revolution Art Offensive
The morning of November 9, 2016, many people woke up with a horrible hangover stemming from the results of America's craziest election.
For whatever reason, I wasn't one of them. I realized that the most important thing I could do was not give in to despair, and help others not buckle under what was a shocking reality to confront.
The most overt action I took was rallying artists. Creative people are often overlooked for their contributions to political life but when the chips are down, they know how to inspire action. I hoped that by tapping artists–pros and amateurs, adults and children–we could get ahead of Trump's message of hate, xenophobia, protectionsim and cynicism, while beating back the ennui that I saw grip people as soon as the election was called. Any single person who wasn't rendered moribund by the new Trumpian reality would become crucial in getting a cogent resistance movement off the ground quickly, and even our tiny offerings would be of service for what was going to be a helluva fight.
In a completely ad hoc fashion, I started our little art collective. Each artist* picked a cause that directly confronted the policies of Trumpistan, and his or her design raised money for them. That way artists contributed talent but not actual cash, which for artists, writers, musicians, is important since most of us are broke; the agencies who were going to become desperately important in this new landscape similarly benefited from visibility and money.
Revolution Art Offensive was one of the best ideas I've ever followed through with, and I thank all of the artists who ponied up time, designs, and enthusiasm as well as all the people who bought them, shared them, or believed that we were on the side of righteousness in a dark moment.
*There were scads of other people who aided our quixotic battles from the start, including most especially my old high school friend Megan DiLullo who is now my partner-in-business; she's not an artist but she's done everything for us from modeling, book-keeping, talent recruitment, social media guru, and slogan generator. She's been magical.
Go to my THANKS page to read about all the other people who have been a party to this project.
This was my – and RAO's – first design, which was so early in our creation that we didn't even have the name "Revolution Art Offensive" yet.
It was our first offering, with all proceeds going toward NARAL Pro-Choice America. It also became our logo which came in handy: when I would get trolled on social media, I would sic my little rooster on them, block them, and then report them.
Our second offering was a big hit, and you can see why: In December of 2016 women nationwide were beginning to understand the profound threat that was looming at the inauguration.
E. Marie's painting spoke to that recognition, and people bought it up. Funds for Planned Parenthood, it's one of our most successful designs.
"Love Is Love," by Jennifer McIlhenny.
Jen was an early enthusiast, and made three different designs for RAO over time. This one raised money for the crucially important Trevor Project as it became clear early on that LGBTQ–and transgender children especially–were a target of the new administration.
Jen's design raised over a thousand dollars.
Even though we all had been kicked in the teeth a hundred times by 2016, it just kept stomping us. Stealing Carrie Fisher from us in its last week was cruel, heartless and altogether unforgivable.
It's a lovely tribute to Our Lady of the Rebellion.
Danny Bland is–among many other things–an author of several books of poetry, and he ponied up this great haiku to raise funds for Planned Parenthood.
Because Planned Parenthood is under even greater threat in rural states, we donated half of the funds to a local chapter, PP Great Plains. Another great success for us; thanks, Danny!
Ted McCagg is a cartoonist who we begged for a design. We thought he'd throw us one of his wonderful and droll cartoons, but instead he gave us this and we could not love it more.
Because "Deep State" became this insane code word for some conspiracy, we decided to throw the proceeds to Lawfare, a national security policy wonk page, which is doing amazing, deep dive analysis on our current political disaster.
My partner Megan saw this drawing on Instagram and realized it would be a great shirt. Approaching them was a joy because they were SO EXCITED to be a part of a campaign that really meant something to them: their son is transgender.
They chose the suicide prevention hotline Trevor Project for the proceeds, and this was one of our most successful funding endeavors. Thanks so much, Milo! You made a huge difference.
I designed this cheeky but relevant slogan as a response to the extreme prejudice the Trump administration leveled on women, attacking our reproductive healthcare with particular venom.
We raised money for the Emma Goldman Clinic in Iowa as a direct rebuke to Iowa's Rep. Steve "White Nationalist" King who didn't even wait for the inauguration to put forth #HR 490, a bill designed to materially gut abortion rights nationwide.
We love Emma Goldman Clinic. We really dislike Steve King.
The second of our RAO, Jr. offerings, "No Jim Crow" was designed by a 12-year-old kid, which just goes to show you that there's hope for our future. Another example of the young being smarter than our leaders.
Funds go to Southern Poverty Law Center.
We lucked into this offering from Tara Ollis because old writer-friends thought we might be interested in it.
The answer was "Yes."
The Handmaid's Tale is all of us, all the time now, but "Don't Let the Bastardes Grind You Down," a la Margaret Atwood and her eerily prescient book. When the show came out, it was a special bit of synchronicity.
Funded NARAL, Pro-Choice America.
Another wordsmith collaboration, Rich Ferguson gave us this sweet poem for Love and Rescue, an animal welfare organization that was tasked with massive rescues after Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston and Texas.
Was it the big mouth? The tiny little hands? I can't remember any longer, but I know this: as soon as I realized that our president was actually a tyrant, I knew I had to make this into a design.
Hand drawn with loathing, this one supports Swing Left, a fund to flip vulnerable GOP seats in the House (and I believe they're moving on a couple seats in the Senate now.)
Just about the third or fourth month of this clown ride, it became clear to me that we were looking at a special level of corruption.
I drink my coffee with treason most mornings as I read the news.