in fact the cover artwork of the latest edition of Time magazine.
“On the morning Russia invaded Ukraine. I was on the phone to a friend in New York at the time and had a sudden rush of adrenaline that I tried to focus on something,” he said.
“Indeed, it was never intended to be a TIME cover. But when I finished the picture, I was struck by how powerful it was, and decided that it deserved an equally powerful frame.”
The Welshman described how his disappointment with the latest TIME cover, played a part in the creation of his own design.
“The image is one out of a sequence of three I created on the day Russia invaded Ukraine,” said Patrick. “I felt the official cover by TIME was uninspired and lacked conviction.
“I wanted to create something that added to the conversation around the invasion of Ukraine and captured the public mood.
“It wasn’t originally intended to be a TIME cover. The finished image was so powerful, I felt that it deserved to be framed in an equally powerful way.”
The comparison of Putin to Hitler was one that was inescapable, according to the designer.
“The comparison to Hitler was at the forefront of my mind because Putin is using Hitler’s playbook in his diatribe claiming Ukraine is part of Russia,” said Patrick. “ Hitler said the same thing in Mein Kampf when he insisted Austria should be part of the German motherland.
“Putin’s justification for invading Ukraine is eerily similar to Hitler’s pretexts for seizing Czechoslovakia and Poland. I used the image of Hitler because – strategic and ideological
comparisons aside – he is the embodiment of evil.”
My TIME artwork has gone viral – so I thought it would be appropriate for me to write a little about it. The image is one out of a sequence of three I created on the day Russia invaded Ukraine. I felt the official cover by TIME was uninspired and lacked conviction. pic.twitter.com/m5P5rorqgt
— Patrick Mulder 🏴 (@MrPatrickMulder) February 28, 2022
“I tried to capture in my mind the public’s mood, their opinions on the conflict, the ever growing threat Vladimir Putin poses – and the ever growing list of parallels between him and Hitler.
“War is never simple, and as such a picture can never do it justice. But I’m pleased that so many people have been struck by it. And I hope that it is added to what is a very important discourse.”
Many people have praised Patrick’s design, just as so many have shared the image believing it to be a genuine cover.
“Thousands of people have saved it and reposted it to their own social media accounts without noticing that it is actually a piece of artwork and indeed not a real TIME cover,” he said.
“I am not in control of that. But I think it speaks volumes that so many people may have thought it was a genuine cover and volumes still that many more wanted it to be real.
“As ever, art is entirely subjective. And everyone is welcome to their own opinion about my work.”
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