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Donald Trump Murals: Putting the Political Back into Street Art

By February 10, 2016No Comments

Donald Trump has long been a controversial figure, from his rise in the eighties as a real estate and property mogul to his recent bid to become the President of the United States of America. He’s long been in the public eye and, at this point, is quite comfortable in front of a camera, a pulpit, or a boardroom filled with cameras. And with so much notoriety, The Donald has also gained the attention of some very talented, and very angry, street artists.

Graffiti, as it is sometimes pejoratively called, has also been closely associated with declarations, whether they’re political, territorial, or simply making a statement. Being illegal in so many different ways, it can also be a political statement through its very existence and, in the way that many people see it during their daily routine, its ability to capture an audience is similarly a political act. For some, the politics is key, and now that Donald Trump has decided to try and become one of the world’s most powerful people, artists are flocking at the chance to show off what they really think of him and his bid to become president.

One such piece showed up in Donald Trump’s hometown of New York City by a popular graffiti artist known only as “Hanksy.” The American-born artist is known for his tongue-in-cheek and often controversial comedic pieces, choosing to use the power of humour to convey his messages. For The Donald, Hanksy certainly has his opinions, and he certainly wasn’t shy of displaying them: a pile of feces featuring Donald’s face and famous hair (or possibly hair-piece). Hanksy took to Twitter to describe his artistic process, which wasn’t too complex even if the message is powerful: “okay. so I started with the fact that Trump kinda rhymes with dump. but I think I’m just gonna paint him as a giant pile of shit.”

Hanksy’s message will certainly have some detractors, but many people in New York have long had an antagonistic relationship with the owner of Trump International. Trump, and his extremely wealthy father before him, invested in multiple real estate initiatives that are tied to the gentrification and extreme, now legendary, housing prices in New York, and many people are sure to enjoy Hanksy’s take on Trump.

Trump’s campaign and infamy has made its way north of the border as well, with a Winnipeg artist giving visitors of a local pub’s men’s room something to ponder while they pee. The District Stop nightclub in the city’s Entertainment District features a painting of Trump, but with his mouth as one of the urinals. It was designed as a statement and publicity stunt, and it’s now international fame is certainly making people stop by.

Street art has always been political, so for artists to take their graffiti and point it at such a controversial figure is no surprise. And whatever your opinions about Trump are, it has at least led to some interesting art pieces around the world. They do certainly have a theme, though, one that may not be too far off the mark.