Shepard Fairey Changes Unpopular 'Occupy Hope' Poster Under Pressure

Occupy_HOPE1.jpg
Fairey's original design
Shepard Fairey caught quite a bit of flak recently for making an Occupy Wall Street poster in the image of his famous Obama "Hope" design. That kind of thing is anathema to OWS, a movement that prides itself on not aligning with either political party. Fairey has publicly supported the movement; he told Gallerist NY that "The people from Occupy Wall Street aren't rabble rousers. They think democracy has failed them and they are using rights that we theoretically have in this country, because they don't have the power that corporations do, with lobbyists and other kinds of tools. It's not a level playing field."

But OWS'ers weren't happy with the poster, which treads a little too far into the political mainstream for their taste.

A nameless OWS organizer wrote to Fairey:

Unfortunately, as it stands now, I myself and several other organizers cannot in any way be connected to this design. The 99% movement is wholly non-partisan and we have been repeatedly attacked as being a front for Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. Our movement is about uniting people, from all different walks of life and all different political viewpoints, against the global financial elite who have bought control of our government through campaign finance, lobbying and the revolving door.

As Obama has raised more money from Wall Street than any other candidate in history, it would make us naive hypocrites to support him under present circumstances. I have written many investigative reports on our economic crisis, I know the situation very well from a policy perspective. All hope was lost with Obama as soon as he picked Tim Geithner as his Treasury Secretary. He also made Larry Summers his lead economic advisor and Bill Daley his Chief of Staff. He even supported the reconfirmation of the Bush-chosen Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. You cannot have a worse group of people when it comes to the economic destruction of the US. Geithner, Summers and Bernanke have made a career out of exploiting the 99%.

Occupy-HOPE2.jpg
Fairey's revised design
Fairey responded:

I get everything you are saying. I don't agree with all of it, but I appreciate it. I get that the Occupy movement is non-partisan. I see a conflict for you and the movement there. However, my poster is not in any way a re-elect Obama poster. I have zero contact with the Obama campaign. I am disappointed with many aspects of Obama's presidency and I am far from an unconditional Obama supporter. The round logo I made is not Obama's O logo. His O uses curved stripes and a white sun. The stripes in my 99% logo are straight. I saw my 99% logo as subverting his logo more than amplifying it. I wanted a patriotic frame for the 99% logo to assert that the Occupy movement IS patriotic. The use of the word HOPE is more saying that Occupy is the greatest Hope we now have, but it would be great if Occupy pushed Obama in the right direction. You may find any appeal to Obama to support Occupy as unrealistic, but I have always believed in working EVERY angle. I've called it the "inside/outside strategy" for many years. Outsider activism is where I come from, but outsider elitism is incredibly unhealthy because it excludes moderates.

Fairey still tweaked the poster to remove any overtly Obama-referencing stuff. Now it looks...well, pretty much the same, actually.

[rgray@villagevoice.com] [@_rosiegray]

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10 comments
William King
William King

fuck 'em Shepard. you are an artist, and these bullshit artists are hypocrites for exerting any pressure upon you.  love you in http://www.imdb.com/title/tt15... .  if you ever in indiana, i'll do you better than mr. brainwash. 

B. L. Mei (Mei)
B. L. Mei (Mei)

Shepard Fairey's famous Obama Hope design was not the artistic design that catapulted Shepard into stardom. And as far as Fairey's Occupy Hope picture goes ..SO WHAT?!? Americans in general can be incredibly uptight and judgemental without first having all the facts, save their own personal conclusions and caddy thoughts.

Y.F.
Y.F.

Guy Fawkes Night originates from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a failed conspiracy by a group of provincial English Catholics to assassinate the Protestant King James I of England and replace him with a Catholic head of state. Guy Fawkes was caught guarding the gun powder and sent to prison. Later on this day was known and celebrated as Gunpowder Treason Day, and later on Pope Day. What does this have to do with President Obama?, I don’t have a clue. While I admire the cause behind the “Occupy Movement” and Shepard Fairey’s art, I think this new piece is damaging to President Obama’s image because if gives the false sense that he is a criminal and that acts of violence are justified, which is not true or right by any means and which our President would never support. I don’t think the historical context of Guy Fawkes applies to the “Occupy Movement”.  The “Occupy Movement” is a peaceful demonstration of the people exercising their rights, not using violence and crime to justify wanting, well, social justice. So as an American, I think Mr. Fairey’s painting is wrong and offensive to our President. I think he should have been more careful and educated about this, especially when President Obama was the first one who supported him and catapulted his career with the campaign posters he created with his image. He could have shown his support without being disrespectful or controversial just to get another 15 seconds of fame. Not cool :o/!

tweeter
tweeter

Shepard Fairey is an uncreative piece of garbage, MAKE A NEW IMAGE AT LEAST DUMBASS instead of recycling yr old shit and co-opting a guy fawkes image that someone else drew

Faith Oftadeh
Faith Oftadeh

I think Fairey made a rather bold move by re-creating, or shall I say, merely swapping images, of the Obama 'Hope' graphic into a graphic representing such a large global movement started by the Occupy Wall street protestors. I can't blame those who immediately deduce that this image had to be anchored to the Obama 2012 campaign, given that Fairey does know that his Obama graphic in 2008 was basically the symbol for young voters during the election. Also, I would think that Fairey would have made a completely distinct graphic representing the 99% theme of OWS.  But at the end of the day, we should bear in mind that this movement is not just based on who hates who and what president wronged us the most. I think it revolves around the long overdrawn injustice in our country which is spread across all forms of government.  It's been far too long that we've allowed autocracy within congress, corporate control over government while lobbying remains legal, the unwarranted tax cut on the rich while the majority of Americans remain jobless and underpaid, the rise in costs for education and the inability for high school graduates to even apply for college and paying off a war that most Americans either didn't understand or didn't support. A graphic made by an acknowledged artist shouldn't cause any debate, since part of the goal should be to raise awareness and draw attention to the problems most are indifferent towards or simply unaware. I think the biggest hurdle the 99% movement faces is the 98% who are instilled with the false idea that they are not the 99% and are not seeing the issues at hand. If Fairey's graphic or any other artist's graphic, photo, video, or presence can help communicate these issues to the public, nothing bad can come from it. Any effort made to spread the word amongst different groups of people is good. We all like and respect different people, so the message needs to be spread in different ways. The movement needs to stop bickering with itself and start bickering with the people in charge that got us into this mess.

I stand by everyone who is trying to make an effort to allow these people to be heard.

HurdyGurdy
HurdyGurdy

Get over the Guy Fawkes stuff already. We don't need a modern movie character and a vaguely-understood English historical figure representing the Occupation any more than we need a lazy Obama-lite poster from Shepard Fairey.

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

I like both versions and understood Fairey's intent when looking at the first one.

Artoo45
Artoo45

". . . outsider elitism is incredibly unhealthy because it excludes moderates." Exactly.

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