The Barack Obama "Hope" poster is an image of Barack Obama designed by artist Shepard Fairey, which was widely described as iconic and came to represent his 2008 presidential campaign. It consists of a stylized stencil portrait of Obama in solid red, beige and (light and dark) blue, with the word "progress", "hope" or "change" below (and other words in some versions).
The design was created in one day and printed first as a street poster. When the Obey Giant team found out the poster they had made were being sold on eBay for profit they issued a poster set that would be sold and all profits would go to the Obama campaign. Fairey sold 290 of the posters on the street immediately after printing them. It was then more widely distributed—both as a digital image and other paraphernalia—during the 2008 election season, initially independently but with the approval of the official Obama campaign. The image became one of the most widely recognized symbols of Obama's campaign message, spawning many variations and imitations, including some commissioned by the Obama campaign. This led The Guardian's Laura Barton to proclaim that the image "acquired the kind of instant recognition of Jim Fitzpatrick's Che Guevara poster, and is surely set to grace T-shirts, coffee mugs and the walls of student bedrooms in the years to come."
In January 2009, after Obama had won the election, Fairey's mixed-media stenciled portrait version of the image was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution for its National Portrait Gallery. Later in January 2009, the photograph on which Fairey based the poster was revealed: a June 2006 shot by former Associated Press freelance photographer Mannie Garcia. In response to claims by the Associated Press for compensation, Fairey sued for a declaratory judgment that his poster was a fair use of the original photograph. The parties settled out of court in January 2011, with details of the settlement remaining confidential.
On February 29, 2012, Fairey pleaded guilty in a New York federal court to destroying and fabricating documents during his legal battle with the Associated Press. Fairey had sued the news service in 2008 after it claimed that the famous poster was based on one of its photos. Fairey claimed that he used a different photograph for the poster. But he admitted that, in fact, he was wrong and tried to hide the error by destroying documents and manufacturing others, which is the source of the one count of criminal contempt to which he pleaded guilty. In September, Fairey was sentenced to two years of probation, 300 hours of community service, and a fine of $25,000.
In an interview with Esquire in 2015 Fairey said that Obama had not lived up, "not even close," to his expectations. He continued, "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. I mean, drones and domestic spying are the last things I would have thought [he'd support]."
Shepard Fairey, who had created earlier political street art critical of government and of George W. Bush, discussed the nascent Obama campaign with publicist Yosi Sergant in late October 2007. Sergant suggested Fairey create some art in support of Obama. Sergant contacted the Obama campaign to seek its permission for Fairey to design an Obama poster, which was granted a few weeks before Super Tuesday. Fairey has said that his decision to create a portrait of Obama stemmed from Fairey's feeling that Obama's "power and sincerity as a speaker would create a positive association with his likeness." Fairey found a photograph of Obama using Google Image Search (eventually revealed to be an April 2006 photo by freelancer Mannie Garcia for The Associated Press) and created the original poster design in a single day. The original image had the word "progress" and featured Fairey's signature obey star—a symbol associated with his Andre the Giant Has a Posse street art campaign—embedded in the Obama campaign's sunrise logo. Due to the Obama campaign's concerns about the troublesome connotations of the original wording, Fairey changed the slogan printed under Obama's image from "progress" to "hope."
According to design writer Steven Heller, the poster was inspired by Social Realism and, while widely praised as original and unique, can be seen as part of a long tradition of contemporary artists drawing inspiration from political candidates and producing "posters that break the mold not only in terms of color and style but also in message and tone." Fairey has said, "My historical inspiration was the well-known JFK portrait where he is posed in a three-quarters view looking slightly upward and out into the distance. The image of Lincoln on the five-dollar bill has a similar feel."
Fairey began screen-printing posters soon after completing the design and showing it to Yosi Sergant. Initially, he sold 350 and put 350 more up in public. Beginning with that sale and continuing throughout the campaign, Fairey used proceeds from selling the image to produce more of it; after first printing, he made 4,000 more that were distributed at Obama rallies before Super Tuesday. He also put a printable digital version on his website. As Fairey explained in an October 2008 interview, the image quickly went viral, spreading spontaneously through social media and word of mouth.
