Six days and counting till Barack Obama‘s Presidential Inauguration. Leaving political positions aside for a sec, the Obama Campaign has released this official inauguration poster, available for those who donate through Obama’s website.
The poster was created by ‘street artist’ and illustrator Shepard Fairey, the dude behind the original Hope portrait that resonated with voters across the US last summer (and it could be argued, bystanders around the globe). Should probably point out that Fairey didn’t develop the iconic Obama logo design – that honor went to Sender LLC (there’s a few videos and some back story at the link). You can read more about Shepard Fairey at his website, Obey Giant.
There’s also a great interview over at Creativity Online that discusses the Hope series with Fairey and explores the political positioning behind the graphics. Seems that Fairey created the illustration on his own accord, and it wasn’t until the Obama campaign team received a ton of feedback about the design, that they contacted Fairey for some sanctioned work. When the prints were first released, Fairey was actually worried that his artwork would be ‘off message’ for the campaign.
This gave me a chuckle too. When Barack Obama used the phrase “mutt” in his November acceptance speech, animal activists took notice. One, Pia Salk of Adopt A Pet wanted to use Obama’s message to aid shelter animals and asked Fairey to help. That resulted in a limited edition run of 400 signed-and-numbered silk-screen prints featuring an image of Fairey’s childhood dog Honey (above right) with all proceeds will be used to help save shelter animals across the country. Where I sit, the whole thing has a terribly nice vibe.
But as we’re talking about the Obama Inauguration poster, let’s get back to that, shall we? As usual, and with political matters, there are some opposing points-of-view. Some go as far as to accuse Fairey of constant plagiarism. Folks on the right, no doubt still smarting over the election results, see the poster as a cynical fund-raising effort. Right wing pundit, Michelle Malkin sees the poster as Obama peddling $20 schlock and just another example of Team Obama ‘money grubbing’. However, according to the Obama website, the rationale for the poster sale goes as follows:
We’re organizing the most open and accessible inauguration in our nation’s history. Your support will be crucial to making that possible, as we’re not accepting donations from PACs, federally registered lobbyists, or corporations.
In any case, if you’re interested in picking up the poster, you can get it here (for a donation of twenty bucks or more).