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Posters and Election Propaganda

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

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Posted by Steven Seidman at 12:20PM   |  1 comment
Shepard Fairey, Cover Rolling Stone [Based on a photograph by Pablo Martinez Monsivals/AP Images] (August 20, 2009 issue)

Shepard Fairey is at it again, taking an Associated Press photograph of Barack Obama, and creating a new image of the president, which is displayed on the cover of the August 20th issue of Rolling Stone magazine.

Fairey’s three 2008 poster designs—sloganed “Hope,” “Progress,” and “Change”—were the most influential and iconic of the hundreds created in support of Obama, with the “Hope” poster the most ubiquitous. Fairey, a guerrilla street artist who has been frequently arrested for tagging private and public property with graffiti without obtaining permission, transformed a news photograph, taken of Obama during the campaign, into a stenciled portrait, accompanied by the “Hope” slogan, which also appeared virally on countless car bumpers, coffee mugs, T-shirts, and Web sites, with more than 300,000 copies of the poster sold. Others used computer plug-ins and tutorials to create their own versions of Fairey’s design. 

His red-white-and-pale-blue work on the cover of Rolling Stone depicts Obama as deep in thought, with what appears to be a halo of stars and a seal around his head. The seal reads "Will he take bold action or compromise too easily?" According to an article in the NY Daily News, the artist stated that he did not mean to show a halo; rather, there is just a presidential seal behind him. Fairey also said that he did not mean to be critical of the president: "It's one thing to be running for president and it's another to be President and I think this new illustration that I did hopefully captures the complexity and the weight of his new role," he declared.

[Thanks to Rebecca Borowski and Gordon Stewart III for alerting me to the story in the NY Daily News.]

1 Comment

Fairey is a smart man, he knows what he's doing. I think it should be more clearly conveyed though how Obama and Co. Left Fairey high and dry in the case against him for using the AP photo.

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