Introducing ‘Blake Mead’, a darkly topical 80s parody of Lake Mead near Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (CLASS) — He’s pretty cute, a little damp, smells like fish, seems tied up at times, and wears cement loafers. Say hello to “Blake Mead”, one of the hapless characters from the mind of digital illustrator Michael Barnard.

“Blake Mead” Artwork – Drawn and published with permission by Michael Barnard.

Barnard’s “Blake Mead” drawing is, of course, a dark joke about the drought situation around Lake Mead. The water level of the lake has dropped more than 180 feet since it was full and is now 27% full. Since May, people have discovered human remains uncovered by the receding waterline five times. Other relics from the past are also coming to light, including old boats and most recently a gun.

“After reading some headlines, a lot of interesting things come up,” Barnard told 8 News Now. ‘Boats are coming, I’ve got a gun there. Initially I would have liked a boot and some other things. But I only had so much room to try and keep it in proportion to the classic cards.”

Michael Barnard, digital illustrator (Image: Michael Barnard)

Taking advantage of current headlines, Barnard has drafted several Garbage Pail Kid parables over the years. Barnard did work with Tops, the company that makes the real Garbage Pail Kids, and knows the style well.

“I’m a kid of the 80s and grew up with an obsession with Garbage Pail Kids,” Barnard said. “A lot of people my age who grew up with these cards enjoy seeing a new take on something that will be in the headlines or in the news.”

Garbage Pail Kids were so popular in the mid-’80s that CBS Evening News even devoted an entire segment to the controversy surrounding children and the card’s disgusting themes.

“Blake Mead” isn’t the first drawing Barnard has made with news headlines. He created “Crazy Kyle” for the Storm Area 51 event in 2019. More recently, he created “Mona Lith” due to the strange monoliths found across the country in 2020.

Barnard has also created several Las Vegas themed illustrations. He came up with “Raulette,” an obvious tribute to Las Vegas and gambling, and a Las Vegas-themed disc golf design for Disc Con.

Barnard runs his own illustration business, Sunburn Designs, from his home in California. Barnard, who once lived in Kingman, Arizona, said he knows the Lake Mead area well.

As for his future, he said he is working on a big project that he is not allowed to say anything about, along with disc design. “I look back very nostalgically on my childhood. So I do a lot of stuff with Back to the Future and The Goonies, and the Gremlins, all those good things.

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