Fairey Obama Poster
|Picture Taken On:
On April 27, 2006 Mannie Garcia took the photo on left. In early 2008 Shepard Fairey made his poster.
Obama at the National Press Club in Washington
|Behind the Camera:
Mannie Garcia took the photo Fairey made the poster
Last Updated on 2012-9-10
by Dean Lucas
When Obama was just starting his presidential campaign Fairey became inspired to create an image that would help the Obama's presidential run. Mindful of the damage a "street" artist could do supporting a mainstream candidate Fairey asked advice from his associate, Yosi Sergant, a marketing/publicity guru who had ties to the Obama campaign. Yosi was able to get the go ahead from Obama's people and after an Internet image search found one that he thought would be perfect. He made the poster in one day and sent it to Yosi who gave it a green light. This original poster had the word PROGRESS on the bottom. Immediately he did a run of 700 posters which he split giving 350 away and selling the other 350 to make money to do another run. The first run quickly sold out paying for a second edition of 4,000 posters that was given away at Obama rallies. The second run had the word PROGRESS changed to HOPE at the behest of the Obama campaign. In an interview with blogger Ben Arnon from the Huffington Post Fairey and Sergant recall what happened next:
Following the adage that the best defence is a good offence Fairey filed a lawsuit on February 9, 2009 against The Associated Press (AP) to declare that his Obama poster is protected from AP copyright infringement claims because the poster falls under "Fair Use Laws". On NPR’s Fresh Air radio program Fairey had this to say:
On October 16, 2009 Fairey admitted that yes he had knowingly used the AP photo and had destroyed evidence to cloud that fact. In the ongoing lawsuit in April of 2010 a Judge ordered Fairey to say who if anyone helped destroy evidence that the AP photo was the one Fairey based the Obama poster on. U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ordered Fairey’s lawyers to "disclose relevant documents that were deleted or destroyed from Fairey's files and when the deletions or destruction occurred."
Further complicating the issue is that Mannie Garcia claims that its not AP that has copyright but him. He claims that his contract with the AP gave him copyright over all his photos. However when asked how he felt about the image he said that "so proud of the photograph and that Fairey did what he did artistically with it, and the effect it’s had," but that he did not "condone people taking things, just because they can, off the Internet."
In January of 2011 "The Associated Press, Shepard Fairey and Mr. Fairey’s companies Obey Giant Art, Inc., Obey Giant LLC, and Studio Number One, Inc., have agreed in principle to settle their pending copyright infringement lawsuit over rights in the Obama Hope poster and related merchandise .. In settling the lawsuit, the AP and Mr. Fairey have agreed that neither side surrenders its view of the law." Also included in the settlement was a confidential financial payment.
In February of 2012 Fairey "pleaded guilty in Manhattan Federal Court on Friday to one count of criminal contempt for destroying documents, manufacturing evidence and other misconduct." In September of 2012 he was sentenced in a Manhattan federal court, for tampering with evidence, to two years of probation and a $25,000 fine.
Frank Shepard Fairey is an American graphic artist whose work is similar to the Warhol pop art scene. His art, brand and logo based on the "André the Giant" emerged from the skateboarding scene and now his brand and slogan OBEY has a clothing line and print collection. He is seen as sort of expert on graphic art and was interviewed in the Chevolution movie about the Che Guevara image. His Obama poster was included in the The Smithsonian and he has works also in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
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