Trump and the KKK

Increasingly more these days, I find my work is becoming more political. I wouldn't say I'm a political artist, but it stands to reason in this tumultuous day and age politics will seep into my work. I'm happy with that.

It also stands to reason that when the world gives you someone as fuckin' ridiculous as Donald Trump, it is your duty as an artist to draw attention to what a hideous, dangerous, and demonic man he is.

So after the recent events in Charlottesville, I felt compelled to make up yet another collage of this arse-nugget. I don't think I have used one person so much in my collage work as I have Trump which, when you think about it, is tragic. Nevertheless, given what occurred that day, and the subsequent comments from the President of the Free World, I went ahead and started cutting. Here is what I did:

The True Republican

The True Republican

A lot of my work this year has been delving into what motivates people - what goes on in their heads, so to speak. This is nothing ground-breaking - we know the man is a horrible racist. But this post is about sourcing materials for the collage.

Your bread and butter as a collage artist is your paper stock. My studio is full of old magazines, pornos, National Geographic magazines, photographs - name it and I'll have it. Getting a photo of Trump is easy. Not since Princess Diana or Dave Benson Phillips has one person been photographed so much. His official White House portrait was in a newspaper in my local coffee shop so I snaffled it, took it home and cut it out. I decided to focus on the upper part of his ball-sack, orange face, and the sinister gaze he possessed. It is worth noting how truly chilling the look in his eyes is, and on his official portrait. He holds the stance of a dictator, and I think a lot should be read into that.

Sourcing images of the KKK was a lot more difficult. I raided my filing cabinets and had nothing. I knew I wouldn't. I am of a pretty hard constitution, but refuse to have anything so vile in my house. So I went on eBay and found, rather easily I might add, some old photos of 'The Klan'. I reluctantly bought them, but felt a sense of unease in doing so. Would this look bad on some file the government have on me? Would the person selling them think I was some white supremacist? Or, worse, would he himself be a fascist and think I was part of his brotherhood? The shit you put yourself as an artist.

The photos arrived and I found the one that was perfect. It fitted, and the spikes of their ridiculous hoods made some sort of medieval crown almost. The fact all of the Klansmen are looking directly at the camera, as is Trump, was the icing on the cake, and got my message across.

As I cut them out, my mind wandered somewhat as it does. You start thinking. I looked at these people, and truly, truly hated them. I'd never met them, nor would I (hopefully, given the age of the photograph, many of them will be dead now), but you don't have to step in dog-shit to know it stinks, do you?

Once the hatred subsided, I got to a sense of fear. Although these inbred hicks probably aren't around anymore, the Klan does still exist. And I find something truly chilling about a group of people meeting up through a common, shared hatred of their fellow man, and donning ridiculous robes in a cowardly showing of unity.

What scares me more is their influence. They are in the senate, their British counterparts (although under a different name, and without this comical get-up) are all over parliament and in our pubs, and, worst of all, they have an honorary grand wizard leading the worlds largest superpower.

Anyway, if my collage didn't get the message across, here's the now legendary performance of 'Klu Klux Klan' by the incredible Steel Pulse.

Now is Not the Time for Generic Art

Like millions who are fortunate to own a TV, I watched the Trump inauguration yesterday. I didn't want to, knowing full well it would make the inside of my stomach lining shoot out of my arse, but my wife persuaded me. It was horrible, like watching a beloved pet drown, only with lots of plastic surgery and expensive coats.

Yesterday was a funny day. I woke up, fed my newborn son, got through some emails before taking him for a walk around the local garden centre. He liked it there. He's only two weeks old but has a sense of calm about him that can only come with being on this planet for less than a month. We then sat down together and watched a man who looks like a bad guy in a Disney Movie being effectively handed over the keys to the free world.

As this played out, I looked at my son as I heard the subtle diatribe coming from my television set, and a thought chilled my bones; there is a significant chance he would be eight years old before this maniac gives up his tenure as President. What world will this waste of skin leave for him to inherit? Indeed, will there be a world left? I exaggerate on the last point, but only slightly.

I got angry. My son could've been born into a time where the first President he remembers would have been Obama. A strong, hardworking man with ethics who, let's face it, wouldn't have had a sniff of even being in the Senate 40 years ago. I'm UK based, but watched eight years ago when he was sworn in. There was a palpable sense of hope and acknowledgement that the US had finally got it together and the world would be OK.

Yesterday's events were a different box of cheese altogether. It resembled something from an apocalyptic, dystopian novel that even Orwell or Ballard couldn't have imagined. A bloated man who looks like a condom full of satsumas preached soundbites behind bulletproof glass to a crowd of acolytes too thick to clap. Men in dark glasses stood visibly amongst the crowd looking menacing. There were lots of them.

He spoke a lot about 'God'. That seemed to get a reaction from the trailer trash women who yelped, getting wetter than Whitney Houston's last spliff as their new leader lied to them. There were a lot of cowboy hats in the crowd and camouflage jackets. Trump himself even looked bemused. His arrogant swagger seemed slightly subdued. His expression was that of a buffoon who had gone to far and now couldn't go back, like John Goodman in King Ralph. Obama looked broken, his wife angry. He must feel like Gandhi handing over the reigns to Pol Pot. All his work being irrevocably destroyed in months, and purely out of malice.

Make no mistake, this is the start of a regime. Times look dark, very dark. The leader of the biggest super power is now a man who openly mocks the disabled, is racist, and has absolutely no respect for women. He is a sex fiend with the IQ of a gibbon, and exhibits all the hallmarks of a Wall Street sociopath - like Patrick Bateman filled with butter. 

But in a sadistic way I am strangely optimistic. I have no illusions that these are difficult times, and there is a significant chance that by the time my son is being potty trained it will be in an Anderson Shelter. But I am an artist, and this is a beautiful time to be an artist. 

See, the world has lost its fucking mind. At home, we have Thatcher-Lite dismantling the NHS whilst isolating us from the Global Community when we need them most. Slags like Nigel Farage are celebrities, Hell bent on destroying the fabric of our society for personal gain. On top of all this, Gary Barlow is still alive.

However it is times like this that great art is created. Out of austerity and lack of hope comes some of the finest art this fetid rock has ever seen. It is now time for artists to earn their salt and prove their mettle.

This is not a time to produce generic art for front rooms. Quote posters and the like need to fuck off.

We have a gift, and therefore obligation, to use this arse gravy of a situation to kick against. When society is so dumbed down it is the job of the artist to inform them. When they are depressed it is down to the artist to make them smile. When they are angry the artist can help direct their hatred to the right channel. Artists have always been the alternative, truthful media. It is now more than ever that walls need to be painted, posters put up, prints made, 'zines distributed, albums recorded and plays written.

Perhaps if this happens (and I know it will) my son can grow up and have something to be proud of living through. He can look back and feel glad of the creativity and rebellion that came out of such trying times, and feel comfortable the world will be a richer and better place for it.

'Hate' Mr. Marbles Silkscreen Print and Paper Collage on Card  

Mr. Marbles
Silkscreen Print and Paper Collage on Card