'Not Even Close': Creator Of The 'Hope' Poster Says Obama Hasn't Lived Up To His Message

| by Kathryn Schroeder
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The artist responsible for creating the famous Barack Obama “Hope” poster does not think the President has lived up to his 2008 message.

In an interview with Esquire magazine’s Matt Patches, street artist Shepard Fairey was asked whether he thinks Obama has “lived up to your 'Hope' poster?”

“Not even close,” Fairey answered.

Much of Fairey’s work is done without permission but the “Hope” poster was authorized by the Obama campaign in 2008 after Fairey showed an interest in creating something because he wanted Obama to win the election, The Washington Post reported.

"I put out the word I wanted to do something for Obama," Fairey said in 2008. "I didn't want to be an unwelcome distraction … I really want him to win, so I didn't want to do anything that would cause him problems."

The Obama campaign gave their blessing and the “Hope” poster was created — it soon went viral.

Fairey explained at the time what the poster's image of Obama is saying to America: “I can guide you.”

In the recent interview, Patches followed up Fairey’s succinct answer with a simple question, “How come?”

“Obama has had a really tough time, but there have been a lot of things that he's compromised on that I never would have expected,” Fairey responded. “I mean, drones and domestic spying are the last things I would have thought [he'd support]. I've met Obama a few times, and I think Obama's a quality human being, but I think that he finds himself in a position where your actions are largely dictated by things out of your control.

"I'm not giving him a pass for not being more courageous," he added, "but I do think the entire system needs an overhaul and taking money out of politics would be a really good first step.”

Fairey goes on to state that he thinks the American public needs to be further educated and not complacent, as well as less ignorant and lazy — as he finds many Americans to be.

“But what frustrates me to no end are people who want to blame Obama or blame anything that is something that if they were actually doing anything as simple as voting, it might not be as bad as it is,” Fairey stated. “There's a lot of finger pointing and very little action and very little research into the dynamics that created the situation that they're unhappy about.”

Fairey originally made a name for himself in the 80s by creating black and white stickers featuring wrestling legend Andre the Giant. He has since created artwork through OBEY, with the slogan “Manufacturing Quality Dissent Since 1989,” featuring David Lynch, Joan Jett, Bob Marley, Ai Weiwei, Chairman Mao, Patty Hearst, Andy Warhol, and many others. He has also made political statements with such creations as the People’s Climate March, the Chinese Soldiers, and Immigration Reform Now.

One of his most well-known political works featured George W. Bush as a smiling vampire in 2004.

Sources: Esquire, The Washington Post

Photo Source: artlyst