Pop Art Goes Political

While Fairey remains obsessed with subversive propaganda, his work is now less oblique -- his Obama posters were the defining image of the 2008 election.

BY Jessica Hundley

January 05 2009 12:00 AM ET

Street artist Shepard Fairey has come a long way since his Andre the Giant days. His obey stickers—black-and-white images of the wrestler -- became a ubiquitous sight on billboards and buildings in the early part of this decade. While Fairey remains obsessed with subversive propaganda, his work is now less oblique -- his Obama posters were the defining image of the 2008 election. Carrying messages of hope and progress, the posters were seen everywhere from front lawns to Facebook to the JumboTron on Madonna’s tour.

Fairey’s jubilation over Obama’s election was soured by the passing of California’s Proposition 8. In response, the straight artist, now 39, created another poster that is becoming almost as iconic -- a fist raised with the words defend equality above the hand, and the phrase love unites below. “I never thought Prop. 8 would pass,” says Fairey. “When we become authenticity police for love, we’re on really shaky ground.”

Tags: Art

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