28 January 2017

Shepard Fairey: Warning or an Endorsement?

Shepard Fairey is the street artist for the famous Obama-Hope posters popularized during the 2008 election. The poster became part of the permanent collection at the US National Portrait Gallery. After perusing his works in the Shepard Fairey gallery, was he spoofing Obama or endorsing him, was it an artful warning? Such is the Riefenstahlian dilemma.

It appears he was sincere in his Obama endorsement in 2008, but has since become disillusioned with the two-party system. His theme got hijacked and is now a disarmed popularized style. No doubt good for his pocketbook, but not consistent with the original artistic theme. Then there was the AP lawsuit which is now settled.

Now with Obama out of office, looks like Fairey may be back in vogue. Sales of George Orwell’s 1984 are up [Fairey did the book cover], and Fairey’s posters were widely seen at the Women’s mach.

George Orwell's '1984' hits bestseller list again
25 Jan 2017
2017 has been "doubleplusgood" for sales of George Orwell's "1984." The famed dystopian novel of life in a totalitarian state sat at No. 6 on Amazon's bestseller list Tuesday morning. The novel's newfound popularity comes several days after White House press secretary Sean Spicer argued defiantly that Trump's swearing-in Friday drew the largest-ever audience for an inauguration "period," despite obvious photo and statistical evidence to the contrary. Senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway later defended that argument by saying Spicer's false claims were actually "alternative facts." That phrasing was reminiscent of Orwell's "Ministry of Truth," which, he wrote, concerns itself with "lies."

'Hope' poster creator says he's run out of hope for Obama
29 May 2015
Shepard Fairey says he's run out of hope for President Barack Obama. Fairey is a street artist who is behind the designs for the clothing line OBEY, was featured in the Banksy documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop" and is most known for designing Obama's famous "Hope" poster. Fairey designed the poster for Obama's 2008 campaign and it became the optimistic symbol of his presidential campaign. When Esquire asked Fairey if Obama lived up to his "Hope" poster, Fairey responded, "Not even close." Fairey told Esquire that he never thought Obama would compromise on issues such as drones and domestic spying.

Obama 'Hope' poster artist Shepard Fairey fined
07 Sep 2012
The US artist who created the well-known "Hope" poster featuring President Barack Obama has been given two years probation and fined $25,000 (£15,000) in a criminal contempt case. He had based his poster on an AP photo and later tried to hide the evidence. Mr Fairey was spared jail but will do 300 hours of community service. The case was settled out of court before a decision was reached, with Mr Fairey agreeing to pay an undisclosed amount of compensation and the two sides agreeing to share the rights to make posters and merchandise bearing the "Hope" image.

Associated Press sues retailers over iconic Obama image
11 Mar 2011
The Associated Press has sued several retailers including Urban Outfitters for the unauthorized use of the Hope image created by artist Shepard Fairey. Street artist Fairey used the photo, taken by Mannie Garcia in 2006, when he created his Hope artwork during Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. Fairey sued AP in 2009, seeking a declaration he had not violated its copyright with his iconic image. AP then counter-sued, saying he had done so through his uncredited and uncompensated use of its picture. The deal agreed in January called for both sides to work together with the image and share future rights to merchandise based on it. 

"Hope" Artist Shepard Fairey Not Pleased With Obama's Performance
In creating his now iconic Obama "Hope" poster, Shepard Fairey went from being a cult street art figure to an artist synonymous with Barack Obama’s revolutionary 2008 presidential campaign. But the artist, whose stylized portrait was emblematic of change, said he hasn't been wowed by Obama's performance in the White House thus far. “Obama is to me a quality human being and someone that, given the limitations of the two-party system, that’s trying to do a good job. The two-party system is not yielding the results I want to see.”

Obama poster artist Shepard Fairey is arrested on tagging charges
08 Feb 2009
Fairey was arrested Friday night in Boston on his way to the Institute of Contemporary Art to DJ at a sold-out party kicking off his first solo exhibition, “Supply and Demand.” Two arrest warrants had been issued Jan. 24 after police determined that he had tagged property in two locations with his street art campaign featuring Andre the Giant and the word "obey," said Boston police officer James Kenneally.

Copyright battle over Obama image
05 Feb 2009
The Associated Press is claiming compensation for the use of one of its photographs to create the most iconic image of Barack Obama. Speaking in an interview with the BBC World Service before the copyright row erupted, he said he was more accustomed to making negative posters of politicians, but was inspired to create a positive image of Barack Obama when he heard him speak at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

After the Obama poster, Mad Magazine spoofs the style 

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