For Artprize, the enormous art competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan this year I decided to create a warm and fuzzy piece that that touches on the very safe arenas of religion and politics. Why would I spend my time and money and risk getting punched in the face creating T-Rump? Because art communicates. Because art allows entry points into tough conversations. Because artists are called to be prophetic (truth tellers). Because T-Rump is a funny word play and I like the funny.
But what am I trying to communicate here? As T-Rump warns of an asteroid sent from Mexico that is going to destroy America (words have impact) while almost unconsciously knocking some women over (perhaps casually objectifying?) there is something that I hope will be the focus of this painting. No, not the small hands or the orange skin. What I hope people will see is my homage to Vincent Vangogh’s “The Good Samaritan” in the background.
“Who is my neighbor?” is the question of Jesus’ parable. In this case I changed the Samaritan to a Syrian as he helps an injured man, in a white tank top with a Confederate flag tattoo, onto his donkey. I needed to add my voice to this year’s chaos and ask that question. I hope we can have a good conversation about the marginalized and avoid punches in the face.
I also hope that those of you in West Michigan will check it out. In the window of 24 Sheldon Blvd (a half block from Veterans Park). Maybe you’d like to vote for me too: VOTE CODE 63835.