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Posters and Election Propaganda

A blog dedicated to the examination of communications in election campaigns, with a focus on posters

Tagged as “guerrilla art”

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Posted by Steven Seidman at 12:25PM   |  Add a comment
Shepard Fairey and his "Progress" Poster (http://www.bloomberg.com)

Guerrilla artist Shepard Fairey's posters, done in support of Barack Obama's candidacy for the U.S. presidency,  won the Brit Insurance Design of the Year 2009 contest, which was organized by the Design Museum of London.

Fairey's posters triumphed over 90 other designs.

Fairey was praised by the judges for designing posters that “breathed new life into a form that had lost its purpose,” and because the posters “came not from a marketing campaign, but as a self-initiated fundraising campaign.”

Some other awards—in individual categories—included the following:

Interactive: Make Magazine, which covered home kits to make technology projects easily.

Fashion: Italian Vogue’s “Black Issue,”  which pictured four black models on the cover and was devoted exclusively to successful black women.

Product: Singgih S. Kartono, who designed the Magno Wooden Radio, which was made of local, sustainable materials in an Indonesian village.

Architecture: Snohetta, for designing Norway's New Oslo Opera House.

Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=email_en&refer=muse&sid=aw6fyV9zlHpA


Posted by Steven Seidman at 10:14AM   |  2 comments
Shepard Fairey, "Arm Yourself," Ad for Saks Fifth Avenue (Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company)

Saks Fifth Avenue hired guerilla artist Shepard Fairey recently to design advertisements, catalog covers, and shopping bags. Fairey became famous as the designer of several posters of Barack Obama during his run for the U.S. presidency, one of which was sold on Obama's Web site.

As with the Obama poster creations, Fairey's commercial work is influenced by Soviet Constructivist Art from the 1920s and 1930s, especially the work of Alexander Rodchenko, who combined photographic images, slanted perspectives, and bright, primary colors. He also borrows from the Bauhaus School, whose artists frequently used diagonal lines and lettering. These influences are evident in Fairey's ad for a slouchy bag, for example, which features an angled model with a raised fist—indicating that she is for the "rights of the people" as well as "arming" herself with a slouchy bag—along with red areas and white diagonal lines.

All of Fairey's work is propaganda, but in the best sense: it's goal is to influence an audience's emotions to promote a product, often inspiring viewers. According to Terron Schaefer, senior vice president for marketing at Saks, as quoted in The New York Times: "What we do very day, really, is propaganda." All advertising can be considered propaganda, of course. But I think that Fairey's comment about his work for Saks (also quoted in The New York Times) is more on the money when he stated that his goal was just to get attention.


Posted by Steven Seidman at 12:34PM   |  Add a comment
Abraham Obama Tour, August 2008


Guerrilla pop-artist Ron English has produced illegal billboards ("Phatfood," "The Cancer Kid," and "Fox News. We Deceive. You Believe."), as well as posters that have been exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Paris and the Whitney Museum in New York.

English claims to have "pirated" numerous billboards over the last two decades, substituting his "subvertisements" for the existing advertisements. He is also the author of the 2004 book, Popaganda, The Art and Subversion of Ron English.

For this year's U.S. presidential campaign, he created the "Abraham Obama" poster—a fusion of the faces of Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama. He then made a nationwide tour, putting up "Abrama" murals in Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and finally in Denver, the site of the Democratic National Convention.

Some have found English's creation to be "awesome"; others have thought it to be "offensive," favoring "symbolism over substance."

What do you think?

 

 

In any case, take a look at the video of the "Abraham Obama" billboard being pasted-up in Boston:


 

And there's a news report on the controversy surrounding English's guerrilla-marketing campaign. Click on the link below, which will take you to YouTube (since embedding was disabled for this clip):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mrnYa5-0T0&feature=related

English has a great Web site, on which one can find dozens of examples of his "popaganda." Check it out at:

http://www.popaganda.com/index.shtml 


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