by: BRYNN ANDERSON, Associated Press
Posted: Jan 19, 2021 / 3:31 PM EST
Updated: Jan 19, 2021 / 3:52 PM EST
Artist Brandon Litman sees posters of Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) And Raphael Warnock (US Senator) behind him after the Georgia Senate runoff race on Sunday, January 10, 2021 in Atlanta. (AP Photo / Brynn Anderson)
ATLANTA (AP) – For some, it meant writing checks for campaigns to get to the vote in the US Senate runoff in Georgia. Others signed up to advertise neighborhoods or make calls to campaign telephone banks. Brandon Litman took a different approach, creating thousands of works of art to connect the Democratic candidates with the voters.
The 39-year-old artist from Brooklyn, New York packed up his spray paint and traveled to Atlanta in early December, amid a critical period of overtime in Georgia. Control of the US Senate was at stake in what Litman called “the most important runoff of our lives”.
His plan: to create and give away art that would inspire voters to vote for Democratic Senate candidates, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
Weeks before the January 5 elections, Litman produced hand-made posters with similarities to Ossoff and Warnock. Empowered by a coalition of black and younger voters, the challengers defeated the two Republican Senators of Georgia and handed the Senate majority to the Democrats when President-elect Joe Biden took office. Georgia confirmed the results on Tuesday.
After Litman arrived in Atlanta last month, he showed up at the Ossoff and Warnock rallies, painting custom billboards for supporters. Sometimes he would open a store under an overpass in downtown Atlanta, where passers-by would stop and wait in line for a free poster. Litman soon allied himself with the Ossoff Campaign, which enabled him to witness events in other cities in Georgia.
Litman, known on social media as @voteruthless, chatted with potential voters and let them choose their favorite colors for the custom portraits. You would see him working through clouds of spray paint and within minutes the posters would be ready.
Ellen Foster, Ossoff’s campaign manager, credited Litman with “adding a lot of excitement to the campaign path”. She called his efforts “an organic and fresh way to engage voters while creating excitement for this movement”.
Litman had previously created artwork with 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. But he said none of them are as popular as his work, which centered on the Georgia Senate races. By the end of the campaigns, he suspected he had produced around 3,500 posters.
“I have refined this voting model of helping to shape art with a political theme over the past few years,” said Litman. “It is so powerful to attract people, young and old and all backgrounds.”