The Political Art of Shepard Fairey

With so much attention being paid to the U.S. election this week – both within U.S. borders and beyond – I wanted to shed a little light on one artist behind one of the most iconic political posters of our time: the Obama Hope poster. Many of you will be familiar with it. During the U.S. presidential election of 2008, It became the symbol of support for Barack Obama around the globe. Plastered on the sides of buildings by Obama supporters from all walks of life, sent out in flyers and printed on full-page ads in newspapers, the poster became a symbol for the change so many Americans were hungry for.

It was designed by Shepard Fairey, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design who has been creating groundbreaking street art, posters and stickers since the early 1990s. The Obama Hope poster was my first exposure to this graphic designer and I quickly became smitten by his creations. I admire their restricted but bold colour palettes, the simplicity and power of their messages and the intricacy of their detail.

Fairey has been called a modern-day Andy Warhol, siphoning media messages and current events into his work and then distilling the idea into one powerful image. Over the years he has been commissioned to design magazine covers, album covers and book covers. His art is featured in the Smithsonian, The Los Angeles Museum of Art, the MOMA in New York, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., and the Victoria & Albert Museum of Art and Design in London. At just 41 years-old, he is among America’s most recognized and celebrated graphic designers.

I highly recommend his book Obey: Supply & Demand, The Art of Shepard Fairey. You can also visit his webiste, Obey, to purchase any number of his limited edition posters, stickers, postcards and t-shirts.


All artwork by Shepard Fairey

 

Andrew Ritchie is the creator of Martha Moments, a blog devoted to Martha-Stewart related content and her community of supporters. He lives and works in Toronto, Canada, and has been a longtime friend of Brent & Josh, Beekman 1802 and Sharon Springs. Each week he’ll scour the world (wide web) to find the 5 most beautiful things to inspire you. Follow Andrew on Pinterest.

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