Artwork / 2017 / Hello Sh*tty, Available in a White House Near You! (Grab Him by His Pussy.)
The Japanese cartoon character Hello Kitty has no mouth because her creators reasoned that it would be easier to project your feelings onto the cat if she wasn’t already expressing her own. This choice was meant to make the kitty more likable, and it seems to work the same way for Donald Trump, though he, of course, is a lot mouthier. In spite of that, his supporters assign their emotions to him, and then they laud his ability to relate.
This painting is a commentary on Trump’s ability to sell his fans both his skewed reality and his brandname products. The image is full of poignant details: from the Hello Sh*tty phone case to the syringe full of bullshit that 45 wields. Trump’s name appears on the onion domes of Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Cyrillic script, and Vladimir Putin’s portrait replaces George Washington’s on our dollar, since the Russian despot is responsible for this new America. Andrew Jackson has been reassigned to the fourteen dollar bill—the number underlining his connection to modern white supremacy. And Jesus graces a one million dollar banknote in a nod to the prosperity gospel. After all, this movement is largely to blame for American Christians’ ready acceptance of an unrepentant sinner for President. Through greed, Trump’s money is transubstantiated into proof that their god has chosen him.
Hello Sh*tty has its origins in this other portrait of Trump as well as in this 2015 painting depicting corruption in Oregon. In April 2019, this piece was supposed to be part of a group exhibition at the public library in Montclair, New Jersey, but the work was taken down when some patrons had negative reactions to the imagery. After the censorship of the painting was featured in various news outlets, including Newsweek, the artwork was reinstalled at the exhibit.
You can watch the making of Hello Sh*tty.