Lobyn Hamilton dissects alt-right politics through vinyl artwork 

Lobyn's exhibit at U Indy pushes his boundaries as an artist

click to enlarge "Der Donald" at U Indy by Lobyn Hamilton
  • "Der Donald" at U Indy by Lobyn Hamilton


Lobyn Hamilton's vinyl artwork is no longer a hidden gem just in Indy. A few of his big moments: When his work was featured on the TV series Empire; when a friend of Kayne West commissioned Hamilton to make a silhouette of the famous rap artist.

Hamilton, who is self-taught, went full-time with his artwork just three years ago. In fact, he will celebrate his three-year-art-full-time anniversary the week his show at the University of Indianapolis ends.


One of the most notable (and possibly controversial) pieces in his UIndy show The Breaks is "Der Donald," a commentary on the similarities between the fear and temperament created by the Nazi party and the surge of right-wing ideals.

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"I think if you look all over the world right now, there's a right-wing movement," says Hamilton. "These are all just ideals; as soon as some people come who you are afraid of, refugees, then all of the sudden you no longer have those so-called 'open arms' because you had it when there was nothing there to test it. It's fine until a non-Anglo-Saxon climbs to the highest office in the world. Then it's like, 'Oh shit.' It's fine as long as it's out there. Once something is tested then you see where people's true values of societies is. I think that's interesting when you see that. We have seen it before — the Nazi regime — you see it now. Not just here in America."

The creation of the piece took Hamilton to an area that was known for being a Nazi stronghold in World War II: Ravensburg, Germany. He recalls watching an episode of Happyish and saw a character holding the Organization Book of the National Socialist German Workers Party, which was given to all Nazi members. He began to research the book and found only a few copies of it worldwide, and plenty of hesitation shrouding it. He tracked down two copies in Germany — one fourth edition from 1937, which is on display next to "Der Donald," and one first edition which is now in his personal collection. He bought them for 1,000 Euros total.

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"I get there and he says all this stuff about how he doesn't understand why people don't talk about that time period," says Hamilton. "Because, clearly, when I was talking about this book to my friends, and friends' friends, it got really quiet and it got really weird ..."

The shop owner told him not to tell anyone that he got the book from him, refused a receipt and instructed him to say he purchased it at a flea market.

But Hamilton wasn't interested in just slapping together images of swastikas and Trump for the piece.

"That's sophomoric, that's childish," says Hamilton. "We are professionals. You want to educate somebody without pounding them over the head with it or even invite them to do their research. I am not your babysitter as an artist."

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Emily Taylor

Emily Taylor

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Emily is the arts editor at NUVO, where she covers everything from visual art to comedy. In fact she is probably at a theater production right now. Before joining the ranks here, she worked for Indianapolis Monthly and Gannett. You can find her thoughts about Indy scattered throughout the NUVO arts section and... more

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