The Shepard Fairey (Obey) image of Barack Obama has all the hallmarks of becoming as important in the art world as the man himself. Obey’s HOPE election poster was originally produced to help Barack Obama in his campaign to become the first black president of the United States of America.
First produced as a limited edition print with ‘PROGRESS’ as the title, this print soon caught the eye of the Barrack Obama election team and they contacted Obey and asked him if he would change the slogan to ‘HOPE’ as this fitted in closer with there president elect manifesto.
Shepard Fairey produced and distributed 300,000 Obama Hope stickers and 500,000 Obama Hope posters during the election campaign, taking the Obama image and spreading it globally.
Amidst the height of the election campaign Barack Obama found time to write to Shepard Fairey and thank him for his support.
“I would like to thank you for using your talent in support of my campaign. The political messages involved in your work have encouraged Americans to believe they can change the status-quo. Your images have a profound effect on people, whether seen in a gallery or on a stop sign. I am privileged to be a part of your artwork and proud to have your support”. - Barack Obama, February 22, 2008
January 2009 saw the HOPE Image acquired by the US National Portrait Gallery and became part of their permanent collection, other major galleries including The Smithsonian, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art (New York) and The Victoria and Albert Museum (London) also hold Obey’s work in their collection’s.
You Tube interview with Shepard Fairey discussing the Obama image.