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Madonna's online Trump art nod puts Black Isle artist in global spotlight

By Hector MacKenzie

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The typically eye-catching piece of work caught the attention of Madonna herself.
The typically eye-catching piece of work caught the attention of Madonna herself.

A BLACK Isle artist whose passionate response to Donald Trump’s impending assumption of the US presidency won celebrity endorsement from pop star Madonna spoke of his delight at the unexpected turn of events.

Surrealist pop artist Michael Forbes’s portrayal of the President-Elect as King Kong atop a Statue of Liberty modelled on Madonna was almost instantly endorsed by the global superstar who posted it on her social media sites, garnering tens of thousands of likes within hours.

Mr Forbes previously used his artistic talents to express his opposition to Mr Trump’s interest in developing golf courses in Scotland to eye-catching effect.

Yesterday he told the Ross-shire Journal how he had last week adapted a previous artwork featuring Madonna to highlight his feelings over the prospect of a Trump presidency.

“The original painting showed a monster running riot in New York City. You can probably see the train of thought that led me to the adapatation.

"I put it on Instagram and then discovered that the same day it had been posted by Madonna. Then the phone started ringing. It was an exhilarating moment. It’s interesting how the world has become a very small place and how something created in a small studio on the Black Isle can reach so far in such a short space of time.”

Michael Forbes: Tickled
Michael Forbes: Tickled

Mr Forbes, who embraced the power of the internet early on, said: “This emphasises the idea of the world as a global village.

“Trump will have an impact on all of our lives – the man will have access to nuclear weapons. I suppose something like this shows people do have some power to have their say. I sometimes sit ranting at the news and my wife has told me to let it lie. Sometimes my reaction will be to throw that passion into something in the studio.”

Ironically he was previously prompted to produce artwork inspired by the hope surrounding outgoing President Obama’s inauguration eight years ago.

He said: “The change in feelings is quite a switch around for me. When I did the Obama painting it was from a positive place. The terrifying thing is that Trump will be supported by a Republican Congress. That makes you worry about all sorts of issues, including gun law.”

Of Madonna’s online endorsement of the striking 40inch-square painting, he said: “It was a thrill. I couldn’t have scripted it better. I suppose this is my way of marking a moment in time.”

He added: “That makes it quite an important piece. I probably would like to hold on to it – though it is available if Madonna wants it!”

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