Prior to a Hillary Clinton fundraiser at Tavern in Brentwood last year, The Hollywood Reporter reported the appearance of several wheat-pasted posters and cardboard cutouts, the latter found dangling from nearby power lines and depicting a flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz holding a sign that says “Hillary 2016.” (The implication being that Hillary is the Wicked Witch of the West — you get it.) The targeted attack was executed by guerrilla artist Sabo, a graduate of the Art Center College of Design, who prides himself on being the only street artist he knows of who reps the right wing. His other works, available for perusal at unsavoryagents.com, include posters that feature former Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis as “Abortion Barbie” (these were wheat-pasted throughout Hollywood to coincide with a fundraiser for Davis) and a T-shirt that says “Muhammad is a homo” (product description: “This T-shirt says 'FUCK ISIS' in a way that's loud and fucken [sic] clear”).
Sabo's flying monkeys appeared again this week, this time entangled in the power lines outside L.A. Weekly's offices. We don't, so far as I know, have a Hillary fundraiser on the books, so I reached out to Sabo expecting to hear how our publication's perceived liberal bent had put us squarely in his sites. Instead I found out that he'd actually wanted to hit Vice's Venice headquarters, but it has someone at the front desk into the wee hours, so he came here instead. We weren't even his first choice. When he sensed that I was disappointed, he backpedaled: “No, you’ve been first choice forever.”
A former ad man with a “soul-crushing” day job, the artist known as Sabo quit to pursue inflammatory street art full-time, taking “donations” from like-minded individuals in exchange for throwing up a poster, stencil or cutout in a public place. “One day I was able to pay my rent,” he says. Rather than a street artist, he considers himself “a political artist who happens to put shit up on the street.” In fact, he prefers when one of his pieces goes viral online without his having to make the effort to put up dozens of pieces under cover of darkness.
At the moment, Sabo's keeping busy. He's considering a trip to Vegas for the Republican presidential debate on Dec. 15 to promote the T-shirts and posters he's made in support of Ted Cruz, and he says he'll continue targeting Hillary as long as she's in the race. (For the record, he thinks Bernie Sanders is “a walking fucking joke … and so many people around here support him!”) He expressed some insecurity about how business will be once the election is over but has a head full of ideas that aren't related to the race for president: “This whole Black Lives Matter thing is funny to me. Political correctness at colleges — there’s just a lot going on right now. Hopefully there's a lot going on in the near future.”
Before we got off the phone, I asked him to confirm his political affiliation: “I'm Republican but only because there’s not much of an option. I'd probably be better off saying I’m Libertarian, but they’ll never get elected. I don't care who you marry, I don't care about gay people, I'm not a bigot — I'm socially liberal but I like to keep government as small as possible.”