Artist’s longtime emblem gets Trumped

Press Release #16

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16 Mar. 2017

Artist’s emblem gets Trumped

Long before Donald J. Trump was even a presidential candidate, artist Terry Ward designed a personal emblem with a lower case letter T upon an upside-down spade symbol. The artist’s entirely-not-Trump-related “t-spade” sticker-tags appeared on Chelsea’s “EverTaggedWall” (at 520 West 22nd St --the Comme Des Garcons shop site) and also in the Bushwick mural district. It has also sometimes gone on the backs of the artist’s paintings. But now the artist’s old emblem simply has to go.

A (legal) sticker-tag with the emblem in Chelsea, circa 2015

It isn’t graffiti-busting NYPD personnel making the t-spade go away. “I do my street art including sticker-tags legally,” the artist said. “They only go up where they have permission.” Instead, public confusion about whether they signify some sort of Trump support is prompting the change.

The artist's old emblem, Trumped away in 2017

“There’s hate --real, genuine scorn-- from the art world toward anything to do with Trump,” the artist said. “Even though my old emblem actually wasn’t Trump-ey at all, it could have been mistaken for that and I’ve been getting some unfounded enmity.” Many people don’t say they’re reacting, the artist said; however, “you get mysteriously unfriended on Facebook or some possible clients scatter if they feel you might not be right with the Party Line.” Ward said that the circa 2009 t-spade design was mostly a cartographic play-on-words because the artist’s art-storage site is located near a landmark with spade in its name.

The t-spade on the Chelsea EverTaggedWall

“It was also a private personal joke because I was feeling small and powerless: spade sounds the same as spayed,” Ward said. The artist added, “A small, lower-case T and an inverted spade was a subtle way to say ‘Terry is spayed, neutered, powerless.’”

Ward sometimes uses the street alias GrumpyVisualArtist --as when painting New York City’s largest legal street art roof mural at the invitation of The Bushwick Collective in 2015. GrumpyVisualArtist did indeed wax grumpy while pondering the situation. “It stinks to have my emblem mistaken for something political and to need to junk it,” Ward said. “(air quotes) ’Thanks a lot,’ President Trump.”

Artist and emblem, circa early 2015

In the grumpily-released 2017 replacement emblem, the playing-cards symbols persist: now a club is the dominant shape. Upon it, a large capital W tilts at a precisely-aligned angle. “It’s meant to look like it just won’t ever fit in the center,” Ward said. Thus, as in the old “spayed” T emblem, self-deprecation will be a theme again. “I’m still not gallery-represented and I tend to feel left out,” the artist said. “So, the little private joke this time is: W still doesn’t fit in the ‘club.’”

The artist's post-Trump modified emblem

Lest there be any new confusion, the W stands for Ward rather than for a certain recent past president. "Yo, it's not political," the artist said.

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A t-spade artist emblem on a 2015 sticker-tag on 520 West 22 nd

The artist points to a t-spade emblem (legally placed)

Another t-spade appearance in Chelsea

The Terry Ward / GrumpyVisualArtist pre-Trump t-spade emblem

The artist's post-Trump modified emblem:

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