The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
Protesters carry posters showing U.S. President Barack Obama as they rally in support of higher pay for low-wage earners outside the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, December 5, 2013.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CIVIL UNREST FOOD SOCIETY) - RTX1658I Protesters carry posters showing U.S. President Barack Obama as they rally in support of higher pay for low-wage earners outside the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CIVIL UNREST FOOD SOCIETY) - RTX1658I  

Artist Behind Iconic ‘Hope’ Poster Describes How He Gave Obama ‘Gravitas’

Shepard Fairey, the street artist who created the now-iconic Obama HOPE poster appeared on Marc Maron’s podcast the other day. When asked how he went about it, the artist responded thusly:

Basically, I looked at Obama’s obstacles. That he was, you know, unproven — that he was seen as a rookie. So I looked at sculpture and photographs of politicians that had seemed to elevate them — make them seem legitimate. There’s the Kennedy looking up with vision. There’s Lincoln on the five dollar bill. There’s all sorts of statues. I thought, how can I make an illustration of Obama that turns him into a two-dimensional sculpture that looks like he has gravitas — vision? And I also have to make it stylized and visualized and iconic — but it can’t look quasi-Soviet propaganda, like a lot of my other stuff, it has to feel patriotic. So I used red, white, and blue. And I searched on Google images for an image that I thought would be the right thing to illustrate from, out of thousands of images out there … So I did the illustration and amplified a few things, and minimized a few things that I thought were unflattering … [Bold mine.]

I think we’d all agree that it worked. As has been said, the best propaganda is that which appears not to be propaganda.

Listen to the whole podcast here.