This poster shows two men standing side by side. The one on the left is costumed as a giant peanut wearing a top hat. The one on the right is dressed in black, with his arms raised as if greeting a crowd.

Mr. Peanut

(Vincent Trasov, b. Edmonton, 1947)

Michael Morris

(b. Saltdean, England, 1942)

 

Mr. Peanut Mayoral Campaign Poster

1974

Photo: Taki Bluesinger (b. Saitama, Japan, 1943 – Vancouver 2004)

35.7 x 27.3 cm

Collection of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery Archives, The University of British Columbia, Morris/Trasov Archive

© Vincent Trasov.  Photo: Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery


From 1969 to 1974, the artist Vincent Trasov made appearances in the persona of Mr. Peanut, the brand mascot of Planters, the American peanut product company. In 1974, he donned the iconic costume to run for mayor of Vancouver. The campaign poster shows Mr. Peanut with his spokesperson, the artist John Mitchell (b. 1948). At the end of their twenty-day campaign performance, Mr. Peanut received 2,685 votes (3.4% of the ballots), coming in last in fourth place. Widely covered in the media, the event brought Trasov national attention.


Well known for his performances, Vincent Trasov is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice includes photography, video and painting. Much of his work involves collaboration with other artists, such as recurrent partners Michael Morris and Anna Banana. In 1972, Trasov contributed to the inaugural issue of FILE Megazine, conceived and published by General Idea. In 1973, he co-founded the Vancouver artist-run centre Western Front, which he co‑directed until 1980. In 1999, his performances as Mr. Peanut earned him a spot on the Vancouver Sun’s list of the 20th century’s 100 most influential British Columbians.

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Anna Banana is a performance and mail art artist who, like Vincent Trasov, has developed a brand mascot as an alter ego. She began calling herself Anna Banana in 1971 and legally adopted the name in 1984. This photograph shows Anna Banana and Mr. Peanut (Trasov) at the BC Open Art Race in Vancouver, in 1974, where artists competed in costume. Dressed as their personas, they raced along West Georgia Street for the CBC-TV show “Up Canada!” Anna Banana finished in first place.

Anna Banana

(b. Victoria, 1940)

Mr. Peanut

(Vincent Trasov, b. Edmonton, 1947)

 

The BC Open Art Race

May 24, 1974

Hand-colored photocopy

18.8 x 21.6 cm

Collection of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery Archives, The University of British Columbia, Morris/Trasov Archive

© Anna Banana and Vincent Trasov. Photo: Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery