“Guerilla street artist” and “Republican” are two identities not often associated with one another. Yet arguably the most subversive street artist today claims both of those labels while operating in the belly of cultural Marxism, the City of Angels.
Just last week, the citizens of Los Angeles awoke to find these posters plastered on bus stops and public benches, a parody of the new Shameless TV series that calls out the Democrat leadership for “another shameless attempt” to oust President Trump.
The man responsible for this mockery, who aspires to be “mean, nasty, and just as bad as Bill Maher,” but from a distinctly right-of-center perspective, goes by the name of Sabo, a name derived from the sabot, an instrument used in firearms to ensure the correct positioning of sub-caliber projectiles in the barrel of a weapon.
Raised in Texas and Louisiana, Sabo served in the Marine Corps before heading out to California. After working as a commercial artist for a time, he decided to pursue his passion of creating political art and began surreptitiously posting his work in public places across Los Angeles.
After a few years of remaining relatively under the radar, he started to gain wider notice with a pair of particularly provocative pieces. When Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis visited Los Angeles in 2014, she was greeted with a poster resembling an ad for a Barbie doll that read “Hollywood Welcomes Abortion Barbie.”
In early 2015, Sabo gained significant national attention for his poster of a ripped, tattooed man with Ted Cruz’s head plastered on it, cigarette trailing out of his lips, under the headline “Ted Cruz’s So-Cal ‘Blacklisted and Loving It” Tour.
In an interview with Big Dawg Media, Sabo said his admiration for Cruz’s willingness to stick it to both the Democrats and establishment Washington inspired the poster. No less a figure than Senator Cruz himself appreciated the sentiment, appearing on Fox to discuss the poster with a fake Winston Churchill tattoo on his right arm.
Sabo himself is quick to say that, although he considers himself a principled Constitutionalist, which automatically puts him in opposition to leftists, he isn’t a “cheerleader for politicians,” left or right. In an interview with Independent Journal Review, he said “I think Donald Trump is the Republican version of Obama. He’s a demagogue that’s just capitalizing on the discontent in the country.”
Although not a Trump fan, Sabo takes after the president in one area: a mantra that conservatives and Republicans need to be more provocative in combatting the left and winning the younger generation to their side. Speaking with Reason TV, Sabo says he appreciates
when someone actually goes out of their way to insult me or they have a strong opinion of what I did because that tells me there’s something successful about the piece. SO why is it important? It’s important because it’s the other side of the narrative that’s just not being spoken. And it’s important because somewheres [sic] down the line Republicans forgot, or conservatives forgot, the importance of art and the ability to push your message in a way that resonates with the youth. If you get a young person to smoke Marlboro when they’re young, pretty good chance they’re going to be smoking it when they’re old. Well, it’s the same way with politics.
For conservatives less than willing to fight for their principles in the public arena, Sabo has a sober warning: “Leftist thinking’s never going to change. It’s like, there’ll always be leftists out there. They’ll still be trying to take your guns. They’ll still be infiltrating schools. They’ll still be infiltrating Hollywood, television, music, the arts. They’re never going to go away.”
What do you think of Sabo’s tactics? Do they fall in the realm of fair play, or do they go too far?
[Image Credit: Nserrano, CC BY-SA 3.0]
Michael Leaser is an editorial associate at The Charlemagne Institute. As vice president of Cave Pictures, he produced the films Wildflower, The Ticket (starring Dan Stevens), and Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Silence. He has written 50 film and culture articles for World magazine.