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Video: The Man Behind L.A.'s Right-Wing Street Art
While we may be used to street artists like Shepard Fairey putting up liberal artwork like the Obama "Hope" poster, there's a Los Angeles guerrilla artist decorating our town with conservative-leaning messages.
A street artist who goes by Sabo has spent time this week in Los Angeles, especially Simi Valley, putting up signs centered around a variety of right-leaning posters. It's actually surprising to see, in such a liberal city like Los Angeles. There's a sign he affixed to the back of Santa Monica Blue Bus that says, "Ted Cruz Won't Take You For A Ride, Paid for by the Huffington Post." (Sabo told Independent Journal in an interview that it wasn't actually paid by HuffPo, but instead by fans who throw thousands of dollars his way to produce his work.) There's also a banner he affixed to the top of a light pole that reads, "Rhino Xing" with Bush, Trump, Christie, and Kasich’s names on it.
Sabo hung up all these signs this week in preparation for tonight's second Republican debate moderated by CNN at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, where 11 presidential candidates will be stopping by.
He's not a fan of Trump, who he thinks is a demagogue, but he's not saying he's rooting Cruz on, either. "People think I’m a cheerleader for Ted Cruz. I’m not," Sabo said. "I do like that he’s consistent, I believe that he’s a very smart person. I don’t see eye to eye with him completely."
We can see the confusion though. Earlier this month, he also released images of Cruz looking like a badass, all tatted up and smoking a cigarette.
There are a lot of things this conservative street artist isn't happy about—even the Republicans aren't off the hook. Alongside a bus stop, he put up a sign that read, "Allowing CNN to set the tone for our republican candidates is proof the GOP has their heads up their asses."
"I got tired of the left defining who I was," Sabo explained to Independent Journal, which filmed the artist this week putting up his work throughout the city. "I'm not rich, I'm not a racist, I'm not a homophobe. I'm none of those things. Why isn’t there anyone out there setting the story straight? And I just said, screw it. If Shepard can do it, I can do it."
Sabo's also known for his other edgy and controversial street art that he puts up when Democrats come into town, like when former Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis stopped by in Los Angeles last year. He plastered the city with horrible "Hollywood welcomes Abortion Barbie Wendy Davis" posters showing Davis' head on a Barbie doll with a plastic fetus in her stomach. Conservative circles starting calling Davis "Abortion Barbie" when she spoke out supporting abortion rights.
Sabo has also been critical of Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, poking fun at her "baggage."
When President Barack Obama and Clinton rolled into town, he put up street traffic signs to say "Blame Obama Traffic" and "Slow For Queen Hillary," as criticism for them coming into L.A. to raise money. He released this video of it in June:
Surprisingly, he hasn't gotten arrested or in trouble for any of his street artwork even though he hasn't been shy about showing his face.
Eds. note: An earlier version of this story said Sabo changed traffic signs, but he put up his own. LAist regrets this error.