How Artists Can Fight Trump’s Ignorance
Politics and Activism

How Artists Can Fight Trump’s Ignorance

Trump will never be a friend to the art world, and we’re just fine with it.

28
How Artists Can Fight Trump’s Ignorance
The Huffington Post

Donald Trump’s presidential victory will be one of the great disasters I discuss with God over Manhattans and mixed nuts someday. Nobody thought that it could happen; that America would elect a fussy toddler with a Louis XIV penthouse and a personality to match alongside the fat cats of congress who’ve frittered away public welfare for years. But halfway around the world in a small Provence village, I was struck with the same nightmarish reality as every other artist in my study abroad program after the results from the witching hour of election night were revealed. I treated the first day like the aftermath of a really bad breakup: wallowing in grief and desperately trying to find something salvageable about the situation. All I came up with though was a half-hearted five stages of grief guide for surviving the soon-to-be 45th president of the United States.

The next day I pulled myself together and took a selfish moment to think about what Trump’s presidency would mean for me as an artist on the verge of college graduation. His first term in office is bound to fan the flames of countless American injustices like poor education, police brutality, and discrimination for anybody who’s not a straight, white male for instance. But one thing I’m certain his dainty cheese puff fingers won’t touch is funding for the arts. Over the course of his career, Trump’s threadbare support of the arts has been all too apparent and artists know that it’s only going to get worse. But there are ways to preserve art education and opportunities that are proven to foster math, reading, language, history and culture skills as well as graduation rates and world connectivity — even in the scrunched-up, orange face of cthulhu’s latest embodiment. Just as cafes were the sanctuaries for rebels during the French Revolution, let art galleries and communities fight Trump’s ignorance with our own creative warfare.

Make Waves with Anti-Trump Protest Art

Anti-Trump art by Plastic Jesus. Image courtesy of Sleek.

From mysterious “Take a Dump on Trump” quarters to not-so-subtle nude statues, anti-Trump artwork has already taken America by storm in all shapes and colors. I’ll admit, not all of them are head-scratchers — I’m looking at Hanksy’s Trump as a pile of poop campaign that looks like something Ringo Starr created in Microsoft Paint. But many are right on the nose in satirizing Trump’s offensive ideologies such as Sarah Levy’s menstrual blood-painted portrait of Trump made in response to his misogynistic comments about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. Another gem was L.A. artist Plastic Jesus’ miniature concrete wall built around Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which, thankfully, was dismantled before the star was vandalized with a sledgehammer and pickax.


But now that the beast himself will soon be in office, what can artists do to keep up the anti-Trump protest? The frustrating answer is to keep doing what we’ve already been doing: following current events, participating in anti-Trump rallies and emphasizing our new president’s bigoted views through art. We can also join in the myriad of artists, writers and musicians who’ve gotten loud on social media about their disgust with Trump’s victory.

There’s no point in denying that this will be grueling and exhaustive work, especially when facing Trump’s heinous track record with arts appreciation and experts’ unstable predictions for the U.S. art market. But art was never about being easy and the time to sulk is now over. The only question now is: will you use your talents to fight?

Promote Art Education From the Ground Up

Chris Ofili's "The Holy Virgin Mary" which Trump called, "absolutely gross, degenerative stuff." Image courtesy of The New York Times.

Just because Trump isn’t a ball of fire in the brains department doesn’t mean we can't rely on other elected officials who are actually qualified for their jobs. I know; who has time to persuade a government representative to help defend the arts? Well, for those of us who don’t want funding for the arts in the hands of the man who famously demolished two priceless Art Deco friezes while erecting the New York Trump Tower, I say we should make the time.

The future of art education and prosperity was already crumbling before Trump’s answers to a Washington Post questionnaire about arts, culture and freedom of speech hit the fan. In the document, Trump made his apathetic stance on the arts perfectly clear by leaving several answers blank and shouldering much of the government responsibility for preservation of the arts to Congress, the free market and local representatives. Nevertheless, there are ways to make sure art education doesn’t slip through the cracks, namely by coercing local government and school officials on to our side. Other pro-art actions include volunteering your time as an artist at school and community functions and forging partnerships with the 88 percent of Americans who agree that art education matters.

Traveling Artists Stay on Top of International Affairs

Anti-Trump art by Yanko Tsvetkov. Image courtesy of The Sun.

