Monday, July 17, 2017

Only Mexico City Has the Balls for the Trump/They Live Billboard!

Too Hot for America!

A few months ago, for the heck of it, I innocently started a ‘Go Fund Me’ campaign to get my Trump/They Live artwork on billboards across Washington. My wide-eyed sales pitch went as such… 
“Hi! I’m Mitch O’Connell, a freelance artist with a fun idea to pay tribute to a classic 80s horror movie that’s more relevant today than ever.  Way back in August of 2015 I was starting to sketch out a poster design to advertise a 24 hour horror movie marathon.  The headlining feature was a screening of “They Live”, starring Rowdy Roddy Piper and directed by John Carpenter. It's a masterful cult movie of gruesome aliens planning to take over Earth walking among us disguised as humans. But luckily our heroes, by looking through special glasses, can see the bad guy's true otherworldly skeletal features and when they run out of bubblegum, kick some ET ass. 
As I was penciling away, Trump was on the tv talking about something or other a couple months into his candidacy.
I’ve enjoyed watching The Donald  since the days of Celebrity Apprentice. He was a very amusing blowhard parading around in his gold on gold hotel rooms, and now mesmerizing in his run doing the opposite of any other candidate.  I looked back at my drawing, then back at Trump, and started thinking how funny it would be to give that alien Trumps equally mesmerizing swoop of hair. It was a very natural fit!
At the time, I thought I was the first person on the planet to do a ‘They Live’ parody, but of course later on I discovered that other creative folks had the same brainstorm before me with Reagan, Obama and others as the alien, and after my doodle made the rounds, it seemed everyone and his brother was doing the Trump/They Live mash-up. In fact, my two versions of the art became the most popular things I’ve ever drawn. Every day, Amazon would have at least a dozen sellers with bootleg items from tees to backpacks. It was the choice of many tattoos and also painted as stenciled graffiti. I was seeing it on protest signs in marches and all over the internet. It even made the cover of the UK news magazine, ’The Big Issue’.  On election day, assuming Hilary’s win, I thought that would be the end of my drawings journey. But surprise, surprise, it was a ‘Good News, Bad News’ kinda night. The good news? The art would still be kept alive!  With a Trump presidency, things just keep getting stranger (and the bar was set pretty high for strange to begin with), and the world of ’They Live’ becomes even more prophetic.  Of course, this isn’t all Trumps fault. No matter what your point of view, most folks feel Washington is a big mess of nonfunctioning nonsense, but since Trump has the best hair, he also wins getting the caricature on the billboard. :-)
So before nuclear war ends all life on Earth, for shits ’n giggles, why not have this artwork displayed on billboards right where much of this world altering nuttiness occurs, Washington DC?  The people must be alerted, and they won’t even need the glasses!
I know there are much more important fundraisers on Go Fund Me. Guessing any kidney transplants reasonably might have the slight edge on me. On the other hand, when billions are spent to elect these folks, and so far 100,000,000 has been spent on our presidents Mar-A-Lago golf outings, a couple grand as a start to put up a funny billboard doesn’t seem that crazy. And if some Super Pac want to funnel the green this way in the next 30 days, we could have a hundred billboards up and down our Nation’s capital.  So when I’m sitting in Guantanamo Bay after Trump sees them, we can all have a good laugh!”
It turned out to be a little more difficult than I imagined..
The first billboard company, ‘Clear Channel’, was good to go. I had it all planned out with them before I started the crowd funding. They had seen the “Make America Great Again/They Live’ art and didn’t voice any objections. When I was ready to give them the money to actually install the Washington billboard they got cold feet and changed their minds. ‘Outfront Media’ was the next company that respond to my inquiries. Again, I showed them the art first. They explained the no way in hell was this going to fly in Washington, so I went with a Chicago billboard that was around 25 by 30’ for $2800. I redesigned the art to fit but just as I finished they also emailed with second thoughts and backed out. I went to ‘Interstate Outdoor Advertising’ and sent them the art. Again, no problem. What I could get for our $3000 was a 14 by 48’ billboard outside of Chicago on I-55. I again redrew the art to fit, signed the contracts and sent them my payment information. Then they came to their senses and said no-go. I went back to ‘JCDecaux’ a company I had sounded out earlier that only offered those 5’ high panels on the side of bus stops in Chicago. At this point, I’m open to most anything. For $3000 I could have one on Michigan Ave for a month, but a day later this was waiting in my inbox “I’m afraid that since this is political in nature, especially with the bad press Kathy Griffin gave recently, the City will turn down your ad copy” was their thanks but no thanks response.

