“Post No Bills” is the award-winning documentary film about Los Angeles-based “guerilla” political poster artist Robbie Conal, a professional painter who has splattered hundreds of thousands of his caricatured paintings-as-posters across the United States' urban streets, militantly affixed by himself and his cult following of urban guerilla volunteers to construction sites, traffic light switching boxes and any other surface area large enough to house one of these satirical images.
Beginning in 1986 with the onset of the Iran-Contra hearings, artist Robbie Conal has distributed his work in a way even Andy Warhol might not have dreamed possible. As Conal points out, "these are some of the most famous paintings of any contemporary artist because I make you see them whether you want to or not." The original canvases, from which the posters are reproduced, simultaneously grace gallery walls and art collectors' homes.
In September 1990, after Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates stated that "casual drug users ought to be taken out and shot," Conal began collaborating with student Patrick Crowley on a poster criticizing this hyperbolic remark. When an outraged world focused on Los Angeles in March of 1991 with the release of the graphic video footage of the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles’ police officers, Conal and crew took to the L.A. streets his most inciting and inflammatory image to date; a poster depicting the police chief on a full torso N.R.A. shooting target with the text "casual drug users ought to be taken out and beaten.” “Post No Bills” concentrates on this poster of Gates, celebrating the potential of this infamous piece of political street art while exploring the disassociation to be made between Conal and his subject matter.
“Post No Bills” foregrounds the tension between Conal's creative process and the lures of a desperate notoriety achieved through catering to the news media's craving for controversy in his journey to benefit financially from the dual life of his work. Photographed in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City over a significant two year period, the film tells Conal’s story through a variety of perspectives including gallery owners, city officials, news reporters, actor Tim Robbins, the Reagans, and even Oliver North. The film contains what is possibly the only filmed interview with controversial LAPD Police Chief during his tenure between the Rodney King beating and the L.A. riots. The film also documents Gates’ resignation from his controversial position as Police Chief.
This film was funded by the ITVS (Independent Television Service) in their first open call for entries in 1991 and was the first delivered broadcast-hour ITVS project in history (August 1992). The film has been featured in over twenty international film festivals over the last 15 years and broadcast nationally on PBS.