Newsday’s Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Matt Davies, known for delivering powerful messages through soft watercolor drawings, was named a finalist for the award a second time, Columbia University officials announced Monday.
Davies, who won the award in 2004 for the Journal News in White Plains and was a Pulitzer finalist in the same category in 2011, was again judged on 20 drawings spanning a single year.
His favorite of 2015, he said, compared racial segregation in the south to that in the north. The top half of the panel depicts a confederate flag while the bottom imagines four parcels of land in the shape of the flag, meant to reflect racial segregation and other systemic disparities.
A cartoonist “ever since I could hold a crayon,” Davies said he challenges readers to consider the issues of the day from a different perspective.
“I don’t expect to change people’s minds,” he said. “That would be arrogant.”
Davies said he’s willing to poke fun at political players, pointing out their hypocrisy, but didn’t want to build his name only on skewering others.
“I go after people’s points of view, not the people themselves,” he said. “I’d rather poke a hole in an idea than poke a hole in a person.”
He said his winning work in 2004 focused on then president George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. His work centered on what Davies called their march to war after 9/11.
“I didn’t believe a word that Bush and Cheney were saying,” he said. “I’m proud to be a sort of early adopter about that.”
Rita Ciolli, editor of Newsday’s editorial pages, praised Davies for surprising readers.
She cited one of his cartoons comparing Donald Trump’s hair to Darth Vader’s helmet.
Every cartoonist made at least one play on the hair, she said. But Davies saw a new entry point.
“He has a very off-beat style,” she said. “He just gets it.”
Davies lives in Wilton, Connecticut, with his wife and three children but will move to Long Island in June, he said.