Tuesday, June 2, 2020

"There's Always Hope"

5-3/4 x 12"
oil on panel

My newest painting is timely but not planned that way.  Art imitates life they say.

The Hope poster by Shepard Fairey came to represent Barack Obama's presidential campaign back in 2008 - printed as a street poster with versions stating "hope" or "change" or "progress".  The campaign initially was independent of but later gave their nod to the image and even commissioned Fairey to do official posters and T-shirts.

The following year the National Portrait Gallery in DC acquired the large, mixed-media version then things took a sour turn when it was revealed the reference photo was taken from an Associated Press image without the permission from the photographer.  Fair use of the original was fought in court and both parties settled in 2011.  Fairey got in more trouble the following year when he destroyed and fabricated documents, attempting to hide he used the AP's photo - then admitting to his wrongs, plead guilty, got 2 years probation, community service and a $25,000 fine.

Fairey had worked at redeeming himself since and, along with other artists, is responding to the death of George Floyd.  He recently said "My way of coping when too many people seem indifferent has been to make images spotlighting these issues and injustices.  I use these images to donate to organizations like Black Lives Matter, the ACLU, The Southern Poverty Law Center, the Equal Justice Initiative and #Cut50, all of which do critical work on the social justice front lines."

Please click here for a larger view.

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