Artist Craig McInnis said he didn’t set out to come up with a controversial image to advertise this year’s Moonfest, the annual Halloween block party in downtown West Palm Beach.
When he brainstormed with the organizers of the event, which will be Saturday night, the choice to make President Donald Trump a monster raging over the city just seemed, well … natural.
“It wasn’t political, it was commercial,” McInnis, 45, said. “And I went into my usual bag of tricks. Pig face. Goat and pig features.”
McInnes has been designing images for Halloween Fright Nights at the South Florida Fairgrounds, so he was already in monster mode.
When he was done, his caricature of the president was a diapered orange creature with goat horns, a pig snout, a devil’s tail and cloven hooves. His creation, which he dubbed “Cheeto Demon Tiny Hands,” had the crescent moon skewered in his pitchfork and what appeared to be the flaming skyline of the city in the distance.
It was certainly more tail to the chief than hail to the chief.
Uncool, or just ghoul?
Some people started to complain on social media.
And the city’s Downtown Development Authority, a semi-public agency, opted to promote the privately run event without including McInnis’ poster.
“I understand,” McInnis said. “But it’s not like we were operating with some master plan.”
Making Trump a monster this Halloween just seemed to make sense for Halloween 2017, said McInnis, who is no fan of the president, but not a fan of Democrats either.
“These days I usually throw my vote away on some idealistic candidate who has no chance of making it,” he said.
To McInnis, even Bernie Sanders is too conventional a candidate. And so, he said, he’d have no trouble making Hillary Clinton a monster for this Halloween if she she won the election.
“Even if I loved Hillary to death — and I don’t — and somebody wanted to pay me, I would do it,” he said.
“It’s just me being as rude as I can,” he said. “It’s satire.”
He defended himself on Facebook by writing:
“Art doing what it does… living … breathing… stirring… Amongst the intelligent, it sparks rational discussions… even where disagreements lie. Amongst others it just creates ‘outrage.’ Either way… YAY ART!”
This is usually the part of the column, where the columnist complains about the coarsening of the culture, or something like that. And says that we have to be careful not to offend people who see the world differently than we do.
But I’m not going to do that. It’s not like McInnis’ artwork is being considered for the design of a new $20 bill.
“It’s thicker skin that’s missing here,” he said.
McInnis’ poster isn’t in a school textbook or paid for by tax dollars. It’s just to promote a privately run, boozy, haunted-house street party with a terror theme. And a cartoonishly terrorlike rendering of President Trump, who coined the words “American carnage” at his inauguration speech, seems to be a good fit.
Just consider this marketing of the event:
“Tension is at an all time high and society is at a breaking point. Enter one of the gates along the event site and attempt to survive amongst a street of possessed souls and predatory demons …”
It’s just some good-old-fashioned fear mongering for fun. And it’s refreshing that it doesn’t involve Muslims, Mexicans or kneeling NFL players for a change.
Oh, the horror!