'Fake News' controversial portrait at Art Miami

Imagine only having 24 measly hours find inspiration, make decisions, and create a masterpiece. 

Imagine having to step out of your comfort zone because the topic is controversial.

Imagine this creation published in an international art magazine. 

There's nowhere to hide and nothing you can do if it goes horribly wrong. 

This is my story of pushing past my fears, pulling an all-nighter, and Fake News. 

My instinct was to paint a portrait of Donald Trump when presented with this challenge. It’s an obvious association with Fake News. My inner voice of doubt thought it was too obvious. So out of fear, I decided to paint a London bus as a symbol of misinformation during Brexit. I even thought about adding a little Farage and a Trump dressed as graffiti artists spraying a hashtag on the side of a bus.
 
But, at midnight, I realised that the bus idea wasn’t right. In that moment, I was so frustrated that I trashed the painting with graffiti saying “misinformation” and “don’t believe what you see” everywhere. 

And then, I panicked. That was the moment I accepted I wasn’t going to get any sleep. So I took out a new canvas and faced my fear of painting a portrait of Donald Trump.  
 
At 2 am, after talking with my best friend because politics is outside of my comfort zone, I finally had a suitable concept. 

The idea was to paint the Twitter Bird on Donald Trump’s shoulder. It'd look like it was chirping into his ear. And I'd write “We’ve got them dancing to our tunes”. 

Additionally, there would be words coded in his jacket, to be deciphered by the viewer, as a metaphor for experts spending time figuring out Donald Trump’s comments. 

If you look carefully, you read, “Discredit experts”, “Defame renowned news agencies”, “create smoke screens”, and “criticize = fake news”. 
 
This challenge took everything I had to complete. But I did it. 

“We’ve got them dancing to our tunes” represents the danger of the power to influence the masses in a sensationalist age. An age where technology and information can be so easily & affordably manipulated. So it supports egocentric interests—no matter how short-sighted they might be and with disregard to the global impact, climate changes, havoc, instability, division, and mistrust that it creates.

The 18th edition of (t)here Magazine was distributed at Art Miami, Art Basel and Context Art Miami during Miami Art Week 2017 and is being distributed in Dubai, Hong Kong, London Heathrow, Macao and shortly in new US distribution outlets.

 

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