Morristown High School junior Liam Shea got called into the principal’s office on Thursday.
His offense: Political satire.
School officials removed Shea’s five-foot graphic depicting a porcine President Trump clutching a snarling pussycat from the annual MHS Art & Design Show.
Also removed was a painting of Trump on a missile, taking a selfie. Students were given an hour at Wednesday’s opening reception to whip up something for the theme “America Takes a Selfie.”
Shea said Principal Mark Manning “was very respectful. First he said, ‘I appreciate the risk you took, and it’s very well done … but other people weren’t too happy with this.'”
Manning declined to comment on Thursday evening.
The Trump graphic began as a pencil drawing for an art class assignment to make a political cartoon. Shea added pastels, and then used software to transform it into a computer-generated graphic.
Shea’s mom said she was disappointed, and then angry, that officials bowed to complaints.
“To me, that’s what art is for, especially for political things. That’s how people express to the world how they feel about what’s going on…I don’t think the image is offensive. I think it’s clever,” said Kelly Shea, who works for an architectural firm.
Liam, an aspiring video game designer and member of the National Art Honor Society, welcomes the publicity.
“Me, I think it’s great. If it wasn’t taken down, I wouldn’t be talking to you!”
The teen is designing graphics of George Washington for another project. He said he loves the environment and was dismayed by the President’s pullout from the Paris climate accord.
“I’ve gone from the first President to the worst President,” he joked.
While the graphic has earned him “a few dirty looks” from classmates, Liam said it has been selected to appear in Tricorn, the school literary magazine.
And he senses more opportunities.
“A dozen people told me to make a t-shirt,” he said. “I could be paying for my college tuition.”