In creating his now iconic Obama "Hope" poster, Shepard Fairey went from being a cult street art figure to a artist synonymous with Barack Obama’s revolutionary 2008 presidential campaign.
But the artist, whose stylized portrait was emblematic of change, said he hasn't been wowed by Obama's performance in the White House thus far.
“Obama is to me a quality human being and someone that, given the limitations of the two-party system, that’s trying to do a good job,” Fairey told Niteside at a book signing at the Brooklyn Museum on Sunday.
“But I have to grade the whole thing on a curve because the two-party system to me is not yielding the results I want to see.”
Fairey, who is engaged in a lawsuit with the Associated Press over the use of one of the news agency's photos as a reference for the artist's iconic work, is pleased, however, with the role his art played in the Obama campaign.
“I’m very proud of the Obama poster … because it’s an image that showed that someone outside of mainstream politics, outside of corporate lobbyists could do something that affected what’s going on in politics,” Fairey said. “I think what really is the problem with the two-party system is that it’s very difficult for people without power to make a difference unless they try very hard. But the more people that do try, the easier it gets.”
While the Obama poster made him household name, the underground spirit of his Obey stickers and posters, which have been plastered around the world, is what endears Fairey to the work that initially made him a street art star.
“I’d say the grassroots, do-it-yourself ethos of the Obey campaign is what’s more important to me because it’s about doing something with very little resources and building a following and building a platform to communicate,” he said.