John Mavroudis: Portraits, In So Many Words

June 7-July 14, 2024


Artists say what’s on their minds via colors, shapes, and lines. Writers paint pictures with words.

In his typographic portraits, John Mavroudis, whose new exhibition, Portraits, In So Many

Words… is on view at the Haight Street Art Center from June 7 to July 14, does a bit of both,

transforming the words associated with his subjects into their hair, foreheads, eyes, noses,

cheekbones, lips, and chins, creating letter-strewn faces that are at once loosely evocative and

pointedly specific.


Mavroudis broke into the local rock-art scene in 2004 with a poster for a Yeah Yeah Yeahs

concert at the Fillmore. By 2006 The New Yorker was a client, and in 2009 The Nation ran “For

the Ages” on its cover, in which newly elected President Barack Obama was depicted taking the

oath of office amid past and present Civil Rights icons. Mavroudis’ biggest break came in 2016,

when that same magazine ran his typographic portrait of a presidential candidate named Donald

J. Trump, upon whose furrowed brow Mavroudis scrawled the words “Racist” and “Misogynist.”


By the fall of 2018, Mavroudis had designed a cover for Time of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who

testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about President Misogynist’s second Supreme Court

nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, who, she alleged, had sexually assaulted her when she was 15.

Mavroudis’ typographic portrait of Blasey Ford—her right hand raised in the air as she swore to

tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, the word “Help” barely escaping her

frowning lips—won Cover of the Year from the American Society of Magazine Editors.

In the years since, Mavroudis has divided his work almost evenly between musical subjects and

social critiques, which is why a typographic self-portrait of John Mavroudis would almost

certainly feature words like “David Bowie” and “Taylor Swift” alongside “Tyre Nichols” and

“George Floyd.” Phrases such as “Trump Cult” would cross his own furrowed brow, but in

addition to references to political toadies, gun violence, and police brutality, a typographic

self-portrait of John Mavroudis would ultimately be hopeful, as one word and one word only

would be poised between the artist’s lips—”Vote.”


To learn more about John Mavroudis, visit