"The inspiration was really just all that's happening in politics right now," Ramirez says of the concept behind the mural. "I found it really odd that the character of Donald Trump could get to be a potential president."
Ramirez, a Cuban-American artist who works out of a studio in nearby Little Haiti, was joking with his friend Gihan Perera, executive director of New Florida Majority, about the surreal nature of the 2016 presidential election season when inspiration struck. "We were cracking up and saying, 'OK, cool, seems like if Donald Trump becomes president, pigs will fly.'" Perera latched onto the idea as the basis for a mural to decorate his organization's headquarters, and Ramirez was game. Artist and Carol City native Ivan Roque "was with me on the idea," Ramirez says.
In the mural, pig-Trump dominates the foreground, set against a blue sky full of winged porkers. He wears a suit jacket, necktie, and American flag pin. He has the body and ears of a pig, but the characteristic comb-over is quintessential Donald.
When Pigs Fly is just the latest anti-Trump art to hit Miami. Developer Moishe Mana has brought two works opposing the Republican presidential nominee to Wynwood: first, a version of the "naked Trump" statues that made headlines in New York and other major cities across the nation earlier this year, and later, a massive mural showing Trump holding a knife to the Statue of Liberty, completed by New York's Bushwick Collective and a group of local street artists.
Ramirez says this latest mural is all in good fun: "Between me and Ivan, we thought, What can we do that will be humorous and make people laugh and not be so serious? We wanted people to get a chuckle out of it... something light and funny."
But unsurprisingly, not everyone has had a sense of humor about the piece.
"We've had a big percent of supporters of Hillary and anti-Trump people; they're all cheering, honking their horns, and giving a thumbs-up," Ramirez says. "And then you have a good 30 percent who are Trump supporters who are really pissed off. They don't find the humor in it in any way.
"It was a little scary at first, being caught up in the middle of that," the artist admits. "But it's all in good fun."
Ramirez says he hasn't voted yet. He's opposed to Trump — "I don't have anything personally against him; he really doesn't come off to me as a politician who can run a country" — but he's not quite sold on a second Clinton presidency either. "I'm really holding off from voting for Hillary because I'm not a Hillary supporter either. It's really a struggle for me right now," he says. "But I'm definitely not going to vote for Trump."
So will the mural get an update if Trump wins Florida — or even the presidency?
"No, not at all. I think it should still stay up there," Ramirez says. "If that happens, I think pigs would actually fly."
When Pigs Fly
The mural's official unveiling took place today at 9 a.m. at 8330 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. The mural will be on view indefinitely. New Florida Majority, SEIU Florida Organize Now, and other groups across the state have been working together to encourage people to vote; visit newfloridamajority.org. Visit Rei Ramirez's website at urban-organics.biz. Visit Ivan Roque's website at iamforeverlost.com.