Shepard Fairey, HOPE, 2008. Courtesy of EHC Fine Art.

Shepard Fairey: Barack Obama

“I wanted strong. I wanted wise, but not intimidating,” Shepard Fairey said of his iconic poster design for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Set in Fairey’s signature graphic style with a patriotic palette of red, white, and blue, the portrait portrays Obama looking into the distance with a sense of hopeful determination. The street artist based this expression on a photograph of the candidate, taken by Mannie Garcia two years prior, that he discovered through a Google Image Search. Fairey is said to have completed the poster design in a single day, and he began selling the posters on the street himself before Super Tuesday. The image quickly went viral and became inseparable from the campaign, featured on t-shirts, bumper stickers, buttons, and more.

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