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Date Minted:  July 8, 2020

Artist Description: "Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX? That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!" – Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump · Jul 6 [Fort Meyers, FL] A raging mask debate during a Gulf Coast Town Center Costco yelling incident was captured on video June 27 and went viral Monday night with almost 10 million views. The tirade appears to have cost the man his job. A man wearing a red, “Running the world since 1776” T shirt, dark shorts and flip flops was seen yelling “I feel threatened!” and “Back up! Back the (expletive) up and put your (expletive) phone down!” He glared at the camera after a female shopper had asked him to comply with Costco’s mask policy at Gulf Coast Town Center in south Fort Myers. Another man took out his cell phone camera and captured the yelling. . . . GIF 2020 × 2020px 2020 (638323) 

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

I was pretty astonished to find that this piece,  ↃON, was minted many months before the January 6th insurrection upon the U.S. Capitol. While I understand that the imagery here depicts the White House and not the actual Capitol building, it was still so strange to see a host of anarchic riot police lorded over by the former President Donald Trump and not find myself staring at an insurrection association. But perhaps the further past is always pushed away by the loudest event thereafter. Indeed, now that I’m thinking about it, I can place myself back in that July of 2020 when this piece was minted, those weeks after George Floyd was murdered, and relive the police brutality I saw —we all saw— advertised again and again on social media, at the protests we attended, in the videos of our friends. In Boston. In Los Angeles. In Minneapolis. And, of course, the famed day that U.S. Military operators were summoned by the president so he could have a photo-op in front of a nearby church. The lack of humanity. The callousness. The dedication to uniform over country. One can understand why the dominant color palette of Tommy’s ↃON is red. Bright red background, bright red skin, and splashes of red —like blood— splattered over the highest theoretical office in the land. Tommy is angry all right. But that’s kind of his MO.

Artist in Residence at Bitcoin Magazine, Tommy constantly squeezes his own political opinions into crypto art frames. One gets the sense of a deep nihilistic rage as we scroll through his Superrare oeuvre. Rage at Trump. Rage at conservatism. Rage at Justin Trudeau. Rage at Biden. Rage at all the political powers that be, and that rage is communicated with a few tell-tale features. First, characters are drawn as caricatures, cartoonish and exaggerated. Second, Tommy’s art style includes a kind of omnipresent scribbling, one which uses sporadic and incongruent lines to desolidify the edges of things, mostly people, but also, like in ↃON’s case, riot shields and police uniforms and buildings and even written words themselves. In Tommy’s artistic universe, emotion saps things of their solidified forms, and so people appear incomplete, words appear overcome with energy, and everything else seems on the verge of sheer explosion.

ↃON might still be the angriest of all Tommy’s pieces. Less a cartoon and more a monstrosity, the image of Donald Trump lords over this picture, his veins bursting, his eyes clenched tight, his hand shaking and waving a confederate flag halfway out of the frame, and his teeth chattering, each one sharp and pointed, demented and deadly and odd. Look at his hair, how it’s composed almost like a torpedo. Of all the things in the photo to remain consistent, unaffected by the glitchy, twitchy textural changes, it’s Trump’s tiny little hands —one holding the flag, the other holding firm to the roof of the White House, still covered with specks of bright red blood. From out of his mouth spurt the white words “I FEEL THREATENED,” themselves careening up and around the top-left corner of the frame. Meanwhile, beneath the man himself, a small army of Riot police, their faces and any identifying features hidden completely beneath identical round helmets and body-length riot shields, surrounds a cliche, billy-club-wielding caricature of a policeman and another blonde-haired individual. Blue suit, blonde hair, adorned with the SS (Nazi) symbol on his chest and a red (Nazi) armband on his arm; it may be Trump himself, or it may be any number of his vehement supporters imitating his style.

Further examination of the actual aesthetics feels kind of like overkill. This is a piece, like many in Tommy’s oeuvre, that seems to focus first and foremost on the emotional response created and communicated. Tommy is a fiery artist. The constant, tiny movements of every solitary object serves to create a coursing energy in his pieces, so it’s easy to glom emotion onto them. We’re already primed to expect a heightened state. And the pieces almost always deliver.

Unfortunately, the repetitive movement, action, and coloration within the piece proved a stark harbinger for reality. This scene, or ones like it, occurred so seemingly often that this piece appears to show —in hindsight— not an isolated incident but an amalgamation of moments formed together into a single archetype. The piece is separated into two sections, one which shows Trump in momentary bout of emotion, but the other which relies completely on such archetypes. The archetype of the police officer. The archetype of the riot police. Even the Trump stand-in on the lower half of the image seems to have lost identifying characteristics, becoming not even an archetype but an ambiguity. The Trump that hawks hellishly over The White House seems less a person and more a spirit, some divine evocation of self-righteous rage. And terror. And outburst. I’m reminded of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. I’m reminded of Goliath. I’m reminded of Godzilla emerging from the black sea and, terrified of all the helicopters and tanks pelting it with explosives, lays waste to the city. 

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