Steven Heller is the co-chairman of the MFA Design program at the School of Visual Arts. (Full biography.)Although Ron Paul may be mathematically out of contention for the Republican nomination, from what I can tell, he has inspired more do-it-yourself campaign graphics than any of the leading contenders from either party.

Ron Paul Revolution

In addition to the stickers and buttons produced by his campaign, the Web is full of independent artists and designers — professional and amateur alike — who have contributed unofficial graphics to what is known among his supporters as the “Ron Paul Revolution.” (See banksyforum.com, isupportronpaul.com, libertyposter.org, voteronpaul.com and zazzle.com.)

Ron Paul Poster

What is intriguing about this fervent grassroots response is how graphic styles designed to appeal to a youthful constituency have been built around Representative Paul’s grandfatherly appearance. Even some of the stylized poster portraits look more like those found on souvenir T-shirts commemorating someone’s retirement, or “the world’s best dad,” than a political icon. Nonetheless the passion behind such an outpouring of good, bad and kitschy art and design cannot be ignored. So I tracked down a few of the artists and asked them to explain their work.

Derek Shumate posterCourtesy of Derek Shumate

Derek Shumate, an artist and graphic designer from Houston, produced a stenciled, spray-painted, all-text poster. Mr. Shumate told me that his enthusiasm for Representative Paul’s campaign triggered what he calls “subversive imagery and action.” He explained that his street art aesthetic was the best approach because it could reach more people than traditional materials.

“I’m also big into handmade goods,” he added. “I think that they are more genuine and touching.”

This stencil and spray paint method is commonly used by guerrilla poster makers to advertise performances, say, by a punk rock band. But Mr. Shumate insists his poster was not targeted toward any particular group. “I just wanted to make a big, bold and unique image so that when people catch a glimpse of it, they can’t ignore it.”

Mr. Shumate’s design scheme is actually an alternative spin on conventional campaign posters, but photographer Dave Lamarand’s more refined photographs of his pregnant wife with the slogan “Ron Paul for Her Future” drawn on her belly and a man with two automatic pistols tucked into his pants, with the words “Ron Paul” and “Right to Bear Arms” on his forearms, is more daring.

Dave Lamarand photo
right to bear armsCourtesy of Dave Lamarand

Mr. Lamarand says he was inspired by Ron Paul’s message of limited government and has done everything possible to help spread the word. About the pregnant image, he explains, “I felt that parents would be able to relate.” And about the “right to bear arms” photo, he notes, “I wanted to have someone armed, but also look respectable to show that it’s not crazy or wrong in any way to own guns.”

Mr. Lamarand, who lives in St. Clair Shores, Mich., also helped create a 50-foot, handpainted Tyvek sign with the slogan “Ron Paul Revolution” (where the letters “evol” are reversed to read “love”). The sign was hung across overpasses outside of Detroit.

Another of Ron Paul’s army of artists is Atlanta painter Randy Blain, who has produced a number of highly detailed limited edition prints for the “cause.” In response to what he called the “propaganda machine against Ron Paul,” he decided to make illustrations based on vignettes of American history and produced a “counter-propaganda piece.” His “Liberty’s Shield” poster is copied from a World War One poster.

Talking about the network of artists working for Representative Paul, Mr. Blain says, “We are a bunch of like-minded individuals, who care about the virtues of freedom and liberty, and what that means to the continued success of America. The grassroots knew it was up against a propaganda campaign set squarely against us. We knew our job was to break that stranglehold and what better weapon than art, music, video and media distribution?”

Video

so even though i dont have an xbox or ps3 or wii right now im still pretty excited about the new GTA that is coming out next month. i do know someone that has one so i might have to make the shitty seabus trip out to his crib. action packed with explosions, hoes, guns, money and drugs, GTA IV looks like something that i would never finish but play again and again wasting time instead of doing school work…

i did manage to set up my roomates new/used tv. it’s bigger than our last one… pretty amazing infact. old TVs are SO BIG. not only is the screen large the fricken backside is HUGE!!! i was surprised it fit onto our tiny TV stand. once i hooked that up i set up the sega and played some NBA jam. i realized why i never really got into sport games, because i sucked at the game unless it was on the easiest mode. now get me hooked up with some RPGs and it’s on. shouts out to FFVII!

so a couple hits of a blunt and half a pizza later the soundtrack for NBA jam was driving me crazy. had to turn it off and watch zodiac. pretty weird to think about those people who kill for whatever reason and get away with it never to be found. id say thats impressive. sick and scary, but impressive.