Drew Matott:

People's Portraits of Bush


On seven occasions (beginning in October 2005), Drew Matott, equipped with a portable paper vat and pigmented, over-beaten cotton pulps, asked random passersby on Chicago streets to help create a pulp painting of George Bush. They could indicate their feeling toward Bush by a not-so-subtle combination of signs a happy Jesus face, a sad Jesus face, and/or a number of colored stars.


Bush Theater
Drew Matott explaining the portrait making process to Chicago pedestrians



Bush Portraits
Close-up of 'Bush' images in the making


The resultant pulp paintings of George Bush provide an unscientific and visceral sampling of the prevailing mood of those people who stopped to participate.

Matott includes four non-scientific graphs of data and pictures of the performance. Exhibits of the Bush portraits have been shown at Columbia College, Chicago, IL and at Community College of Vermont, Burlington, VT.



Hallway Exhibit
Handmade paper 'Bush' images created by Chicago pedestrians as part of
Behind the Green Door exhibit at the Community College of Vermont, July 2006


Drew Matott
Close view of Drew Matott's 'People's Portraits of Bush'


150 of the resulting images have been compiled into book form and is on sale through Vamp & Tramp Booksellers. The goal is to place a copy in a public or university collection in each of the 50 states to promote access by the public and so that curators and artist book classes can use it as a resource.


The People's Portraits of Bush
By Drew Matott
Chicago's Center for Book and Paper Arts, 2006. Edition of 51.

8.25 x 7.25 x .5"; 36 pages (including 14 gatefold pages). Endpapers are made from Matott's socks; remaining pages are Navaho 100 lb. or paper handmade from cotton bedsheets and bleached abaca fiber. Sermon on the Mount printed by letterpress using polymer plates and lead type on a Vandercook press. Images on top of letterpress printing done on an HP laser printer.

The last gatefold of the limited edition art book makes no secret of his anti-Bush feelings and precedes homage to Pete Seeger: "In appreciation of his use of art and activism as a means to empower people to create change."

The making of an artist's book as performance art. This work is documentation of that process.



Lubeznik Center for the Arts
An eighth performance of the 'People's Portraits of Bush' was held at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, Michigan City, IN on November 4th, 2006


A review of the Art That Matters show features the "People's Portraits of Bush" performance.