Art

Donald Trump Is Behind Bars in a New Billboard on Grand Avenue

Imagining "Don The Con" behind bars on Grand Avenue in Phoenix.
Imagining "Don The Con" behind bars on Grand Avenue in Phoenix. Lynn Trimble
click to enlarge Imagining "Don The Con" behind bars on Grand Avenue in Phoenix. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Imagining "Don The Con" behind bars on Grand Avenue in Phoenix.
Lynn Trimble
There’s a new Trump-themed billboard design on Grand Avenue in Phoenix. The billboard pictures Donald Trump wearing an orange jumpsuit, standing behind prison bars. He's sporting a red clip-on name tag that reads Don The Con.

It went up today, just days after the Electoral College vote that made President-elect Joe Biden’s election official.

click to enlarge Check out the fresh Trumpocalypse design on Grand Avenue. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Check out the fresh Trumpocalypse design on Grand Avenue.
Lynn Trimble
The design was created by Karen Fiorito, a California-based artist who has done several previous pieces in the space. Her Trumpocalypse billboard featuring Trump flanked by dollar signs resembling swastikas and nuclear mushroom clouds was installed in March 2017.

“The first design reflected my fears of a Trump administration,” she says. “This one is my hope of what will happen afterwards; it’s pretty aspirational.”


The billboard is part of the Grand Avenue Billboard Project, which is headed by Beatrice Moore, an artist and historic preservation advocate who owns several properties on Grand Avenue.

“It was only a temporary thing,” Fiorito says of the initial design, which was modified at one point by locals who added a red half-dome resembling a clown nose to Trump’s face.

click to enlarge The initial design for Karen Fiorito's Trumpocalypse billboard  in downtown Phoenix. - LYNN TRIMBLE
The initial design for Karen Fiorito's Trumpocalypse billboard in downtown Phoenix.
Lynn Trimble
The initial design drew a lot of attention, and death threats against the artist. "We had no idea it would go viral," Moore recalls of the widespread reaction to the piece.

More recently, Michael “Oaks” Wright and Ruben Gonzales created a Trump death clock, and installed it below the mural as a way to show the rising number of COVID-19 deaths occurring on Trump’s watch.

For a time, Fiorito played with other ideas for the final look. “We decided to keep it simple and not be too inflammatory," she says of working with Moore.

click to enlarge Throwback to the June 2020 installation for Karen Fiorito's voting-themed design. - LYNN TRIMBLE
Throwback to the June 2020 installation for Karen Fiorito's voting-themed design.
Lynn Trimble
The latest billboard follows a June 2020 makeover. That’s when Fiorito covered the initial Trumpocalypse art with a voting-themed design, hoping it would inspire more people to head to the polls.

She’s actually created designs for the opposite side of the billboard, as well. The first included the word “unity” spelled in American Sign Language. In June, she covered that artwork with a piece addressing police brutality.

Both sides of the billboard will get new artwork in February, so the Trump-behind-bars iteration will only be on view for about six weeks. “We wanted to do something to celebrate the election,” she says. “We’re ready to say goodbye to Trump.”
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble