Owner of Phoenix Trump billboard: It will stay up as long as Trump is president

A menacing Donald Trump is gazing down on Phoenix's Grand Avenue.

The president is flanked by mushroom clouds and swastikas configured like dollar signs.

"I think a lot of people are feeling this way and I'm just trying to express what I think is on a lot of people's minds these days," the billboard's artist, Karen Fiorito, said Friday in an interview from her California home.

"Something that really concerned us was this idea of a dictatorship where things were going in a certain direction."

But look closely at the mushroom clouds and you'll see clown faces. There's a Russian flag on Trump's lapel.

"I tried to put a little bit of humor in things that are really dark and hard to take," Fiorito said.

The billboard art was commissioned by the billboard owner, Beatrice Moore, a longtime patron of the arts on Grand Avenue.

"Some of these issues are so important you can't not speak out," Moore said in an interview.

The Trump billboard went up Friday at 11th Avenue and Grand, to coincide with the start of the annual three-day Art Detour event in downtown Phoenix. Moore said it would remain up as long as Trump is president. 

This isn't the first time Fiorito and Moore put up controversial billboard art.

In 2004, Fiorito created a billboard of President George W. Bush and top government officials for her master of fine arts thesis on political propaganda at Arizona State University.

"Dear America," the billboard said, "we lied to you for your own good. Now trust us."

Moore and Fiorito do expect blowback from Trump supporters.

"I just hope that everyone involved in helping bring this message out is safe and that we all get through this unharmed," Fiorito said.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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