Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Shepard Fairey: more than Obama Hope?

Walking around DC neighborhoods such as the U Street Corridor one will inevitably see the famed Shepard Fairey image of Obama, and probably more than once. The strong image characterized in red and blue became an iconic symbol of the Obama campaign, and Obama didn't forget it. Obama, then Senator, personally thanked Fairey as told in an Art in America
article on Fairey.

"The political messages involved in your work have encouraged Americans to believe that they can help change the status-quo. Your images have a profound effect on people, whether seen in a gallery or on a stop sign.”

Indeed, the image became more than Fairey himself probably intended. Fairey even more unexpectedly found trouble brewing in his waters of "change"
when the actual AP pho-tog voiced out against the artist using her original photographic image for his now infamous print.
The image, now on display at the National Portrait Gallery, spurred hundreds of look-a-likes, and even (good grief) Facebook style replications.

The now iconic image has taken on a life of its own, and often passing by the actual artist behind it. Art in America presents a fantastic feature on the artist, giving credit where credit is due, and discussing more than just his Obama link. Posing the question; is Fairey just a creator of cultural significance, or is he a rare gem? a talented street artist able to transcend into the everyday without loosing his message?

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