February 22, 2016; Fort Worth Star-Telegram
With three major caucus and primary wins under his belt, Donald Trump has confirmed that he is a force to be reckoned with and feared. While some turn to loved ones or social media to air their views and frustrations of the billionaire-turned-candidate, others like Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson are using public art and parody to get their point across. Last fall, the artists and anti-Trump activists bought a Trump campaign bus for $14,000 and gave it a big remodel to reflect their opinions on the billionaire.
Since it was purchased, the mobile art project has made its way across the United States, raising awareness of the many outrageous statements Trump has made. The plan to launch a Trump-themed art project was first devised after his suggestion that Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was menstruating during the Republican debate back in August. Since then, the bus has been remodeled so Trump became “T.Rump” and the “Make America Great Again” slogan was rewritten in Arabic, a nod to Trump’s controversial statement asking for a ban on Muslims into the country.
Initially, the purpose of the art project was to get Trump to drop out of the race. For several months now, the duo has been riding the truck from campaign pit stop to pit stop, attracting Trump followers who quickly recoil after realizing the truck is in fact a parody.
“If they’re anti-Trump, first they hate you, and then they love you,” Mihelic said. At the Hillary Clinton rally in New Hampshire, the artists were called fascists and Nazis. Maybe they didn’t see the “#WomenTrumpTrump” or “#MakeFruitPunchGreatAgain” written on the side of the bus.
According to Gleeson, the heart of the public art piece is in calling into question Trump’s actions as he gets closer to winning the seat in the most powerful office in the world.
“To me, a big part of this show is: What is Trump’s moral compass?” Gleeson said. “He seems to be mostly about dominance and bullying people.”
— Tyler Fine (@tyler_fine) February 20, 2016
— Adam Hasner (@AdamHasner) February 9, 2016
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The artistry of the bus doesn’t stop with its rehabilitated outward appearance. According to the artists, when the bus stops at rallies, Gleeson will hit golf balls with Trump’s face off the roof of the bus. They also encourage onlookers to throw fruit punch on the bus, to reference Trump’s comment on Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly having menstrual “blood coming out of her wherever.”
“It’s a response to how he had been so off-color about blood and women’s biology,” said Gleeson. The artists try to add onto the public art routine whenever Trump says something controversial.
They even “waterboard” the bus. Trump has been vocal about using torture on terrorists if he assumes the presidency. See here:
— carolrobidoux (@carolrobidoux) February 9, 2016
The truck has racked up 1,000,000 miles so far, traveling through key caucus and primary states like New Hampshire and South Carolina.
“Obviously, the bus hasn’t worked, because he’s still winning,” said Gleeson. But they’re not giving up just yet. According to Twitter, the bus is on its way to Washington D.C.
“The more it’s on the road, the more successful it is as an artwork,” said Mihelic.—Shafaq Hasan