Sabo (street artist)

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Sabo (born 1968)[1] is the pseudonym of a politically conservative street artist active in Los Angeles, California. His name derives from sabot, a device most commonly used in firearm or cannon ammunition.[2] According to a 2015 interview with Adland, Sabo had been involved in street art since 1999,[3] though he began to take his activity in the scene more seriously around 2008.[4][5][6] Sabo's works have been critical of left-wing politics (and its prominence in the entertainment industry) and the American Democratic Party, claiming that "leftism is a mental disorder."[2]

Notable works[edit]

Sabo's first work that received mainstream attention was in May 2014, where he put up posters attacking Democratic politician and then-candidate for governor of Texas Wendy Davis,[4][7] who held a thirteen-hour-long filibuster to block Senate Bill 5 (a measure which included more restrictive abortion regulations for Texas) a year prior.[8] The posters feature mostly-naked Barbie dolls with a plastic baby in her belly area and Davis' face plastered on, with the caption: "Hollywood welcomes Abortion Barbie Wendy Davis."

During the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, Sabo targeted Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party with posters (most of which were themed to Hillary's America, a 2016 political docudrama created by American conservative pundit Dinesh D'Souza) being placed at local bus stops.[9]

In December 2017, Sabo claimed credit for putting up posters (in a style heavily inspired by the works of Barbara Kruger) of actress Meryl Streep with producer Harvey Weinstein with the words "She knew" emblazoned across Streep's face, a reference to rumors that Streep had been aware that Weinstein was a serial sexual predator before the information became public. He said that he considered it retribution for Streep's role in the film The Post because he believed the film was a direct attack on Donald Trump.[10][11]

In January 2018, Sabo put up road signs around the Beverly Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles several days before the 75th Golden Globe Awards that referenced the issue of child sexual abuse in the entertainment industry.[12] In a similar stunt committed days before the 90th Academy Awards, Sabo vandalized three billboards in the Hollywood area (in a reference to nominee Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) that not only criticized celebrity-led movements like Time's Up and #MeToo, but also criticized the entertainment industry for shielding pedophiles within their ranks and highlighting the industry's hypocrisy for handling sex abuse scandals.[1][13]

Later that year, Sabo vandalized a billboard near Television City promoting the CBS series Young Sheldon into an attack of British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and Who Is America?, a Showtime television series created by Baron Cohen; Showtime is also a subsidiary of the CBS Corporation. He mocked up an image of Baron Cohen as a wounded war veteran, referencing a character he portrayed in an episode of the series, in relation to Sarah Palin's comments on the show, who claimed that Baron Cohen had interviewed her in disguise and disrespected the U.S. military by being a military impostor.[14] A similar mock advertisement for Who Is America? was found at a bus stop down the street in Fairfax Avenue, which also promoted the Wounded Warrior Project.[14]

In October 2018, Sabo vandalized a billboard promoting the 2018 Halloween film, which placed the face of Maxine Waters, a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, on Michael Myers' body, with the hashtag #uncivildemocrats also plastered on. This work was done in response to a statement Waters made encouraging people to harass President Donald Trump and his Cabinet members.[15]

In February 2019, Sabo placed mock advertisements that lampooned Jussie Smollett and the controversy of Smollett staging a hate crime against himself and making a false police report.[16] The mock advertisements make reference to the 2018 films Black Panther and BlacKkKlansman, in which Sabo uses the quote "This is MAGA Country"—the phrase Smollett told police that the perpetrators uttered—in one of the mock posters.[16]

In July 2019, he vandalized various advertisements for the Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. In a billboard located a block away from La Cienega Boulevard, for example, the title of the film was changed to Once Upon a Time in Pedowood, and the faces of the film's lead actors, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, were changed to those of convicted pedophiles Jeffrey Epstein and Roman Polanski.[17][18] Another advertisement for the film was vandalized with the face of Pitt replaced with Woody Allen.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Before his career as a street artist, Sabo was enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.[10] He studied at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California.[1][3]

In an interview with conservative newspaper The Washington Times, Sabo identifies as mixed race.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Toto, Christian (4 October 2018). "Street artist Sabo lampoons liberals: 'No one else was doing it, at least not on a brutal level'". The Washington Times. The Washington Times, LLC. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b Carroll, Rory (21 June 2017). "'I think leftism is a disorder': is this artist the rightwing Banksy?". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Search and Destroy: The art of Sabo". Adland. 5 October 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  4. ^ a b Brooks, Katherine (June 10, 2014). "Meet Sabo, The Conservative Street Artist Behind The Wendy Davis 'Barbie Art'". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  5. ^ "LA Street Artist Launches Anti-Clinton Campaign". KCBS-TV. August 29, 2016. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  6. ^ Gwynned, Stuart (December 5, 2015). "LA's Right-Wing Street Artist Sabo Strikes Again". LA Weekly. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  7. ^ Bassett, Laura (May 22, 2014). "Wendy Davis Greeted By 'Abortion Barbie' Posters In Los Angeles". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  8. ^ Ghahremani, Tanya (June 13, 2013). "Texas Senator Wendy Davis' 13-Hour Filibuster Successfully Beats Abortion Bill". Complex. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  9. ^ Bond, Paul (July 17, 2016). "Conservative Street Artist Slams Hillary Clinton, Democrats in Artwork Outside GOP Convention". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
  10. ^ a b Carroll, Rory (20 December 2017). "Rightwing artist put up Meryl Streep 'she knew' posters as revenge for Trump". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  11. ^ Han, Angie (December 6, 2017). "The reviews are in and critics absolutely adore Steven Spielberg's 'The Post'". Mashable. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  12. ^ "The right-wing street artist trying to troll Hollywood". Vice News. January 5, 2018. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  13. ^ Bond, Paul (February 28, 2018). "Street Artist Erects Three Billboards Over Hollywood: 'Oscar for Biggest Pedophile Goes To ...'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  14. ^ a b Bond, Paul (July 16, 2018). "Sacha Baron Cohen Criticized for "Stolen Valor" on Hijacked Billboard Near CBS Offices". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  15. ^ Bond, Paul (October 19, 2018). "'Halloween' Billboard Hijacked to Target Maxine Waters". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Bond, Paul (18 February 2019). "John Oliver, Jussie Smollett Criticized in Hijacked Billboard, L.A. Street Art". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media, LLC. Retrieved 20 May 2019.
  17. ^ "Tarantino Billboards Hijacked in L.A. to Slam Epstein, Polanski and "Pedowood"". Hollywood Reporter. July 26, 2019.
  18. ^ a b "L.A. artist explains why he defaced Tarantino billboard with Epstein cutout". Los Angeles Times. July 26, 2019.

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