Antonio Mercado

LGBTQ SAVES Poster Ad, digital, 11″ x 17″

I love design, and advertising, I know all the skill and creativity that goes into it. I wanted to have fun with these pieces, and play with the idea of how the viewer will interact with them. I find so much beauty in old advertising, the layout, the text, the images. My dream job has always been to work on big campaigns targeting LGBTQIA+ individuals, so I thought for this show why not just do it. Use real local resources and reimagine them. I was heavily inspired by a Facebook page I follow “Fort Worth Gay History” which showcases posters, business cards, flyers, our herstory. I connected so much with the images from my city I wanted to recreate that. The idea behind this series was what if we had all the resources we have now back In the 80’s and late 70’s, what if we had proper HIV medication, what if we had HIV prevention medication, what if we were mobilized with support groups, what would that look like? What if this stigma didn’t exist?

MPACT DFW Newspaper Ad, digital, 3.5″ x 2″

“My work blurs the line between art and advertising. I love the idea of presenting art in everyday forms, confusing the viewer on what exactly they are actually looking at. My Influences include the queer subtext of J. C. Leyendecker’s ad work, newspaper ads, and 70’s homoerotic magazines. Graphic design is my passion, as well as film making, editing, painting, cosplay, and space creating. Themes of dark humor, queerness, and general absurdity are seen throughout my pieces. This series in particular explores a world unburdened by HIV stigma.”

Antonio Mercado
O.D. Aid Magazine Ad, digital, 5.5″ x 8.5″

This is what I set out to capture with these images. What would a group like LGBTQ SAVES (an organization for LGBTQ+ youth) be doing in the 70’s? How would O.D. Aid advertise harm reduction in a stigma-free world? I loved creating this world. I loved learning things, like “Trick Cards” before Grindr, before cellphones, we had to write down our trick’s information, and some gay bars would provide those cards. They acted as both business cards and a place where you could write your name, address, and phone number for that special fella. I had a lot of fun making my own trick card. I loved redesigning logos, taglines, figuring out how that organization would try and advertise. I very much enjoyed this series and would love to expand on it in the future.

Queens Empower Poster Ad, digital, 18″ x 24″
HELP “Trick Card” Ad, digital/cardstock, 3.5″ x 4″

Artist Biography

Although Antonio (He/Him) is his real name almost no one calls him that and he has gone by Tony his whole life, except in libraries where for some reason it always registers him as Anthony, he does however thinks Antonio looks more professional and sounds more like an author or something. Tony has had the pleasure of growing up in Fort Worth his whole life and strives to make his community inclusive to all (but mostly the gays.) Tony has worked in the LGBTQ+ health field for over three years and has found his work most rewarding. Seeking his B.A. in advertising at the University of North Texas, Tony saw his passion for art & advocacy could be one and the same. In 2019, Tony along with fellow local fairies founded Third Space DFW, an art collective made up of all queer artists. Their mission was to showcase exclusively queer artistry in the DFW area. Tony hopes to continue his career in LGBTQ+ health and one day see Third Space DFW as a physical location.