Political Portraits I

Featured image is entitled A Tear by Lydia Corbett (yours truly)

Artists have the amazing ability to inject their own personal opinions and beliefs into their artwork.

Let’s take a look at some politically influenced artwork and its creators to see what artists today have to say about the current state of affairs in the United States.

The Problem We All Live With (2016)

Dave MacDowell

This recreation of the classic Norman Rockwell painting of Ruby Bridges entitled The Problem We All Live With (1942) that hangs outside of the Oval Office is clearly an homage to the Black Lives Matter Movement. But instead of the determined face of the original painting, Ruby is depicted with a sad and disappointed expression with closed eyes. Dave MacDowell created a graphic, yet moving image of the sad reality of today: the overwhelming threat of police brutality and the extreme number of black deaths by the hands of the men in blue.  MacDowell is a self-taught artist that uses a pop surrealist aesthetic with deliberate references in order to bring is point across. His many politically driven pieces

Here is another piece by MacDowell, entitled Run Like Hell, that also has a quite present and obvious message. It is a play on the Edward Hooper painting Nighthawks.

Feeling Ill (2017)

Frank Plant

Frank Plant is clearly sick of it. He used welded steel in the shape of a woman vomiting an American flag to express his dislike for the Trump Administration and its actions. Simple, yet effective.

Demagogue (2016)

Shepard Fairey x Franz Ferdinand

Frank Shepard Fairey is an American contemporary street artist, graphic designer, activist, illustrator, and founder of OBEY Clothing. He is most popular for his Andre the Giant and HOPE Obama designs. His art is always simple but never ceases to send a strong message to its viewers.

Here, Shepard Fairy collaborated with the band Franz Ferdinand in order to express their opinion about the (at the time) presidential candidate and current President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. The message comes across quite literally, as a Demagogue, according to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary definition, is as follows:

a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power

It is clear that these artists are not convinced of Trump’s ‘alternative facts’.

Untitled (2017)

Markus Prime

View this post on Instagram

‪Reach in that cabinet and grab me my empathy hammer.‬

A post shared by Markus Prime (@markus.effin.prime) on

Lastly is one of my personal favorite illustrators, Markus Prime. Mr. Prime’s comic-like illustrations are always neat, well-made, and empowering. The woman in the illustration is sporting a pink Pussy Project Hat  and a gigantic heart-shaped mallet, which Markus called her ’empathy hammer.’ This picture was posted a few days after the iconic Women’s March on January 21st, 2017 when hundreds of thousands of women came out to be heard. It is clear that Trump’s blatant disrespect for women, as seen by the leaked ‘grab her by the pussy’ comment from 2005, has spurred a powerful movement.

Art is a powerful and important medium of expression. It can spur change and influence many’s opinions about what’s happening in our society. Let me know what you think of the different political art out there and what kind of influence it has on you.

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