NEWS///THE ART OF POLITICS…

April 16, 2008  |  art, Art & Commerce, Politiks, Shepard Fairey

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THE ART OF POLITICS
By ROB WALKER
SOURCE: NYTimes Published: April 13, 2008

Whether or not Barack Obama would make a good president, it’s clear that he makes an excellent muse. It’s hard to think of a political candidate in recent memory who has, in real time, inspired so much creativity, exercised free of charge and for the campaign’s benefit. Perhaps this suggests something about Obama—or maybe it suggests something about his supporters. The examples are many. One of the most prominent is the limited-edition print created by the Los Angeles artist Shepard Fairey in January. Fairey is best known as the creator of the “Obey Giant” imagery that, beginning in 1989, spread on city streets around the world by way of posters, stickers and stencils. Fairey made a brief statement when he unveiled the portrait, noting his “great conviction that Barack Obama should be the next President.” Poster sales, he added, would underwrite “a large statewide poster campaign.” In addition to popping up on many streets, the image later made its way onto a T-shirt, created in collaboration with the San Francisco street-wear brand Upper Playground — and apparently onto the radar of the Obama campaign. The candidate himself sent a thank-you note, and his campaign had Fairey create a new poster that became the inaugural offering in an “Artists for Obama” section of the barackobama.com online store. Fairey told Creativity Online that while he has been politically active, there’s something new in the enthusiasm he now professes to feel. “I just thought it was time to stick my neck out,” he said. A variety of other artists READ ON...

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