After a couple of years hiatus, Los Angeles-based street artist and political satirist Robbie Conal is back!
Back like how?
“I’m back. That’s all,” he tells us.
On Tuesday night, Conal and his band of merry mischief-makers hoped to paper D.C. with political posters. They planned to meet at 9:30 p.m. at the 14th Street Busboys and Poets. There, Conal planned to teach the kids guerilla etiquette, which boils down to be careful, be quick, be polite and don’t run. He couldn’t tell HOH where the volunteers would be targeting their postering.
“Since I am a visitor from the left coast, I wouldn’t presume to tell people from Washington, who are so wonderful to do this with us, where they think [the posters will] be the funniest,” he says.
“D.C. — for the kind of satire that I do — is the golden fishbowl. I don’t have to explain who these people are,” he says. “I’m thrilled to be here.”
Conal tells us that he has been practicing this kind of street art in the District since 1987 and never knows just how many volunteers he’ll get.
“It’s always a festival,” Conal says. “This is the only part of life where anarchy really works.”
He expects his merry band of poster pranksters will get about 200 posters up around town over night.
“Probably upside down,” he laughs.
One poster is a black and white image of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) — whose last name Conal pronounced incorrectly — with the words “Wealth Care” framing his cross-eyed image.
The second poster, “Big Fish Eat Little Fish,” features a picture of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Morgan Stanley Chairman John Mack and Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan being attacked by a giant Pacific octopus while testifying in front of Congress.
“That’s an actual picture,” Conal explains. “I paid for the rights.”
Since the major investment banks are putting so many people under water, he says, he chose to place the four men and all of Congress under water.
The image shows the octopus with one tentacle in Blankfein’s wallet, one tentacle about to punch Dimon in the face, a third tentacle down Mack’s pants and a forth tentacle about to strangle Moynihan. The sea creature is “making a fist and giggling.”
(And conspiracy theorists this is your cue to start harping on about the secret octopus society that is controlling everything.)
Still, wouldn’t it be delicious for the group to paper the Hill so lawmakers could see it?
“It’s all delicious,” Conal says. “[In D.C.], you can count on everybody seeing everything. [Boehner] is not exactly my people. That’s perfectly clear. [The posters] are really for everybody else.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., walks on Broadway after a Future Forum with young entrepreneurs in the Flatiron District of New York City, April 16, 2015. Reps. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Grace Meng, D-N.Y., also attended.