UM artists imagine a ‘Donary Trunton’ candidate

Kim Kozlowski
The Detroit News

It’s Hillary Clinton. No, it’s Donald Trump. Wait, it’s neither. Maybe it’s both?

These are some of the questions one might ask while mulling a work of art that has been created by University of Michigan students and displayed on the eve of a historic election.

The work, called “Donary Trunton,” merges the images of Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate and potentially the nation’s first female president, and Trump, the Republican businessman who has stirred up the Republican Party.

The piece makes a statement about both Trump and Clinton — and the mood they have evoked among the electorate.

“It was an opportunity to create a provocative piece to speak to the uncertainty that Generation Z students are feeling at this moment,” UM Assistant Professor Robert Platt said. “They are pretty anxious and confused and overwhelmed.”

Platt worked with 19 art students to create the 4-foot-by-5-foot canvas that is made up of 20 stretched canvasses. The students were part of an undergraduate class that explores color theory, value of color, saturation and muted color.

The project started out funny, but then evolved into something more serious with many people feeling anxious, said fine art student Cecilia Gorgon, who worked on the piece. As a Bernie Sanders supporter, Gorgon, 20, said she is now reluctantly supporting Clinton because she doesn’t want to see a Trump presidency.

“It’s a project that is pretty reflective about how people are feeling,” said Gorgon, a Detroit native who will vote for the first time in a presidential election on Tuesday. “A lot of people are feeling conflicted by this election.”

The scale of the project also mirrors the election, Gorgon added.

“It’s pretty powerful,” she said. “We are getting down to wire. It’s definitely starting to feel more real. There have been a lot of aspects of this election that are feeling surreal. It’s been very circusy, the entire election season. With it culminating tomorrow, it’s a strange feeling.”

“Donary Trunton” is on display in the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at 2000 Bonisteel in Ann Arbor. It’s on the second floor near the painting studio.