Robbie Conal is 74-years-old now, but he is as prolific as ever. Considered by many to be the godfather of American political poster art, Conal has been speaking his mind through his artwork for almost 40 years. Recently, Conal and his small band of guerrilla artists took to the streets of Los Angeles well after dark, pasting poster replicas of his politically themed “Cabinet of Horrors” oil and acrylic paintings all over town, according to WHYY. The “Cabinet of Horrors” exhibit can be seen at the downtown Los Angeles Gallery Track 16, and will soon go to Washington, D.C.
This act of vandalism via public works of art serves both to popularize Conal’s corpus as well as his contemporary political message. Conal is a vehement detractor of President Trump, and the “Cabinet of Horrors” collection is aimed at lampooning the president and his inner circle.
One poster, titled “Rudy Ghouliani”, is stamped with the question “Was it something I said?” Another, a caricature of White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, is titled “A Twist of Fake.”
Brett Kavanaugh’s angry countenance is captioned “Breaking Bad,” Trump advisor Steven Miller’s poster is titled “Staff Infection,” and Vice President Mike Pence is labeled “Stillborn again.” In perhaps one of the most controversial works, Melania Trump’s caricature is inscribed with pink glitter as “Me Too?”
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) October 12, 2018
The Trump administration has provided something of an awakening for Conal and his work, as the artist has been inspired to finish nearly 40 paintings of characters from Trump’s cohort. That number is “more than I’ve ever done in any year in the last 20 years,” Conal said. Conal defends his distorted caricatures as reflections of their inner truth. “I paint them exactly the way these people are on the inside,” he said. “There are so many of them, and they’re all so horrible.”
Conal’s latest work has inspired the expected range of reactions from his audience. Conal chuckled, “Some people write things on them like ‘Why is art so demoralizing?'”
“People contribute, improve — or sometimes they want it, so they try to take it,” Conal’s friend, Sochar, said. “Or they get angry at it and if they don’t like it — I’ve seen a lot of the faces ripped off.”
Conal and his crew have been arrested numerous times for vandalism, but Conal claims that sometimes even the cops who stop them ask for posters.
Conal first rose to fame in the 1980s for his similarly-flavored political poster of Ronald Reagan, entitled “Contra Diction.” Over the past 30 or more years, he has poked fun at members of all political parties.