Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Why So Serious?

The man responsible for the famous Obama "Hope" illustration chimes in on the above-right Obama poster, which has been appearing in cities across the country. From the LAT:

Shepard Fairey is all for free speech and creating a political dialogue. But the man who created the instantly recognizable posters for Barack Obama's presidential campaign has some choice words for the anonymous artist who made the Obama Joker artwork.

"I have my doubts about the person's intelligence," Fairey said on the phone from Pittsburgh. "It's not grammatically correct. It would be 'socialist' ... Obama is not Marx. He didn't create socialism."

Semantics aside, "I don't agree with the political content of the poster," Fairey said. "They don't realize that Medicaid is a socialist program." The federal Medicaid program, of course, predates the current administration by several decades.

It won't shock anybody that Fairey, the guy who churned out the artwork that some call "left-wing propaganda," doesn't get behind the idea of Obama being a socialist. But he does think the Joker poster is well done.

"The artwork is great in that it gets a point across really quickly," Fairey said. "The Joker is a sinister, evil character that can't be trusted. And if they want to make that parallel with Obama -- bam."

"A lot of these things are fueled by frustration," Fairey said. "Maybe they're frustrated and don't understand the whole situation."

But who is Fairey to criticize the nefarious Obama poster when he himself is responsible for numerous artworks that ...

... painted President Bush as the villain? "My frustration with Bush was fueled by a very clear understanding of what's going on," he asserted.

So, our "street artist" understands the intricacies of the political debate, but anyone who is worried that Obama is moving us toward socialism "doesn't understand the situation."

Please note, this is same man who produced the above-left Bush vampire image (which he says he now regrets). That image, by the way, was the cover of an issue of LA Weekly. This is the same publication that described the Obama/Joker image as such:

The poster, which bears a very superficial resemblance to Shepard Fairey's famous Obama Hope illustration, has been pasted on freeway supports and other public surfaces. It has a bit of everything to appeal to the drunk tank of California conservatism: Obama is in white face, his mouth (like Ledger's Joker's) has been grotesquely slit wide open and the word "Socialism" appears below his face. The only thing missing is a noose.

Big Hollywood correctly replies: the "only thing really missing is intellectual consistency."