Every morning I’d wake up a little more pressed than the morning before. What would they shut off first, the water, the gas, the internet, electricity, would this be the day the landlord posted a ‘get the hell out of my property’ notice on my door. Six months behind on the rent. Yes, apparently that was somehow possible.
By then I didn’t have much of a relationship with food. Couldn’t really afford to. Not that I wanted one. I joked I could survive on a can of ravioli a day. That with what little I could scrounge at the local AA meeting. They were good for a donut, chips, cookies and coffee. Then I had the occasional lunch or dinner compliments of my sponsor.
Sounds desperate I know but I’d never been happier. Hadn’t been laid in a year, lived in a shit hole, broke as all hell, but I was happy. Pressed but happy.
I swear I was a day or two from having to give up the place and move in with a brother who might as well have hated me. He thought I sucked because all I did was play with stupid posters when I should be looking for a job. That would have been hell.
Then out of left field a phone call from someone I’d never met wanting help putting up their poster. They’d seen one of my DRONE posters on the street and wondered who I was. Through mutual friends they’d managed to get a hold of a friend of mine who helped to set up a meeting.
They showed me the art, “SUB PAR” … Obama golfing. A great concept, simple, powerful. The Masters were having a tournament in the coming weeks and they wanted to greet the public with these posters around the event. They asked if I could put it out on the street. I did all the creative math in my head and offered to produce and put out this poster for them for $2,000. Under normal circumstances, with my inability to ask my worth, I’d of asked for 2 – 3 hundred dollars but my back was so firmly, financially pressed up against the wall I had no choice but to throw up that number. … and to my shock they said yes. THEY SAID YES! I’d be able to pay some utilities, rent, get some food. Fuck sakes they said yes.
In retrospect I’m fairly certain they were making anywhere from 5 to 15k on the hit so 2k for me wouldn’t have been too much of a problem I guess.
Turns out they were trying to impress a conservative advertising agency in hopes of them creating a ‘black works’ department that specifically handled guerrilla street art. The problem was at the time they didn’t exactly have the skills to pull it off so they contacted me.
I have to think their hopes were to nail down a political client they could represent the way Shepard Fairy did with Obama. At the time all I knew was I had a couple of bucks to eat and pay some bills. So I got to work.
I’m not deliberately leaving out the name of the artist who created this design, I just don’t know it. Fact of the matter is if he’s reading this he’s probably pissed that I’m including it on my website. To which I can only say, “take a number” … pissing people off seems to be my thing. :/
By the time I got done with the art my entire apartment was covered in red spray paint. I made a mess. All these years later there’s still red paint on the window frames.
So it seems in Ted Cruz they had their political client for their budding black bag creative agency they were dreaming of. However there was a problem, Sabo created the art, Sabo is attached at the hip to it. How do we get rid of Sabo? And this is where my heart gets broken.
One in their group opted to paint me an anti-semite and a racist, which I guess they were welcome to do, they wouldn’t be the first. So I lost my mind. I told them to pound sand and I went my own way taking the Ted Cruz design with me.
And it all started with this Sub-Par poster. For years before I’d struggled and worked for nothing. Just to “get up” on the street. I’d create political posters, post them on the street, the photos and post them online. These guys, this group handed me the next key, submitting to publication and from their … so far … I’ve not only been able to catch up on my bills and be able to gain a few pounds, I manage to support my wife as well. And it somewhat started with this poster. 😉
I can’t thank those guys enough. Sad we had a bit of a falling out.