Friday, February 08, 2008

And what do you mean by that...

Shepard Fairey's hugely successful poster of Barack Obama, not the one above, tagged with the word PROGRESS, but the first one in the series, punctuated with the word OBEY (and successful in terms of generating both media coverage and massive sales for Fairey) seemed vague in meaning when it first dropped. Was it an endorsement of the man and his politics, or a sly critique of the "cult of Obama" that has sprung up around the candidate for change? Or was it an even deeper critique of the bone-deep corruption of the American political system, and the fact that we are all sheep complicit in keeping the apparatus humming? Fairey has since made it clear on his website that he's a huge fan of Obama and supports his candidacy. Yesterday, as I walked home from the market, a local artist smacked a couple of freshly made stickers in my hand and told me with a smile, "Put them up anywhere you can!" The stickers featured Fairey's face rendered in the style that he's appropriated and become rich and famous for, with the word FRAUD stamped just beneath his chin. In smaller letters was the sentence, "Shepard Fairey is a plagiarist." (For the record, I know the artist who passed me the sticker and he is a HUGE Obama fan, so I know that his motives were not ulteriorly about dissing the politician.) Anyway, at the link below is a very interesting, informative essay on Fairey and his art.

Shepard Fairey

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