John Bolton : The WH / Lead Graffiti connection
Unexpectedly the creative life of Lead Graffiti has crossed paths with the political life of the Trump White House. On March 22, 2018, Donald Trump chose John Bolton, a controversial former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as his national security advisor. Back in 2005, as Ray and Jill were starting to feel comfortable with the process of letterpress, an opportunity to produce a creative poster series fell into their laps.
Ralph Begleiter, a former CNN journalist, was the director of a University of Delaware speaker series entitled Global Agenda. The program, which originated in 2002, invited speakers to talk about a political theme, which in 2005 was entitled "Rx for the President." The final speaker scheduled that year was John Bolton, who had just been nominated by then-President George W. Bush to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. That nomination was extremely controversial (due in no small part to Bolton's belligerent views and military action) and was a probable contributing factor toward Bolton canceling his talk. Fortunately, we had already done the posters.
The controversy surrounding Bolton and his nuclear threats topic provided a lot of impetus in producing a visually powerful poster that would be memorable. The resulting poster has always been one of Ray's favorites. It includes hand rolled wood type we often do, along with Jill's prior hand rolling of the background sheet. We wanted to capture a sense of the swirling arguments and also to provide a powerful poster to bookendthe series.
The posters were 18" x 24" and produced in an edition of about 70 prints. Six posters in this style were produced for the 2005 series, but this one really stood out to us. Back in our early years of letterpress, this poster was a tipping point for us.
It is often easy to encourage students to take on additional work to give you extra experiences to print and experiment and add a printed piece to your portfolio. This particular project was a big one for us and we already had a pretty good portfolio.
I suspect we should say, "Stay tuned on this one."