Tuesday, November 11, 2008

shepard fairey gets his ten minutes

Wanner, Rene (2008, Nov. 5). Web poster exhibition- Shepard Fairey posters for Barack Obama.

Nicole Stamp's Hope is Taupe poster, and hope poster and copycats, from pageslap weblog.

Jacang Maher, J. & Warner, J. (2008, Aug. 29).
Shepard Fairey, creator of iconic Obama 'Hope' poster, arrested at DNC
. Denver Westword Blogs.

Village Voice. (n.d.). Spoofing Shepard Fairey's Obama "Hope" posters, where I first saw all this.

OK, so Shepard Fairey is at the top of the world; his first poster struck a nerve, and though he intended to give it away, someone almost immediately turned it over and sold it for big money on eBay. That was the original scandal, though it happened after he was arrested at the DMC (third article). The fact that he was mad at someone for using eBay to take him, was perhaps the first story that caught the public's eye, and I ran across it somewhere after trolling around, amazed at first encountering Wanner's article (top).

So my own personal timeline goes something like this: Stumble upon Voice article, read comments and find Wanner page, be overjoyed at stumbling upon landmark of modern graphic pop art collected in a single spot; research further to find out how Fairey had caught public eye, and how he had been arrested. Yesterday, btw, was offered by MoveOn a free sticker by Shepard Fairey- they are tossing his name around as if I already know it. I took it; it should arrive in 8-10 weeks.

Slowly I've been reacting to all of this. First, he reminds me a little of AW, getting the public's attention through stark, bold, simple color, the right perspective done the right way, though I'm surprised that, as I troll around on good macs and little dell pc, it's really quite different on each. He is also like AW in believing in getting his work out there in vast quantities, not so concerned about the profit from each. It sort of follows (at least it did in AW's case) that if you become famous, all your artifacts become valuable anyway; might as well see to it that you rake in the fame first. Finally, the graphic artist obviously has an important role to play in the making of political change. In fact, I think everyone had a role in this one, right down to the tiniest blogger (thank you), but, S.F. played a major role here, and I think he's getting some duly earned fame.

Then, finally, here he is in NYC in a graphic studio, producing stuff much like AW. Brings up a few questions: do people make enough money doing this to support such a studio, or was his pre-fame life a little on the edge? Is NYC the capital of the graphic arts world, due to AW's footsteps, or patterns put in place long before AW? Does a studio like SF's attract the great visionary graphic artists of our time, from small towns across the USA? Just curious.