Presidential piñata becomes party hit

By Kendrah Villiesse, Arts & Culture Reporter

Jeffrey Littleton sculpted a papier-mâché head at his Uptown studio as his peafowl, Pepe, pecked away at a piñata of President Donald Trump, ripping off little confetti pieces that form the president’s eyebrow.

Littleton, an artist and 2005 art & design alumnus, said he decided to create a Trump piñata in February after seeing how much suffering the election has caused his loved ones and community. Littleton said he needed to add some joy to the Trump presidency and decided to use papier mâché to create a two-compartment piñata, mocking the president.

“[The election] really put a dark cloud on [my girlfriend and me], not in our relationship, but in general in the household, it was like a death in the family,” Littleton said. “I just wanted something to put some joy into this because he is all piss-and-vinegar.”

Although he thinks the piñata will be the “hit of the party,” Littleton admits that it is hard for him to laugh when he thinks about Trump.

“I can’t think of another way to bring up Trump at a party without being a drag,” Littleton said. “We have to take this and turn it around, so I am getting joy. I am selling it, and I [want to help] the people that are going to be hurt by his policies.”

After Littleton posted the piñata on Neighborhood Square, a local neighborhood news site, a few viewers objected to his work, saying his “bashing on the president” was overpriced and a bore.

In response to Littleton’s art, Michael Federico, a GOP political operative based in Chicago, said he has seen Trump piñatas since the beginning of election primary season and thinks that the idea now lacks originality.

“Art should be anti-authority and should present authority,” Federico said. “This one particularly sounds pretty boring. I have seen some decent anti-Trump pieces in Chicago. Obviously, I don’t agree with their message, but I have seen some great pieces.”

To continue the theme, Littleton is creating a Trump Voodoo doll. After living in New Orleans for eight years, Littleton said he is going to base his doll on the traditional ones that can be seen there.

He said his idea is to make the doll from twigs and use orange felt for his face, and white buttons to emphasize his sunglass tan-lines.

Louise LeBourgeois, a former adjunct professor at Columbia who taught Littleton, said the administration is trying to conceal the truth, so  people can only see the cover-up, and are not inclined to investigate further

“Any great artist is trying to peel the layers away to try to find out what the truth is,” LeBourgeois said. “Maintaining our own consciousness in this time of a president trying to frame reality for everybody is inherently a political act. [An artist] isn’t going to believe in a lie, they are going to continue investigating the world around them.”