It turns out that Obama, the manufactured candidate, was given his iconic campaign poster by a manufactured poster "artist" named Shepard Fairey, who has just formally admitted lying to a court to evade a lawsuit brought by AP. The news agency claimed that Fairey expropriated their photo as the basis for the famous HOPE poster. The Los Angeles Times reports:
In a strange twist to an already complicated legal situation, artist Shepard Fairey admitted today to legal wrongdoing in his ongoing battle with the Associated Press.
Fairey said in a statement issued late Friday that he knowingly submitted false images and deleted others in the legal proceedings, in an attempt to conceal the fact that the AP had correctly identified the photo that Fairey had used as a reference for his "Hope" poster of then-Sen. Barack Obama.
"Throughout the case, there has been a question as to which Mannie Garcia photo I used as a reference to design the HOPE image," Fairey said. "The AP claimed it was one photo, and I claimed it was another."
New filings to the court, he said, "state for the record that the AP is correct about which photo I used...and that I was mistaken. While I initially believed that the photo I referenced was a different one, I discovered early on in the case that I was wrong. In an attempt to conceal my mistake I submitted false images and deleted other images."
I am no expert, but I believe that knowingly misleading a court is a rather serious offense.
Fairey has a lot of other matters to address, all of which tend to indicate he is a big phony, just like the man he celebrates. The man who appropriates others' images does not like it when his are appropriated by others to make political points. The man who rose to fame via graffiti and made a bundle doesn't like it when others do it to his building. But worst of all, is damning evidence that Fairey is a serial plagiarist, compiled by Mike Vallen and associates. It seems that many of Fairey's iconic images were simply borrowed from others, modified very little, and put forth as his own work. An examination of the visual evidence supplied by Vallen is startling. He writes:
What initially disturbed me about the art of Shepard Fairey is that it displays none of the line, modeling and other idiosyncrasies that reveal an artist's unique personal style. His imagery appears as though it's xeroxed or run through some computer graphics program; that is to say, it is machine art that any second-rate art student could produce.
In fact, I've never seen any evidence indicating Fairey can draw at all. Even the art of Andy Warhol, reliant as it was upon photography and mass commercial imagery, displayed passages of gestural drawing and flamboyant brushstrokes.
Fairey has developed a successful career through expropriating and recontextualizing the artworks of others, which in and of itself does not make for bad art. [....]By contrast, Fairey simply filches artworks and hopes that no one notices - the joke is on you.
It is important to distinguish what Fairey does from the work of Big Fur Hat, familiar to many AT readers for his comic series The Obamas. When I asked BFH about the comparison, he wrote:
I never take a single iconish image, unaltered, and call it my own, or put it up for sale. If I use a borrowed image it is for parody, and everyone knows the image is "borrowed" because of its notoriety.
Imagery within the Obamas comics falls under fair use because it is being used within a bigger piece to create an entirely new piece. And the new piece is always parody - it's never an attempt to be considered serious fine art, as if I toiled away in my studio "creating." It's always comedy.
And I never include anything unaltered. Even if I get a pic of a secret service agent, I alter the nose, or do some such thing. This is apples and oranges.
Fairey and Obama are linked together by history and much else. Now that Fairey has admitted lying, it is time for Obama to release his college transcripts and vault copy of his birth certificate.