shepard fairey copycat

Shepard Fairey of Obey design made a poster for the Barack Obama campaign.

The poster was for sale at the obama website, but is sold out ( print run of 5000). I noticed the prices are throught the roof on ebay. Originally sold for $70,- they now fetch at least 200 bucks. Now that's change we can believe in :)

It is a nice enough poster as far as the image is concerned. The iconic value is pretty dubious though, since the aestethics rely heavily on leftwing propaganda. As a poster said: "Good grief, where did this guy study -- the Joseph Stalin Art Institute? This stuff looks absolutely Soviet."
The cause is a worthy one though but the price is too steep for me.

Googling for poster info I came across this interesting article by Mark Vallen. The article points at the plagiarism that is very obvious in the work of Obey (Fairey).
The proof Vallen gives in his examples Vallen can't be denied. This is plagiarism (or nothing is). I am not that familiar with the work of Obey, though I have come across it many times (led zeppelin cover etc). I am not that big a fan (I have seen work like this that is better) , but the blatant stealing of iconic anti-establishment imagery makes obey fall from grace. Although stealing, reproducing, copying and lending is an old phenomenon in protest movements (see Che) I guess every generation gets the protest-imagery it deserves. The thing that bugs me most is that Obey is not a protest movement but a successful design agency (critcally acclaimed). In other words; I can't blame the guy in black, with the dirty ropey hair and the lousy dogs for not coming up with anything more original than using 80's squat lingo, but I can blame Fairey for deliberately stealing images of better and more original artists without giving them credit. Most of all I blame him for making dangerous art harmless by making it "nice looking".
The only credit I give him is that he made a poster for Obama. Though I am getting seriously suspicious about the retro look of the poster. I am sure we'll find out that was a rip-off as well in the future. It is obviously "inspired" by propaganda and the psychedelic sixties (see earlier posts about Griffin, Grimshaw and others), as is all of his work. Since all the images that can be seen here are oviously copied I guess the (style of) the Obama poster must be aswell. Seems the lot of the work just has the word "obey" pasted into it.

I like this image below graphically, but the title (the title is on the guitar) is stolen from the words on the guitar of my hero Woody Guthrie.


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