By Anthony Esposito
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A massive image of U.S. President Donald Trump as an alien intruder now towers above one of the busiest roads in Mexico City urging motorists to “Make America Great Again.”
The gaudy billboard sports a caricature of Trump with a blue and red fleshless face beneath his blond hair. It went up above the two-tier inner city ring road known as the Periferico last week after failing to find takers in the United States.
Backed with an American flag, the 13-by-7 meter (43-by-23 feet) placard of a finger-pointing Trump was originally intended to adorn a U.S. city, said its creator, Chicago-based artist Mitch O’Connell.
“America is afraid to put up this tongue-in-cheek billboard,” O’Connell told Reuters by telephone. “Then Mexico came to mind because Trump started out his campaign by being cruel and mean to everyone in Mexico.”
The White House had no comment on the sign.
A real estate developer and reality TV star-turned politician, Trump sparked fury in Mexico when he launched his campaign for the presidency in 2015 with a pledge to build a massive border wall and accusations that Mexico sent rapists and drug runners across the border.
At the time, O’Connell was working on a poster for a science-fiction and horror film festival featuring John Carpenter’s 1988 cult classic ‘They Live’ about aliens living incognito among humans. That project would inspire his vision of Trump.
About four months ago, O’Connell set up a GoFundMe page to get the image onto a billboard. The campaign raised about $3,000.
He failed in some 30 attempts at pitching the arresting image in Washington, Chicago and other U.S. cities. He said he found no U.S. company “wanted to touch it because it’s political.”
In the end, the Trump billboard was placed in Mexico and will remain on display for about a month, said Jorge Alderete, an Argentine artist living in Mexico City who helped mount the billboard above the busy highway.
“With every month that passed since I did the drawing two years ago, he has become more like that crazy alien,” O’Connell said. “It seems over time he became more and more like the movie, so it became more and more appropriate over time.”
(Additional reporting by Steve Holland in Washington; editing by Dave Graham and David Gregorio)