In all I think I contacted over thirty billboard companies, some that had thousands of ones for rent, and many that had only a few regional offerings. Most didn’t even respond to multiple inquiries. The ones that did, started to realize that this is a President that, in all likelihood, will make it a personal vendetta to destroy whatever company dares mock him. Others were more upfront with their reasoning,  "Thanks for your e-mail. I will discuss your artwork and idea with the owner of our company on Monday. However, I need to let you know that we are all huge Trump supporters and we would not post anything on our billboards that would appear to disparage the President in any way. Love Donald Trump!!!!”
Yes, I don’t think much of Donald Trump, but I soft-selled this as much as humanly possible when making the pitch to anyone I could find, but it was a no-go TO EVERY SINGLE BILLBOARD COMPANY IN THE UNITED STATES! I thought that was the end of it. But then, cue music, the brave folks across the border, the upstanding heroic citizens of Mexico that Trump based his campaign on objectifying as rapists and criminals, had the cojones to give Trump the FU.
God Bless Mexico, the only country left that has the freedom to display the The Trump/They Live Billboard!

For more Trump fun-

Located at Periferico Norte #69, Naucalpan!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

TURA SATANA IS BACK! Long Lost Television Shows featuring the Fastest Pussycat!

All around 2009 I (Mitch O’Connell) had the pleasure of Chicago’s ’Tattoo Factory’ being my home away from home. There, out of the blue, owner Paul Collurafici bought me a tattoo machine and lined up folks for me to learn tattooing on. Tattooist Beth Cisco let me apprentice sitting next to her many evenings as I unsuccessfully tried to emulate her impressive skills. Much more successful were the “Tattoo Factory Gallery” shows we put on in the adjacent space that Paul was gracious enough to let us use. We coordinated many amazing shows there utilizing the top-notch artists from The Factory, and the best lowbrow artists of the world. This culminated in a show for the ages, “TURA! TURA! TURA!”, a tribute to “Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!” star and icon Tura Satana. Luckily for historians, Paul was making “Tattoo Factory TV” a half-hour weekly show about the great artists there, the clients and all the events Beth and I (with the hard work of many others) were up to. When I tried to track down the footage recently, Paul couldn’t find copies of anything, but luckily pal Ron Murphy taped these six episodes when originally broadcast and let me borrow the tapes. Now this slice of Chicago history is back for you to enjoy!
For even more, pick up my book of art which includes an extensively illustrated chapter all about that time-
And for more Tura art-

Friday, June 16, 2017

Free Funny Downloadable Father's Day Cards!

For you last minute folks, or smart shoppers looking to save $5.99 on a Hallmark creation,
here are 6 cards to celebrate Dad's ...for free!
Just print out each of the two matching images on the opposite sides of a sheet of 8.5 by 11" paper,
fold it over and sign.
There! All your Father's Day responsibilities are over!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Free M.O'C Downloadable Mother's Day Cards!

For all you last second Mother's Day card shoppers,
or for those that don't have $4.99 for a Hallmark card,
I've got your problem solved!
Below you'll find a batch of downloadable FREE cards!
In most cases, just print the first image on one side of an 8.5 by 11" sheet of paper,
and the matching image on the other side.
Then simply fold it over and sign your name. You're covered!
Now all that's left to do is buy a dozen roses, chocolates, new jewelry,
a spa beauty day gift certificate and dinner out!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Trump Lives! Mitch Street Art, and You Can Help!

