‘The Painter of Pancakes’ transformation


I’m a big fan of brinner: breakfast for dinner. When I found out about this addictive website called Jim’s panckes, I lost a good 15 minutes of productivity. Let’s just say pancakes could be categorized under “a few of my favorite things.”

So I was excited to read more about Dan Lacey, “The Painter of Pancakes,” even though I might not display his art in our family room. Lacey is well-known for creating portraits politicians with pancakes, including ones of the Obama naked on a unicorn.

Jon Tevlin of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune profiled Lacey in one of his recent columns, focusing on Lacey’s battle with Orly Taitz, a woman who is attempting to prove that President Obama was not born in the United States.

There’s one section, though, that made me pause because of its lack of clarity.

Before his pancake paintings gave him notoriety, Lacey was a conservative evangelical Christian who drew an online cartoon called “Faithmouse,” which promoted conservative ideas that often angered liberals.

Not anymore. “I quit,” said Lacey of his political leanings. “I sent in my notice and no longer belong to the Christian right.”

I have all sorts of questions about this. Did Lacey leave his faith, and/or did he stop being a conservative? Did his “Faithmouse” cartoon have anything to do with faith?

I looked around Lacey’s website a little bit and found some more details.

Faithmouse is the name of a Christian cartoon I began drawing about a decade ago. A few years ago I had something of a mental and spiritual breakdown, decided to make the cartoon Catholic, and then I decided to paint instead. I still draw the cartoon a little. My paintings sometimes horrify my family.

So is Lacey Catholic now? He links to a quote in about some of his old cartoons.

I like his Faithmouse comics a lot, especially after Dan started to expand beyond his original conservative mission and explored themes like the sexual fantasies of gay Catholic clergy, Faithmouse’s naughty sister, etc. Dan doesn’t do much Faithmouse now; his pop culture paintings (pancakes, naked Obama, etc.) are so popular, I guess he doesn’t have much time for the comic.

So what contributed to his mental and spiritual breakdown; is he religious now? What’s with the (seemingly respectful) portraits of Billy Graham and Mother Theresa? Does his religious affiliations still motivate him at all, even if he’s left the “religious right”? I know this is a column, but I would expect something reported to give a little bit more explanation if Tevlin feels its relevant to the story. Otherwise, it’s more confusing than revealing.

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  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Forgive me for straying from the journalism issues but . . . I love Lacey! I am a proud owner of one of his pancake paintings and hope to add to my collection . . .

  • http://www.muchmorethanwords.com gfe

    “I quit,” said Lacey of his political leanings. “I sent in my notice and no longer belong to the Christian right.”

    Maybe he meant that figuratively. But if I had been interviewing the guy, I would have asked him whom he sent his notice to. It seems a quote like that cries out for more information.

  • Justin

    Lacey’s been enough of an odd bloke (art-wise at least) that it might be hard to discern what is going on. From what I could tell at some of the online places he hung out, he was always a Catholic, and decided to take his “Faithmouse” comic more along those lines.

    Some of the more irritating conservative outposts (mainly Freeper) fired back with scorn, and he just didn’t want to be the guy who wrote conservative comics anymore. Then he found success as the guy who drew Obama naked on a Unicorn and the rest is history.

    Then again, that would require research about nuanced political leanings that might lean right at times — something that is Strib is rarely up to.

  • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

    Mollie, I’d like to see your growing collection.

    gfe, that’s a good point. Who exactly is he speaking about?

    Justin, if he’s Catholic, it’s an odd description from the columnist then. If he’s that deserving of a profile, I’d love to know more.

  • http://samsonblinded.org/news/ Katy @ Israel

    Why would the religious views of a person who’s not a politician, for example, cause so much interest? Even if he changes his religion or becomes an atheist, it’s his personal business.

  • Justin

    Sarah,

    Here’s an interview that touches a bit more on his Catholic faith.

    http://racketmag.com/culture/dan-lacy-artist-interview/

    The Strib does seem to hold the faith issues at arms length, at best. There’s a shift in focus that goes well beyond just fleeing the “Religious Right,” or being a “Conservative Evangelical Christian” (again, define).

    And if he’s no longer a conservative, the memo hasn’t reached local lefty-blogs. The Twin Cities City Pages did a story about him (where I stand corrected: he became a Catholic a few years back) and the anger aimed at him:

    http://www.citypages.com/2009-04-29/news/dan-lacey-s-bizarre-pancake-paintings-land-him-fame-beyond-gawker/

  • John M.

    Justin,

    Just checked out that Citypages article you linked to. Geez, it sounds like Ken Avidor went completely mental!

    I am impressed by Lacey’s discipline and self-control. Truly, that we all should learn from that example.

  • http://www.blogforbooks.com Stacy Harp

    Hello there – I noticed my site was linked to this post, and I decided to weigh in. Dan is a friend of mine, well at least I consider him a friend. He’s done numerous paintings for me and comics when he was doing Faithmouse all of the time.

    It’s my understanding that due to the content of some of his comics most Christian or even conservative places wouldn’t carry this strip. Which was sad because he has a huge following of Faithmouse fans. He tried for a number of years to earn a living do that and again, because he couldn’t get picked up, or earn a living, he decided to start doing stuff where he could get paid.

    This is when he started doing the pancake stuff and liberal paintings….because liberals weren’t afraid to buy his stuff. So more power to him.

    And last time I knew he is still a committed Catholic, conservative and pro-life, which is why it is absolutely amazing that Orly Taitz would think George Soros was paying him. FWIW. :)


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