Screenprinted “Putin: False” now available for sale. All proceeds will support Ukraine 🇺🇦. Shop now.
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Putin: False

Close-up of 3D rendering of Vladimir Putin as a golden idol

“…I want a man like Putin
One like Putin, full of strength
One like Putin, who won't be a drunk
One like Putin, who wouldn't hurt me
One like Putin, who won't run away!”

— Lyrics from a popular Russian pop song, “One Like Putin,” from 2010.

Vladimir Putin has long been regarded as a divine hero in Russia. Propagandist imagery such as him riding shirtless on horseback, shooting a tiger with a tranquilizing dart to save a group of journalists, racing in an F1 car on a track, or defeating an opponent in martial arts, help cultivate an image of Putin as a strong, masculine savior—the only one who could lead Russia against the West. These and many more staged acts of supposed strength and bravery have turned him into a sex symbol in the country for women and a man’s man for men.

Evoking the biblical story of the Golden Calf, this poster calls out the worship of Vladimir Putin as a false idol or god. He is not the righteous leader many Russians believe him to be. Instead, he is a vengeful, scheming autocrat who assassinates those he perceives have wronged him or Mother Russia. And he wages wars with sovereign nations under the guise of anti-Naziism. 

Golden bust of Vladimir Putin, against a red backdrop, and below with the word FALSE in Russian and English

This cultish infatuation with Putin’s strongman qualities has extended beyond Russia’s borders to inspire the acceptance and admiration of other autocratic leaders, including Viktor Orban of Hungary, Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, and Benjamin Netanyahu, former prime minister of Israel. But most chilling was the rise of Donald Trump as president of the United States.

The veneration of men as gods is incredibly dangerous to liberal democracies. 

The Putin 3D model was created in collaboration with Roberto Vescovi. The final scene was composed in Cinema 4D and rendered using Redshift. The poster was assembled in Photoshop. 

References

Oliver, John. “Putin.” Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, February 19, 2017.

Sperling, Valerie. “Putin's macho personality cult.” (PDF) Communist and Post-Communist Studies, January 11, 2016.

Rachman, Gideon. “The international cult of Vladimir Putin.” Financial Times, January 31, 2022.


Update August 6, 2022:

Last month I reached out to fellow graphic designer Kateryna Korolevtseva who is based in Ukraine. I was searching for a local printer who would print this anti-Putin poster for me in the country. She recommended 24print in Kyiv.

I worked with the wonderful people at 24print and they printed 30 copies of my poster and sent me some photos…


Update October 22, 2022:

To raise money for the victims of Russia’s inhumane war on Ukraine, I have screenprinted a limited edition of this Putin poster. The poster was printed in Los Angeles, California on 100 lb. French Paper Co. cover stock, using four colors. The bust of Putin is printed in metallic gold with black ink for shading. It is a limited edition of 50, with each one hand numbered and signed by me. All proceeds will be donated to GlobalGiving’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund. The fund is being used to support Ukrainians:

  • Shelter, food, and clean water for refugees
  • Health and psychosocial support
  • Access to education and economic assistance
  • And more

Please support this effort by purchasing a poster from my Etsy shop.

Woman holding up a protest poster. Poster is an image of an angry Putin, with the word FALSE below in Russian and English.
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