My art practice investigates symbols of influence and power that impact perception. Current political events offer interesting and complex inspiration. Can the ideals of democracy continue to stick despite alternative realities? With the fall midterm elections quickly approaching, a new generation will vote for the first time. Marches filled with women and youth are energized. It’s power of the people to make change at the polls. As an artist, it’s my responsibility to respond and support through creative action.
The I Voted artwork explores the 2016 United States presidential election and how Hillary Clinton received 2,868,691 more votes than Donald J. Trump. The loss margin was the largest in history with an Electoral College win. President Trump repeatedly made false claims of “..substantial evidence of voter fraud.” Stickers with the words “I Voted” engulf the president. Despite Trump’s failed Commission on Voter Fraud, the votes support the citizens’ victor and truth.
At least nineteen women have accused President Donald J. Trump of unwanted sexual advances. The WOMEN artwork highlights how Trump’s presidency has faced a Women’s March, the #MeToo movement, and a resistance uprising. Custom return address labels have been repurposed with the word “WOMEN.” As evidence stacks and women organize, Mr. Trump can’t hide from his actions and the truth.
Recently, I read the HYPERALLERGIC article A Trump Portrait Contest Provides Artistic Catharsis by Paddy Johnson. The Lovett or Leave It podcast had an artist call for Trump portraits and the overwhelming response included 1000 entries resulting in 18 finalists. Johnson: “Official presidential portraits are typically commissioned post-presidency, so in a sense this competition offered the anticipatory satisfaction of imagining the premature conclusion of Trump’s political career.”
In addition, actor Jim Carrey has painted a series of portraits satirizing Trump and his enabling entourage. Carrey’s painting of Trump presents the president touching his nibble with one hand while scooping ice cream with another. The artwork’s Twitter caption: “Dear Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery @NPG, I know it’s early but I’d like to submit this as the official portrait of our 45th President, Donald J. Trump. It’s called, ‘You Scream. I Scream. Will We Ever Stop Screaming?’”
An artist responding to politics is not a new cultural phenomenon. Creative expression can be a catharsis but it’s much more. The structures of the art world must reflect the human experience outside of privilege. Preserving democracy includes some TLC (Truth, Loving, & Creativity)! See you in November…