I love the concept of “guerrilla” street art. Where you just come up with something crazy, drag it downtown at 2am, and wait ’til the next morning to get a reaction from the 1000’s of folks on their way to work. I’ve done plenty of gallery shows and (for me at least) it feels like the only way to get people to attend is to drive to their homes, grab them by the hand, and personally bring them to the event. The guerrilla way seems so much easier!
 Half of being an artist is doing good work. The other half is getting folks to look at it.
Then I thought of billboards combined with the most popular image I’ve ever come up with, the Donald Trump/They Live mash-up.
People seem to LOVE it! 49% because of their feelings for Trump.
49% because of their feelings for “They Live”
and 2% because I drew it well. :-)
It’s been EVERYWHERE, magazines, all over the internet, store windows, protest signs, tattooed, graffiti and bootlegged on everything from posters, shirts, pins, stickers to underwear.
Now I don’t have the skills and crew to climb up billboard posts in the dead of night, unravel a 20 by 30’ foot banner of my art, attach it, them rappel down before the police arrest us. I’m going the easy route with Go Fund Me to legally put my They Live tribute up on billboards in Washington DC, and the contributors to Go Fund Me are the crew.
This way, everyone can stay in bed and avoid getting an arrest record!
To see all the details about getting involved in the fun, please check out-

Monday, April 10, 2017

Support Your Local Wrestler! Good Times at the Minor Leagues of Professional Wrestling!

Weekends are among the Father/Son adventure times, so I had the thought to take Aiden to enjoy some local wrestling. Where they’re going on is a little hard to track down (no advertising budget might be part of the reason) but through I found that ‘Fusion Wrestling’ was going on at the '5 Star Swap Meet’ in Villa Park. It’s on!
It took an additional bit of effort to find the ring as the manager of the Swap Meet building insisted that there was nothing scheduled, and the ‘way to get there’ I was directed too by another guy was locked and gated off. We drove behind the building to see no hints of anything going on, but circled back and spied a dad and 2 peewees walking around. Yes, they were looking for it too and found a door with the lettering ‘Lucha Wrestling’ stenciled in red. Victory! 5 minutes later we were the first to be let in.
I’ve always liked stumbling upon the minor leagues of professional wrestling. It seems more ‘real’ and relatable. When a well paid 6’ 8” 280lb guy in the WWE jumps off the 3rd rope to crush an opponent it’s all fine, but when the average Joe wannabe my size, who’s doing this for a profit of maybe gas money, is just about to take the big jump, I can really feel the potential pain! And that was the case with Fusion. The paying crowd ($10, kids are free) might have outnumbered the wrestlers, so if you do the math, each guy was in the hole at least $30 for dragging their ass out of bed to entertain us!
Aiden didn’t quite get the concept. He was beside himself that someone was actually getting hurt (“No wrestling Daddy, No!”), but there were two 8 year old boys beside us who were getting into it, so Aiden, like any other 3 year old, followed the lead of the older fellers, and got in the spirit of things. He high-fived the good guys as they made the rounds and learned to be wary of the bad guys (they weren’t as polite). The tyke trouper made it through all 8 matches of fun and the efforts and skills of all the Fusion folks was much enjoyed. The emcee/host of the show had set up his camcorder to film the whole event (Youtube handle ArticulatorSK). and would run on stage to rev up the crowd introducing the match, then back to the camera to record the play by play. Lot’s of fun with the nonPC personas, one guy had a tutu and purse and tried to kiss his opponent, another claimed to be from Africa and suffer from prejudice because he was light skinned (he was white). They all had some great moves, but the main tag-team match had some amazing theatrics going on which deserved a big hat’s off for the must be years of blood sweat devotion to their craft that preceded the show. But they hadn’t forgotten good sportsmanship in the heat of battle. After the heel threw the babyface out of the ring over the top rope right in front of us then leapt 8’ in the air to land his knee in the hero’s groin, he quickly leaned over and whispered “Are you ok?”
We’ll be back 7pm Saturday the 15th at the Edison Park Inn (6715 N. Olmsted Ave, Chicago). Won’t you join us?!

There's more than just Fusion Wrestling holding events there!

I was happy to do the cheering and clapping of 10
o make up for the folks that missed the good times!

The heel was doing his best to stay in character,
but next gave the pretty baby a nose love tweek

I just see myself in pain trying just one of those moves.
Plus I'd need 4 more months in the gym before wearing the white briefs.

The secret entrance.
Would just ONE sign kill you? :-)