President-elect Donald Trump, depicted here by artist Barry McMahon in the piece entitled Trump – Nazi Destroyer of Earth
President Barack Obama, depicted here in the painting entitled Lifesaver
Barack Obama ignited the nation with a campaign fueled by the internet. His campaign spoke directly to the nation with a message of Hope. Donald Trump ran a campaign based on hatred and fear and plans to ignite the nation in quite a different way. He intends to destroy it, along with the rest of the world. As an artist, I have created many paintings, drawings and sculptures of “heroes” over the years but I’d like to focus in on these two for a moment.
Yes, some people do view Donald Trump as a hero and we must all acknowledge that or we are missing an essential element of understanding human nature and our society, here within the United States of America. The fact that Trump was able to appeal to people through hatred and fear is only part of his success. Add to that the fact that a great many people responded to his claim that he would “drain the swamp” only to learn within days of voting for him that he had no intention of doing so to begin with. This is why his lips are shown in the “L” position, because nearly everything that comes from his mouth is a lie. His choices in people with whom he is surrounding himself during his transition to the presidency is alarming. From White Supremacists to Wall Street and big oil lobbyists, Trump has assembled a team of people who will lead our country into darkness and devastation. His disregard for human decency and respect has been overt, there will be no equality for women, people of color, the LGBT community or anyone else for that matter during his reign. The visual elements of the Trump painting capture some of his more obvious dangers from accelerating climate change by ignoring the science to building a wall to keep out some of the most productive people our nation has had the good fortune to allow in.
Opportunity and hope was the message of the day from Barack Obama. In his painting I depict him standing in front of an American flag comprised mainly of Lifesavers candies. When I first created this piece, many people were confused by the title Lifesaver, assuming that I was calling Obama the life saver, when in actuality it is America that I see as the lifesaver if only the policies of hope Obama espoused were actually delivered upon. Each lifesaver represents the people of our nation, the red and the white symbolizing our differences while the union of the flag design is binding, like the promise of hope. One could argue that the promise of the Obama presidency has not been realized. However, a great many hopeful and beneficial advancements were made during his presidency which cannot be ignored, not the least of which is the institution of marriage equality rights for all. President Obama’s policy concerning climate change is another hopeful step in the right direction as opposed to Trump’s policy of denial.
Ultimately, these paintings are a reflection of my feelings about these men and their ambitions. While I truly believe that Barack Obama had the best interest of the United States of America in mind during his campaign and eventual presidency, I cannot see that being the case for Donald Trump. President-elect Donald Trump is only concerned with himself, his business, his family and those to whom he feels indebted which is a very small number if at all. I can still remember the awesome feeling of really rallying around President Obama who would eventually end a war that should never have begun. With Trump in charge of the most powerful military machine in the world I fear for the safety of humanity.
Don’t get me wrong, President Barack Obama has been disappointing in many ways, from continued fighting overseas and the detention of prisoners in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, to bailing out Wall Street without creating adequate oversight and delivering no justice regarding the chief offenders. However, with Donald Trump at the helm, armed with a full Republican Congress, I fear the absolute worst for our country and any country who disagrees with him.