Local Artist Hopes to Capitalize on the Republican National Convention
Local vendors are hoping to capitalize on the Republican National Convention. One woman is hoping to not only promote her favorite candidate, Mitt Romney, but also make some money and get some recognition for her unique form of political art.
It's a once in a lifetime opportunity for Laura Silverthorn and her art. She ruffles through a pile of sketches and collages.
"So I kind of got into the political stuff a few years ago and liked it, and now that the RNC is so close I feel like its kind of pointing me that way," she says.
She just received a shipment of T-shirts she designed especially for the RNC. It depicts Mitt Romney, in board shorts, with President Obama buried in the sand up to the neck are printed on the shirts. They read "Bury the Competition, RNC 2012 Tampa".
Now she is focused on getting them out there.
"Whether they agree or not its a unique way to get a message across I think," she says.
The idea started when she was chosen as an artist for a Clearwater art installation.
The city chose 50 different artists to paint 50 dolphins that now welcome people as they drive on to Clearwater beach. Her initial design was more bipartisan - President Obama and Mitt Romney building a sand castle on the beach together.
"But since that one hadn't been picked and I had already drawn the faces, I thought so let me kind of make something that I like," she says. "I can maybe make a T-shirt out of it, and that is how I came up with this."
She's talking to vendors who may put her shirts in gift baskets. But she says breaking into the tight bubble that surrounds the RNC isn't easy.
And her shirts aren't the only thing she is promoting. One of her favorite pieces of art shows President Obama tucked in bed, with a smiling face and the words "Time to Lay Down" encircling his head.
"It's going to be sort of like a children's story book. It's like bed time, time to lay down. He's got all of the dust bunnies under the bed of mismanagement and things going on," she says. "And this is the Obama symbol being put to sleep. I made him into a setting sun, so that was fun for me to do."
She has made attempts to make more bipartisan work, but, she says it's easier when it's something she is passionate about. Laura says she doesn't like the judgment she receives when she tells people she is a Republican, especially, she says when the world of art is so liberal.
Laura thinks right now the party has an image problem.
"Young people want to be with the person who looks young, he's cool, he's going to take care of us. So what if he smokes. He's a cool young guy," she says. "He's got the celebrities behind him and all that but I don't think younger people look at the issues that much.
"But for me, it's the economy, I hate to say it, but abortion, " she says. "I'm very pro-life and a lot of young people are not. I think financially I work really, really hard. And even though I have not benefited as much as someone like Romney in my life I want that opportunity. And when I get there I don't want it taken away from me either."
And she isn't giving up the opportunity to be proactive, in whatever way she can, for this election.
" I wasn't that passionate about (John) McCain and I kind of assumed we would win anyway, and we didn't," Silverthorn says. "So this time I know we have to work to win"
Silverthorn says she is worried about the consequences of another four years with President Obama. But she says either way she will still be working on what is most important to her, her art.