After the initial 700 posters, the Obama campaign conveyed through Sergant that they wanted to promote the theme of hope, and most of the posters sold by Fairey subsequently had the word "hope" and later "change" instead of "progress"; the obey star was also absent from later versions. By October 2008, Fairey and Sergant claimed to have printed 300,000 posters (with less than 2,000 sold and the rest given away or displayed) and 1,000,000 stickers, as well as clothing and other items with the image sold through Fairey's website, in addition to copies printed by others. According to Fairey and Sergant, proceeds from sales of the image were used to produce more posters and other merchandise in support of the Obama campaign, rather than direct profit for Fairey.
As the campaign progressed, many parodies and imitations of Fairey's design appeared. For example, one anti-Obama version replaced the word "hope" with "hype", while parody posters featuring opponents Sarah Palin and John McCain had the word "nope". In January 2009 Paste magazine launched a site allowing users to create their own versions of the poster. More than 10,000 images were uploaded to the site in its first two weeks.
Mad magazine parodied the "hope" poster with an "Alfred E. Neuman for President!" poster. Alfred was on the poster, and the word "hope" was replaced with "hopeless". Anti-Gaddafi protesters in Chicago, in solidarity with the 2011 Libyan civil war, have co-opted the image. Dynamite Comics released a four-part crossover with Obama and Ash Williams of their Army of Darkness comics and the Evil Dead films. One of the issues covers had a picture of Ash Williams (played by Bruce Campbell in the films) in the style of the "Hope" poster with the bottom text reading "Hope?"
Fairey was also commissioned to create a number of works in the same style. He produced two other versions, based on different photographs, officially on behalf of the Obama campaign, and another to serve as the cover of the Person of the Year issue of Time. He also created a portrait of comedian Stephen Colbert in the same style, which appeared in an issue of Entertainment Weekly honoring Colbert's television show The Colbert Report.
Firas Alkhateeb, the student who designed the controversial Obama "Joker" image, cited Fairey as being his greatest influence. Alkhateeb described the "Joker" image as a corrective to Fairey's glowing portrayal of Obama. Fairey has both criticized and praised the "Joker" poster, stating "The artwork is great in that it gets a point across really quickly", but "I don't agree with the political content of the poster".
Conservative satire site The People's Cube made visual and verbal punning images, such as "Chaos" with an image of Rush Limbaugh ("Operation Chaos"), "Shrugged" with an image of Ayn Rand (for her novel Atlas Shrugged) and "Marxism" with an image of Groucho Marx.
The September 2009 issue of The Advocate, America's oldest-continuing LGBT publication, featured a cover image similar to Fairey's design. The blue and red coloring was replaced with pink and purple, but instead of "hope", the caption was "nope?". Jon Barrett, the magazine's editor-in-chief, said the cover expressed the frustration among some Democratic members of the LGBT community.
The poster has also been parodied in popular culture. In the Futurama episode "Proposition Infinity," a similar poster of President Richard Nixon can be seen, with the slogan "DESPAIR". In the 2010 movie Megamind, a version of the poster can be seen using Megamind's visage and the caption "NO YOU CAN'T", parodying Obama's campaign slogan "Yes we can". Disney's animated series Phineas and Ferb has two episodes, "Nerds of a Feather" and "She's the Mayor", both with Obama's poster parodied with Candace's face. American heavy metal band Five Finger Death Punch has released a version with their mascot and the words "WAR", referring to their album War Is The Answer. In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark receives a similar poster of the Iron Man armor and hangs it in his Malibu garage, much to the displeasure of his assistant and love interest Pepper Potts. The 4th season of BoJack Horseman features Mr. Peanutbutter's version of the poster as he's running for governor.
