Pop Artist Ed King Takes Political Stance With GOP Campaign Posters in "Republic Enemy"

Ed King was a pop artist for 13 years, having made a name for himself in the art world with his bright and vibrant pieces.

King has years of experience including stints as a design and video editing instructor at the Miami Ad School, Art Director at Transmission Graphic Design, and Creative Director of his own business Ed King Pop Art. Currently, he's Creative Content Manager and Cooperative Marketing Coordinator at ArtServe, Fort Lauderdale.

His foray into the world of political art, however, was several years back when he took a job with Adkins and Associates in Coral Gables. There, as part of the team, he helped create strategies and formulate the messaging for Democratic communication.

“If Trayvon Martin is killed or Michael Brown... they would always find a reason to strip the humanity out of the conversation and take it away from those people and their families.”

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Eventually, due to the effectiveness of his work, Republicans began contacting King to help strategize and win campaigns. King worked on everything from school board and mayoral campaigns to the State Senate and became a political junkie.

“You get a unique perspective when you’re inside the room, about how they communicate to the public,” says King.

Over the years, he has built up some very strong opinions about the nature of our political dialogue and found the legislative track record of our country “infuriating.”

King’s current showcase, “Republic Enemy,” is composed of black and white images that take aim at the Republican Party through slogans, quotes, and published political analysis.

According to King, these words and phrases all come from the real life drama that is our country’s current political state, noting that he has never seen anything like the Donald Trump rallies in modern American politics.

“They are literally punching and spitting at people at these rallies,” says King.

King watches the debates closely between our country’s potential future leaders in attempts to shed light on these injustices firsthand.

“If Trayvon Martin is killed or Michael Brown, even if [Republicans] don’t set policy over those local views, they would always find a reason to strip the humanity out of the conversation and take it away from those people and their families,” says King. And this is just one issue. “Hearing American politician and Republican Rand Paul say that he would oppose the Civil Rights Act, I am passionately against every single word.”
When questioned about whether this political stance would alienate his pop art fans and cause him to lose money for his new pieces, King responded that it wasn’t about the money, but about the message.

“I spent the last thirteen years making a mountain of money on happy images,” says King. “But I don’t want to continue doing things this way; I want to have a voice. There is no profit motive. Nothing is for sale. There is no cost. My number one goal is to engender passion in people.”

“I spent the last thirteen years making a mountain of money on happy images. But I don’t want to continue doing things this way; I want to have a voice."

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What King says he is concerned about is whether we as a people are going to elect a candidate that will put a stop to gay rights or the disenfranchisement of voting rights. King questions if we will elect people who support the removal of portions of the Civil Rights Acts that were struck down by SCOTUS (The Supreme Court of the United States).

“I'm not afraid of losing buyers when this is going on right now. This is real, and it's happening in our America,” says King.

“Elections are about a choice that’s right in front of you,” says King. “These guys want a theocracy; they want the church to run our government.” King voices his belief that Republicans plan to take away the Department of Education, the one thing that will lead to the education and the empowerment of people. “It’s time for me to make art. But I'm sorry. I can’t make bright, happy art anymore. I have to punch these guys back in the face.”

King will also be printing stickers, postcards, and posters in order to make them available to the public anywhere in the United States — for free. It is important to him that any person has access to his artwork no matter where they are. King is also in talks about working on a lecture series with a few museums and colleges. King continues to do work that aligns with his goal; that this information reaches people and that they are able to see the real quotes and read real political analysis before they vote.

“It’s not just about inciting negativity,” said King. “But it is 100 percent about showing them the real GOP.”

King currently has six of his campaign posters on view through May 30 at the Amadlozi Gallery at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center located at 6161 NW 22nd Ave., Miami.
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