#design / The art behind Hunter S. Thompson’s 1970 political campaign.

Typically any discussion around art and Hunter points to the splattered aesthetic of Ralph Steadman that visualized gonzo journalism. From this The New York Times article emerges a different artist with a completely different vibe. Thomas W. Benton designed many posters for Thompson’s 1970 run to become a sheriff of Aspen, Colorado. Benton’s work is more graphic design than illustration, but that does not deter it’s importance and artistic quality. The collection of work that has survived, when viewed all together, looks more like pages from a magazine featuring editorial, campaign posters, and advertisements. One of my favorite pieces is a “page” that looks like the advertising section found in the back of an old magazine, complete with a satirical ad for The Chart House—“in our new location.” All of this work and more will be on exhibit at the Poster House in New York City. The show is called “Freak Power” borrowed from the title of a book—and now documentary—on Hunter’s campaign and the national attention and conversation it attracted at the time. Sadly, very similar to conversations we are still having to this day.