If you've been living in Houston these last few months, unless you have a singular case of tunnel vision or are literally visually impaired, you are all too aware of the "Dick for Houston" campaign.
The former Inbred Whiteboy bassist-turned-attorney Eric Dick is running for city council at large, and his red-and-white posters are now as ubiquitous on Houston city streets and highways as nail salons and "We buy gold" emporiums.
Houston's street art community has taken note. They may not like Dick's message or aesthetic, but they damn sure have been impressed with the dude's work ethic and sheer volume. But then Dick was heard to utter some anti-street art sentiments recently, and now local artist Shreddi has decided to fire back. Let the dick-swinging begin...
Art Attack: What is it about Eric Dick that gets to you?
Shreddi: I don't think a lot of people have picked up on the fact that politicians use graffiti tactics for their personal gain. Each election year, without fail, we get this illegal political signage jammed all over empty lots, chain-link fences, telephone poles, etc. The problem is, once elected, these politicians persecute the general public for doing the same fucking thing...It's a double standard. It's funny too, because when I pulled down one of these signs, there was another political sign underneath it. So they're even covering each other's tags. I read last year the city spent a million dollars on graffiti cleanup. Politicians could probably cut that number in half if they'd stop posting their mind-numbing graffiti everywhere. Obviously I have no problem with self-promotion, or art in the streets. I have a problem with politicians holding the public to standards they don't abide to themselves. And I don't have anything specifically against Dick....his ballsy sign campaign just stood out.
AA: How did you come by the Dickhead George Washington image?
Shreddi:It was pretty obvious that Dick was using his name to get some double takes, so I just added visual imagery to bring out the message. The intent wasn't to be offensive. I painted him with some political posters in hand to further drive home the street-art similarities. It's a repetition campaign, just like graffiti. If you see a Dick sign every time you drive to work, chances are you'll pick his name when you go to vote. They know you're not crunching out in-depth campaign comparisons when you're in your moccasins at the community center voting booth.
AA: What has been the response so far? Have you heard from Dick's people? Have you heard from the head Dick? Any plans for more signs?
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Shreddi:For the most part, the response has been really good. I think most people get a kick out of seeing parallels between graffiti and campaign signs. Dick himself probably got a laugh out of it...I definitely would. I don't really expect to hear from his campaign people, but if they contact you, no I'm not interested in posting more of his signs. I have a job.
For a while his signs were on every block, which prompted the idea. A few of my friends even thought he was a street artist. I would make more, but most of the signs from his initial street-tour have been taken down. Probably by jobless trustafarians, or disgruntled opponents with less cool names. You'll still see signs from his opponents, but the watchdog groups have been pretty vigilant about cleaning Dick off the streets.