A street artist famous for his red, white and blue “Hope” posters of President Obama has been arrested in Boston on two outstanding warrants.
Shepard Fairey was in Boston on Friday night for an event kicking off his exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art.
Police said they had warrants on Fairey from last month after he allegedly tagged property in Boston with graffitti based on his Andre the Giant street art campaign.
But wait, there’s more! Fairey is also a plagiarist.
Most well known for his “Obey Giant” street posters, Shepard Fairey has carefully nurtured a reputation as a heroic guerilla street artist waging a one man campaign against the corporate powers-that-be. Infantile posturing aside, Fairey’s art is problematic for another, more troubling reason – that of plagiarism.
Lincoln Cushing, Josh MacPhee, and Favianna Rodriguez, worked closely with me on researching this article, having initially brought Fairey’s plagiarism to my attention. Cushing is an art historian and author of Revolución: Cuban Poster Art, Visions of Peace & Justice, and Chinese Posters: Art from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Josh MacPhee is an artist, activist and author of Stencil Pirates: A Global Survey of the Street Stencil, and Favianna Rodriguez is an artist, activist and Chicana print maker. Their invaluable research and documentation provides the foundation for most of what appears in this article.
What initially disturbed me about the art of Shepard Fairey is that it displays none of the line, modeling and other idiosyncrasies that reveal an artist’s unique personal style. His imagery appears as though it’s xeroxed or run through some computer graphics program; that is to say, it is machine art that any second-rate art student could produce.
In fact, I’ve never seen any evidence indicating Fairey can draw at all. Even the art of Andy Warhol, reliant as it was upon photography and mass commercial imagery, displayed passages of gestural drawing and flamboyant brushstrokes.
And we’re not done yet! Fairey is also accused of copyright infringement.
On buttons, posters and Web sites, the image was everywhere during last year’s presidential campaign: A pensive Barack Obama looking upward, as if to the future, splashed in a Warholesque red, white and blue and underlined with the caption HOPE.
Designed by Shepard Fairey, a Los-Angeles based street artist, the image has led to sales of hundreds of thousands of posters and stickers, has become so much in demand that copies signed by Fairey have been purchased for thousands of dollars on eBay.
The image, Fairey has acknowledged, is based on an Associated Press photograph, taken in April 2006 by Manny Garcia on assignment for the AP at the National Press Club in Washington.
The AP says it owns the copyright, and wants credit and compensation. Fairey disagrees.
“The Associated Press has determined that the photograph used in the poster is an AP photo and that its use required permission,” the AP’s director of media relations, Paul Colford, said in a statement.
“AP safeguards its assets and looks at these events on a case-by-case basis. We have reached out to Mr. Fairey’s attorney and are in discussions. We hope for an amicable solution.”
Of course, it’s no secret that the Democrats actively court the criminal demographic, whether or not they’re actually eligible to vote.
Undaunted by the heat, James Bailey spent his late-summer afternoons walking Virginia’s bleakest neighborhoods on the hunt for ex-cons — each a potential voter who might cast the decisive ballot in this hotly contested state.
Finding them isn’t the hard part. It’s getting them to admit that a past mistake has kept them from the ballot box.
“People are really, really reluctant to say, ‘I lost my rights to vote,'” Bailey said of his quest, which continued in the run-up to Monday’s registration deadline in Virginia for the November election.
Nationally, there are roughly 4 million released felons whose convictions have cost them the right to vote at least temporarily, if not permanently. To return to the ballot box, felons must negotiate suffrage laws that vary from state to state, in many cases working with election officials who can be both unfamiliar with the law and hostile to former convicts seeking to register.
Or mention that the Obama campaign paid ACORN $800,000 to “get-out-the-vote”?
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign paid more than $800,000 to an offshoot of the liberal Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now for services the Democrat’s campaign says it mistakenly misrepresented in federal reports.
An Obama spokesman said Federal Election Commission reports would be amended to show Citizens Services Inc. — a subsidiary of ACORN — worked in “get-out-the-vote” projects, instead of activities such as polling, advance work and staging major events as stated in FEC finance reports filed during the primary.
Or mention that ACORN is under investigation for voter fraud in at least 14 States?
This year’s election is shaping up to be one of the most controversial in history. Just this week, a federal judge ordered Ohio’s top elections official to verify the identity of newly registered voters by matching them with other government documents. The very next day a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals set aside the federal judge’s order on verifying registrations.
Further igniting the voter fraud/voter registration debate was the news that a national community organizing group is being investigated in at least 14 states and several swing states for massive irregularities. This news would make headlines anyway, but what made it worse was that Barack Obama was a key player in this organization, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, in the past. Obama trained its local leaders, represented the organization in court, and worked to funnel funds to the organization. The Obama campaign also donated $800,000 this year to an ACORN affiliate.
Filed under: Blog Entry Tagged: | ACORN, Andre the Giant, Associated Press, Barack Obama, Boston, Census, Contemporary Art, Copyright Infringement, Crime, Democrats, Favianna Rodriguez, Felons, Graffiti, Hope, Josh MacPhee, Lincoln Cushing, Mark Vallen, Plagiarism, Shepard Fairey, Tagging, Vandalism, Voter Fraud