Controversy-courting political street artist Shepard Fairey’s Occupy Wall Street poster may have been aiming to inspire hope, but it’s only resulted in annoyance so far. Fairey has changed his OWS poster, which borrows imagery from his 2008 Obama “Hope” poster, after organizers complained that his art was undermining their mission.
The second version (Shepard Fairey)
Fairey’s Obama poster became the iconic image of the 2008 campaign. A version of it is in the National Portrait Gallery’s collection. The image also became the subject of a lawsuit from the Associated Press, which owned the copyright to the photograph that inspired Fairey’s work. Though Fairey argued that his poster was covered under fair use, he also bungled his case by destroying evidence on his computer. Fairey and AP settled the suit.
His original Occupy Wall Street image cribs the style and form of the “Hope” poster, but puts one of Occupy’s ever-present Guy Fawkes masks in its place. Where Obama’s “O” logo was, a similar round logo says “We are the 99%.” Underneath, text reads: “Mister President we HOPE you’re on our side.” Fairey made the image independently, as a show of support for the movement.
The original version (Shepard Fairey)
The problem is that it’s the wrong kind of support. Occupy Wall Street isn’t affiliated with any politicians, as per their general assembly’s “Statement of Autonomy,” which states, “We wish to clarify that Occupy Wall Street is not and never has been affiliated with any established political party, candidate or organization. Our only affiliation is with the people.”