Trump’s presidential victory might be the universal sign you’ve been looking for to study abroad, travel, or better yet, land an artist grant or residency. For entry-level and veteran artists alike, time spent away from the U.S. to work on a personal project, explore new cultures and collaborate with other artists can help boost career prospects and provide a healthy breathing space from politics. However, this experience should NOT be an excuse for artists to lose touch with Trump’s ignorance and hide from America’s shame on international soil. It’s a time to pay attention to cross-cultural affairs and think about how Trump’s presidency will impact the world at large.

Even though it’s a satirical work of art, Bulgarian artist Yanko Tsvetkov’s world map of Trump’s comments and policies has a eerie grain of truth to it. While economists scramble to predict the effect Trump’s presidency will have on the stock market, foreign policy experts are currently analyzing America’s ill-fated relationships with Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East under Trump’s leadership. Trump in office is also bound to threaten trade agreements with Mexico and China as well as dangerous climate change effects and doomed human rights progress. Some people are even fearful of how Trump could disrupt NATO partnerships in favor of striking up a tentative friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. All of these international issues are things artists abroad need be concerned with and do their best to get out into public discourse.

When it comes to fighting Trump, it can feel like fighting spider webs. But one reality TV moron moving into the Oval Office shouldn’t be enough to make artists shelve our sketchbooks and start applying for office administration jobs. We pursued our careers not because we expected tureens of cash and respect dished our way, but because we had the same crazy dream that our work could somehow make a difference in the world we live in. Right now, our world is sounding an alarm to battle Trump’s impending idiocracy; will you be there to answer it?

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B just dropped the hottest summer single yet. It's called "WAP" and we're going to get into all the intoxicating lyrics.

This song empowers females and their sexuality. These women put the ridiculous music industry female beef to bed, and I mean tucked away in a coma.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How To Write Down The Holy Grail Recipe Everyone Begs You To Make

Because everyone has a signature cocktail, cake, or pasta they bring to every potluck.

NBC

From back when I used to bring my mom's classic white chocolate chip cookies to preschool on my birthday to now stirring up my signature tequila cocktails at every friends' barbecue, I've always had a couple of standby recipes in my culinary rotation.

Keep Reading... Show less
Adulting

Meet My Cat: Cheshire, The Stray Turned House Cat Who Lives in Michigan

I never considered myself a cat person, but Chess immediately stole my heart.

Madelyn Darbonne

In 2016, a stray cat gave birth to a litter of three grey kittens on my aunt and uncle's property. I had never considered myself to be much of a cat person, but these furballs immediately stole my heart. I got to watch them grow up until they were old enough to leave their mother's side.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How To Binge-Watch A TV Show —And Then Write A Review About It

Writing your favorite and least favorite things about a show could not be more fun.

Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Looking for a new show to binge? Stop scrolling through your options and listen.

Sometimes a good show doesn't come down to the genre or the actors involved, it comes down to the fact that it is simply a GOOD show. If any of these things sound appealing to you, you should definitely watch.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

11 Reasons Why Getting A Cat Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your Mental Health

Cats may mess up your puzzles but they'll always love you unconditionally — as long as you have some catnip, that is.

Scout Guarino

Alright, everyone, it's time to stop spreading the rumor that all cats are mean, aloof, and hate everyone. Like dogs, each cat has its own personality and tendencies. Some like a lot of attention, some like less — each person has to find the right cat for them. As for me, my cats Bienfu and Reptar have seen me at my worst, but they've also helped pull me out of it. They're a constant in my life and they give me the strength to get through the day in spite of my depression, and there's even scientific evidence to support it!

Keep Reading... Show less

I've been bleaching my hair since I was in seventh grade. Yes, you read that correctly, seventh grade. That's nearly 10 years of maintaining a very light shade of blonde that too-often brings about dryness and brittle strands.

Keep Reading... Show less

Chances are if you're here, you're probably interested in writing an open letter. Yay! We're excited to have you.

Of course, not all open letters are created equal. In fact, there's a recipe to writing one for Odyssey that'll get featured on one of our many verticals. When it comes to Swoon specifically (for those new around here, that's our dating and relationships vertical), we receive dozens of open letters each month, many of which are all very similar.

Keep Reading... Show less

With a new phone comes great responsibility: Do not break it! And the best way to do that is with a case. However, picking a case can be a challenge. No need to fret, I am here to help break down some of the best cases for the new iPhone SE 2020. Honestly, I think it's going to be impossible to choose!

Keep Reading... Show less

To some who have been out of the dating world for a while, it can be hard to get back into the swing of things after being single for some time. So, I asked 26 people what they think is important to know before looking for love again, here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments