The 2016 Presidential Elections And Political Street Art
This run of election campaigning went mad long ago. Gone are the days of street artists like Shepard Fairey creating inspirational election posters for candidates. Like every aspect of the race, street arts reactions have been a lot more acerbic. Here is our guide to political street art that has gathered a lot of attention this time around.
Lushsux and Instagram Censorship
Lushsux works in controversy. The Australian artist is well known for pushing the boat out when it comes to street art. During the 2016 US Presidential elections, Lushsux came up against internet backlash for his murals of important figures in the presidential race. He’d worked on pieces based on Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Melania Trump. His portrait of Clinton and Trump kissing gained a lot of attention but his piece depicting Hillary Clinton as a stripper kicked off a lot of online debate about censorship.
The piece was removed from Instagram and there were calls for the physical piece to be removed. Lushsux attempted to censor his own piece, painting over it to turn it into a woman wearing a Niqab. This didn’t do much to quiet critics. It came across like a pretty childish way to try to move the goalposts of the argument.
He hung his hat on the point that he was being treated unfairly for his work as similar pieces depicting Donald Trump hadn’t been censored. This hasn’t been the case though. Illena Gore’s painting of a naked Trump was also censored on Facebook.
Hanksy’s Dump Trump
From his name being a parody of Banksy to his work, Hanksy is a satirical artist with a blunt message. Possibly his most on the nose piece is his depiction of Donald Trump’s face on a blown up version of the poop emoji. There isn’t a lot of subtext to read out of this one but that’s the beauty of Hanksy’s pieces. He stands out against other pieces of political street art. In a world of artists encoding rich meaning into everything they do. Hanksy just tells you what the meaning is.
Hanksy’s gone for Trump more than once. When he first started attacking Mexico in campaign speeches, Hanksy pasted up election posters of Trump in a sombrero surrounded by cartoonishly mexican objects.
Mindaugas Bonanu – Trump Kissing Putin
Despite frosty feelings between the US and America, Donald Trump has been vocal about his support for Vladimir Putin. This put him in the crosshairs of people who are a bit closer to the pulse on knowing what the Russian leader is like. This piece of political street art by Lithuanian street artist Mindaugas Bonanu took inspiration from the famous picture of the Soviet President Leonid Brehznev kissing East German leader Erich Honecker. The piece shows Trump and Putin locking lips while both wear Adidas tracksuits.
The message is clear and very critical of the interests of the presidential candidate.
Why all the Trump hate?
It may seem like there’s a disproportionate amount of street art taking a stand against Trump compared to Clinton. In all honesty this is definitely the case. It’s not hard to see why though. Trump’s not known for watching what he says and as well as giving the internet a lot of material, it’s given street artists a lot to work with. Street artists aren’t really the target audience of the conservative candidate but neither is Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. As a result, there isn’t a lot of positive street art for either candidate. The fact that there are pieces from all over the world weighing in on the election should give some indication of how much people are sick of hearing about it. Street artists don’t seem to be fans of either but most artists who are speaking up seem to have more to say about Trump.