CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Meet the Tufnell Park artist who dreamt up the Trump Baby balloon

'Half the point was to put a smile on people’s faces but the fact is we live in dark, troubling times'

12 July, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Leo Murray

TAKE a van-load of helium canisters, strong wires, a large balloon shaped like a baby – and sit back and watch the world respond.

This is the plan of former Acland Burghley School pupil Leo Murray, the man behind the art installation known as Trump Baby, which has caused a global stir. Mr Murray, who lives in Tufnell Park, is the brains behind the giant inflatable US President set to float above Trafalgar Square tomorrow (Friday) as part of the demonstrations against the visit of Donald Trump. London Mayor Sadiq Khan app­roved plans for it to fly.

Mr Murray told the New Journal: “It is a continuation of the great British tradition of political satire. It has a long pedigree here, especially when it comes to fighting fascism. For example, we sang ‘Hitler has only got one ball’. This is a similar, uniquely British response. People looked at it and said: ‘Yes, that is how I feel about this.’ Trump Baby has mani­fested the mood of the moment.”

Mr Murray came up with the concept months ago. “We put our own money in to make it but we have now had tremendous support,” he said.

A crowdfunding page raised £30,000 for the balloon. As a student at Acland Burghley, he was taught art by renowned teacher Joe Kusner. He then studied at London College of Printing and the Royal College of Art, completing a masters degree focusing on animation.

After graduating he became involved in environmental activism and worked on the 2009 climate change film Age of Stupid, produced by Camden Town-based film-makers Franny Armstrong and Lizzie Gillett.

Mr Murray said: “If Trump Baby was dangerous, we wouldn’t do it. Half the point was to put a smile on people’s faces but the fact is we live in dark, troubling times. We have seen a resurgence of right-wing hate – and this is our response.”

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