Make us your home page
Instagram

St. Pete artist Chad Mize talks political graphic design

In the 2008 presidential election, artist Shepard Fairey created a propaganda-style image of Barack Obama that went so viral it became the official image of his campaign. This election, we have seen many different artists create images of Bernie Sanders, but not so much Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, unless you count derogatory memes of both.

How do you make a candidate into a viral piece of art? We asked local artist and designer Chad Mize, who has created political artwork during the past two presidential election seasons. Mize, who was raised in Bradenton, moved to St. Petersburg after spending some years in Boston. He and his then-partner, Philip Clark, created artwork and designs under the name Blue Lucy, which eventually became the name of a gallery space on the 600 block of Central Avenue.

THE ART OF POLITICS: Read more of our special report on the colors, design, movies, books, fashion and theater connected to the 2016 presidential race.

Mize closed the gallery in 2015 and started designing under the company name Chizzy. He knows a lot about images going viral; he created the now-iconic World Tour (Paris, London, Tokyo, St. Pete) T-shirt.

In the 2008 election, Fairey put out a call for artists to submit work to be considered for "Manifest Hope," an art show in Washington, D.C., during the presidential inauguration. Mize was accepted. His piece, Hope Is Dope, was also featured in two books, Designing Obama and Art for Obama.

You are a supporter of Bernie Sanders. Tell me about the first design that you created of Bernie.

The first design I did was a caricature of Bernie as a cross between Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street. I was in the car one rainy night listening to NPR and it dawned on me. ... I went home and designed it and placed it online right away. Most of my designs are done within a half-hour or so. I work direct and put them online fast. I got a great response so I decided to run a T-shirt of it, with all proceeds going towards Bernie's campaign. I raised over $1,000 from T-shirt sales and stickers.

What elements of a design make an image resonate with so many people?

For myself, I take a tongue-in-cheek approach to my political art. Usually character based. An LOL.

How do you go about getting images out to the public?

Really with today's social media you can reach beyond your own circle. And down the road you see people reposting a repost of a repost. Once you place something online, it can take it places you never knew of.

You had some problems with the Bert and Ernie mashup image being stolen and copied. How did you handle that?

There has been several times when someone used my image without permission. One guy was a Georgia Etsy user, selling a bad pixelated version without my CHIZZY signature, that had bought my design from a guy in Israel. He removed the image once I showed him proof of ownership. If I saw someone online using it to promote Bernie, I had no problem, as that is what I was doing creating the art in the first place.

You also created the "Sanders Side Eye" image, which you made into mouse pads with a Louis Vuitton-style pattern, and enamel lapel pins. What was the response to that design? I read that enamel pins are a new favorite medium for artists to get their images out in an inexpensive, accessible way.

I was approached by a company called Collaborative Goods to make the Sanders Side Eye enamel pin. They wanted to do a run with 100 percent of profits to be donated to the Sanders campaign. I had never had a pin made of my art, and it was really cool to receive the pins.

Does this body of work help your brand?

Yes, it helps with my brand. To have an inspiration like Bernie and his message is great. It allowed me something to be inspired by. And to create art with a message.

Contact Maggie Duffy at mduffy@tampabay.com.

St. Pete artist Chad Mize talks political graphic design 08/18/16 [Last modified: Thursday, August 18, 2016 3:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bar review: Les Partners Lounge goes old-school in Clearwater

    Bars & Spirits

    There are some local places that I'm shocked aren't more well known, and I think that's the result of a general aversion to stepping out of one's comfort zone. I make regular concerted efforts to step outside of mine, which often leads me to strange and rewarding drinking establishments.

    Les Partners Lounge is an old-school, smoker-friendly cocktail lounge and live music venue tucked away in a nondescript shopping plaza in Island Estates.
  2. Local craft beer of the week: Plongeur a L'eponge, Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.

    Bars & Spirits

    Tarpon Springs' Saint Somewhere Brewing Co. has a somewhat idiosyncratic approach to wild ale brewing, utilizing an open brewing approach involving uncovered fermenters in order to brew beer with local ambient microbes, reminiscent in some ways to the fermentation techniques used by rustic farmhouse breweries in Belgium …

     Plongeur a?€š€™L?ˆš??ponge, Saint Somewhere Brewing Company, 6/23/17  Electric Chair Sour Shandy, Angry Chair Brewing, 6/30/17   Pulp Friction Grapefruit IPA, Motorworks Brewing 7/7/17
  3. ‘80s acts dominate lineup of 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

    Blogs

    Oh, yes. Christmas is coming early this year to ‘80s fans in Florida. Disney’s Epcot Center has announced the lineup to its “Eat to the Beat” concert series that coincides with their annual International Food & Wine Festival.

  4. Equality Florida leader honored at Tampa U2 concert

    Briefs

    TAMPA — Equality Florida director Nadine Smith couldn't attend last week's U2 concert in Tampa, but she can tell you which of her friends had great seats for the June 14 show at Raymond James Stadium.

    Nadine Smith, Equality Florida founder and CEO, received a unique distinction last week when U2 included her in a montage of photos saluting activism and women leaders.
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 23

    Events

    Leslie Odom Jr.: A solo concert by the Broadway star who won a Tony for his performance as Aaron Burr in Hamilton. 7 p.m., Ferguson Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $35.50-$55.50. (813) 229-7827.

    Leslie Odom Jr. accepts the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical in "Hamilton"  during the 70th Annual Tony Awards  on June 12, 2016.  (Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)