Here's what those golden 'Take a Trump' toilets mean

Four random golden toilets appeared in Central Indiana on Saturday, President Donald Trump's 100th day in office, each with "Take a Trump!" stenciled in black, an edition number and an outline of pig a wearing a crown under the lid.

One appeared on the Monon Trail where it crosses Broad Ripple Avenue, another on the grassy median at 10th Street and Massachusetts Avenue, and two were seen on the Ball State University campus in Muncie.

Within hours, passers-by began stopping, looking and posting photos to social media.

"We saw it Saturday night as we were on our way home from dinner," said Reggie Lyons, who posted a photo of the toilet to Instagram with the caption, "Spotted in Broad Ripple. #TakeATrump."

"It caught my eye and I did a double take," Lyons said. "And as I got closer and could read it, my wife and I immediately burst into laughter."

The toilets are part of a guerrilla-style art campaign from about 100 artists nationwide calling themselves the Artfinksters. The toilets didn't just appear in Indiana: 21 others popped up in cities nationwide, such as Austin, Texas; Portland, Ore.; Miami; Chicago; Los Angeles; Las Vegas; and Denver.

And a guy who went to art school in Indiana is taking responsibility for Artfinksters' political street art movement.

"Our goal and object is to bring awareness to people, to inform them about the current state of affairs," said the artist, who asked not to be named. "We all are strongly opposed to the current occupation of the White House and have come together to bring about change through our work."

It's not uncommon for street artists to perform under pseudonyms for political reasons. The most well-known is Banksy, but not the only one. Feminist artists the Guerrilla Girls, who wear gorilla masks, have been active internationally since 1985.

The artist said the idea of a nationwide street art project came to him after seeing the women's marches throughout the U.S. the day after Trump's inauguration. He reached out to all the artists he knew.

"I contacted almost 100 people and almost everybody was on board," he said. "Most people just go with the status quo, and we'll play that role of being that bump in the status quo. We've brought it upon ourselves to inform the public about what's really going on."

So the artist mailed packets with the "Take a Trump" and pig stencils, along with "assignment" instructions for each artist to execute the toilet: To put them in "places that were highly visible, lots of foot traffic, that would get a lot of eyes and photos and conversation."

All but one of the toilets have been removed, but that's to be expected with street art, the artist said.

"It's not our plan to deface anything. We won't ever do that, that’s not in our agenda," he said.

The toilets in Indianapolis were removed Monday by the Indianapolis Department of Public Works, said Andre' Denman, principal park and greenways manager for DPW. The toilets could pose safety risks, he said.

"We're not making a statement about art or the politics associated with it," Denman said.

The golden toilets were the first of many projects Artfinksters plans to do, but but the artist wouldn't say what they might be.

"Our future projects will bring more awareness to policies, legislation, foreign policy, etc.," he said. "This was just the ice breaker."

Indianapolis Star


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