Thomas O'Hanlon came to St. Helens to chew bubblegum and put up a billboard—and he's all out of bubblegum.
The founder of Progressive Alliance of Columbia County has successfully raised the funds to put up a satirical anti-Trump billboard along Highway 30 inspired by John Carpenter's They Live.
The image, which will go up next month, depicts President Donald Trump as one of the skull-faced aliens from the 1988 sci-fi classic—which stars the late Portland wrestling legend "Rowdy" Roddy Piper— along with the words "Vote, Obey."
In the movie, the aliens infiltrate the U.S. and attempt to brainwash and manipulate the population in a quest for world domination— further proof that B-movies deserve a lot more credit for their prophetic social commentary.
The art was created by Mitch O'Connell, who created a similar design for a horror movie festival that advertised in Times Square in 2015. Since then, the image itself has developed something of a cult following, showing up on shirts and signs at protests, and winning Cover of the Year from the Scottish Magazine Awards after it graced the front of a U.K. magazine.
O'Hanlon came across the image after it was tweeted by Carpenter himself:
"I recognized where the parody came from and thought it was a creative and quirky approach to political satire," he says. "I felt, what better place to put one of those billboards up than in my own community of St. Helens, Ore., where we're also known as Halloweentown?"
He then reached out to O'Connell on Facebook, who readily agreed to put up another billboard in St. Helens and offered to reconfigure the design's dimensions. Once O'Halon had the artists on board, he launched a crowdsourcing campaign to display O'Connell's art through the month of October.
The fundraiser quickly surpassed its $1,000 goal and raised enough money for the billboard to go up a month early. Now, it'll be on display from Sept. 17 through Nov. 11, to coincide with both Halloween and the election.
So far, O'Hanlon has mostly received positive feedback on the plan—he's even been contacted by people in other cities looking to get their own They Live-style anti-Trump billboard.
But O'Hanlon is aware that once the billboard goes up, there are likely to be some people who won't appreciate the parody.
"I do anticipate some pushback due to the nature of the billboard and living in a more conservative rural community," he says. "But overall, the billboard has received an overwhelming amount of support, and hopefully by having this billboard on display, it'll inspire creative expression and encourage more people to get involved with politics."