Lisa Frank releases the Donald Trump Collection
In which Lisa Frank gets whiskey drunk.
SEATTLE — Lisa Frank, adolescent pop culture icon, made waves Saturday morning unveiling her new Don(phin) Trump Collection at Seattle Aquarium’s dolphin exhibit. The eight images, an entangled mesh of rainbows, unicorns and clouds, all depict President Donald Trump’s likeness.
“Things have been pretty quiet for me since 1997,” Frank explained to AT. “At this point the idea of latching onto something reasonably topical, that still allows me to slather mythical creatures and smiling cats of prey, sounds like a plan.”
While pointing at a Velcro-latched binder, she added, “This fucker costs $19.95. I pull a 20% commission through Target and Walmart sales. Can you believe that? I was making 7 cents a sale on folders with pictures of unicorns square-dancing in the same room as smiling panda bears twenty years ago. I make a buck a sale on these. I guess I must have really liked passing gas that smelled like Ramen because, in hindsight, it looks like that was a personal choice on my part.”
Frank’s new line of topically-political school folders and stationary, components of her current marketing push entitled “Fuck it — I guess,” depict various controversial political figures pieced together with portions of her previous art.
“I was fucking around on news.ycombinator one day looking for an article I saw the day before about staying focused and being an artist or some (stuff), then I saw this link about using DeepDream to apply individual picture styles to output images,” Frank said. “Then it hit me. Why don’t I just move to Colorado, purchase marijuana at the weed store and re-purpose my old art into pictures of hot button figures to make a few bucks?”
Little did Frank realize, this small idea would balloon into something much larger.
Utilizing the power of convoluted neural networks (CNN), Frank began to create a complex portfolio of Donald Trump likenesses. Initially, these were created using only her own previous art.
As Frank’s familiarity with the neural network, and the process behind applying individual pictures’ style to pictures of Donald Trump, increased: Lisa began to span outward to more progressive styles of representing the president.
When asked about her inspiration behind her later works in the DJT Collection, Frank stated, “Profound amounts of whiskey.” Her depictions of our 45th president become markedly darker after the initial rainbow patterns and flower/cloud clusters, which make up the majority of her first works, fade into a more dystopian and despondent message.
“I guess it was around the halfway mark of my third bottle of Ezra Brooks and my fourth jar of pickle brine when it hit me: why am I using my cheerful previous art to force a computer brain to draw this bumbling shit-juggler?”
Frank, who radiated of whiskey breath, continued, “Why not use horrific things? Because this? Our present situation? Is fucking horrific and I don’t think anyone has a grasp on how to address this. Classic Republicans are grinning nervously with a ‘Ta-da!’ face while their flagship takes a shit on the fancy dining room table — and Classic Centrist Democrats keep staring at this gnarled rope of total disregard for a political system both parties supposedly love saying, ‘Oh, he’s done it now! This’ll be the end of him!’
“And that? I don’t know. That just kind of resonated with me. I’ve been lit since mid-November so that may have something to do with it, but I’ve had a lot of time to think about outside interference, the perils of a two-party system and how identity politics got us to this point through 24-hour news networks. Oh, and how Clinton’s 1996 Telecommunications Act signing caused literally all of this unintentionally. At some point you’re just like, ‘Do I really want to draw a smiling tiger riding on the back of a unicorn winking on top of a waterfall with fish giving the thumbs up under a sun that’s fucking — I don’t know, jerking sunlight onto everyone?'”
Frank took a deep drink from a half-full bottle of Ezra Brooks, chased it with a gulp of Vlassic pickle brine, and continued, “So I just got really fucked up one night and figured, ‘What if I see if this network can make a Trump out of veins?’
“And it worked out pretty well. I didn’t expect that and, at least as an artist, it really opened up a lot of new venues for me to express my total and absolute disgust with both the leader of our country and the awkward coagulation of clapping assholes that surround him. It was sort of like ‘The Awakening’ for me only instead of stripping naked and walking into the ocean: I got whiskey-drunk and made pictures of Trump out of [Hieronymus] Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ to see what that would look like.”
This trend became progressively intense for Frank as she became, in her words, “progressively fucked up over the course of a two week bender.”
“I think what I spent the most time on,” Frank recalled, “was trying to make Donald Trump out of a picture consisting only of prosthetic phallus images. I literally wanted to create a picture of our president out of a pile of dicks.
“That didn’t come out great, but it was a milestone for me as an artist. I felt like I was moving on a little bit and that, just maybe, we were going to be alright as a country.”
Frank explained that she may continue this departure from her previously established artistic theme while effortlessly clearing the remaining third of whiskey from her bottle of Ezra Brooks. She briefly held her hand over her chest after swallowing, appeared to concentrate while breathing noticeably slower and then cleared the remaining portions of Vlassic pickle brine from a jar of Classic Kosher Spears.
“I just (…) I don’t feel like waterfalls and oceans and dolphins and tigers and pandas any longer, you know? There’s this dark cloud over the horizon and it’s heavy like a mesocyclone over the entirety of Kansas on a hot day of convection storms. The sort of day that makes national news and a woman in a ‘Space Jam’ shirt explains exactly what sort of train the damage focus sounded like. We can’t escape it. It won’t resolve. Six months from now, we’ll either be agreeing across the aisle that what just happened should never happen again — or we’ll be cleaning the blood of our neighbor off the makeshift ceramic kitchen knife bayonet we strapped onto our grandfather’s Winchester with duct tape. I can’t tell you which one I think it’ll be. Fuck me. Fuck us.”
Lisa Frank’s Donald Trump Collection is available as folders, stationary, planners and rolling paper at participating Walmart, Target and Dollar General stores.