Happy Derby week! Like any good Kentuckian, we love celebrating one of Kentucky’s finest traditions, “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” We can’t think of a better way to honor this fine occasion than with a nod to kick-ass Kentuckian Hunter S. Thompson’s famous essay on the 1970 Kentucky Derby, “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved.” The piece first appeared in Scanlon’s Monthly that year, alongside Ralph Steadman’s illustrations (their first collaboration), and marked the beginnings of Gonzo journalism. You might remember another print we’ve released in past years honoring the essay.
This year, we’re keeping our Decadent and Depraved tradition alive with an epic new print from Ben Wade, an amazing young artist whose work you might recognize from other Kentucky for Kentucky releases, including “Coach Calipari and Rick Pitino Reimagined as Crips and Bloods.” Currently a University of Kentucky student and KY for KY intern, we’ve been absolutely blown away by Ben’s illustrations. When it came time to find an artist for one of our annual Derby prints, Ben was a no brainer. Get in early on his work, he’s going places.
In crafting the print, we asked Ben to read Thompson’s essay and bring it to life as he would imagine it in an epic illustration. The results are amazing. Ben knocked it out of the park. He basically created a ’Where’s Waldo’ out of the essay. What might be most impressive is that he captured the scene with less than half the booze and debauchery that fueled Thompson’s and Steadman’s work. We think these crazy ass prints would make Hunter proud. Get one while you can.
Purchase Information: A limited run of 500 prints will be available on Friday, May 1st at 10:00am on this here website. Printed on 80# paper in Lexington Kentucky. Print is 12.5″ x 19” in size. Signed by Ben. At just $20 each, these are a safer bet than the ones you’ll make from the infield after a few too many Mint Juleps.
Photos by Savanna Barnett