Shepard Fairey created an adaptation of the Obama HOPE poster for satirical Kentucky politician Honest Gil Fulbright. The poster for Honest Gil Fulbright features a portrait of Frank L. Ridley, the actor who portrays Fulbright, with the words "SOLD," which refers to Fulbright's "honest" political message: "I'm only in this thing for the money, but at least I'm honest about it."
Home Box Office (HBO) created a parody of the poster to promote the fifth season of their satire comedy Veep. The poster was placed on roadside billboards, and other public places to help promote the return.
Sympathizing with the Occupy movement, in November 2011 Shepard Fairey introduced a variation of his "Hope" poster. In the new poster, he featured a Guy Fawkes mask, and the message "Mister President, we HOPE you're on our side", with the word "HOPE" in large font and the rest of the sentence in small font. The Obama campaign logo on the right was replaced by a similar logo with the inscription "We are the 99%".
On January 7, 2009, the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery announced it had acquired Fairey's hand-finished collage (stencil and acrylic on paper) version of the image (with the word "hope"), which the gallery said would go on display shortly before Obama's inauguration on January 20, 2009. The work was commissioned and later donated by art collectors Heather and Tony Podesta (Tony is the brother of Obama's transition co-chairman John Podesta). It is an unusual acquisition, in that the National Portrait Gallery normally collects official portraits as presidents are leaving office rather than before they take office.
The original source photograph Fairey based the poster on was not publicly known until after Obama had won the election. After a mistaken attribution to Reuters photographer Jim Young for a similar-looking January 2007 photograph, in January 2009 photographer and blogger Tom Gralish discovered that the poster was based on an Associated Press photograph by freelance photographer Mannie Garcia. It was taken at a 2006 media event with Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, where the actor George Clooney was raising awareness of the War in Darfur after a trip to Sudan he had taken with his father.
In February 2009, the Associated Press announced that it determined "that the photograph used in the poster is an AP photo and that its use required permission" and announced they were in discussions with Fairey's attorney to discuss an amicable solution. Fairey was represented by Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University. Falzone was quoted in the press release: "We believe fair use protects Shepard's right to do what he did here." Fairey subsequently filed a federal lawsuit against the Associated Press, seeking a declaratory judgment that his use of the AP photograph was protected by the fair use doctrine and so did not infringe their copyright.
Fairey subsequently admitted that he had based the poster on the AP photograph and had fabricated and destroyed evidence to hide the fact. Fairey's admission came after one of his employees told him that he had discovered relevant documents on an old hard drive. Realizing that these documents would reveal his cover-up, Fairey told the truth to his attorney.
Photographer Mannie Garcia contended that he retained copyright to the photo according to his AP contract. He said that he was "so proud of the photograph and that Fairey did what he did artistically with it, and the effect it had," but that he did not "condone people taking things, just because they can, off the Internet." Fairey countered that his conduct did not constitute "improper appropriation" because he had not taken any protected expression from Garcia's original photo. In addition, he claimed his behavior would qualify as a fair use. At trial AP would have to address both arguments.
A judge urged a settlement, stating that AP would win the case. The AP and Shepard Fairey settled out of court in January 2011. In a press release, the AP announced that the AP and Fairey "agreed to work together going forward with the Hope image and share the rights to make the posters and merchandise bearing the Hope image and to collaborate on a series of images that Fairey will create based on AP photographs. The parties have agreed to additional financial terms that will remain confidential."
In a separate criminal action, federal prosecutors suggested that Fairey should face prison time for the destruction of evidence in the case, with the government sentencing request stating that "[a] sentence without any term of imprisonment sends a terrible message to those who might commit the same sort of criminal conduct. Encouraging parties to game the civil litigation system [...] creates terrible incentives and subverts the truth-finding function of civil litigation." However, his sentence was ultimately limited to 300 hours of community service and a $30,000 fine.
Artists for Obama was a series of ten limited-edition fine-art prints created and donated by various artists under the direction of U.S. President Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign organization, Obama for America. The prints were official campaign products of Obama for America, sold directly by its website, and all proceeds were considered campaign contributions.Barack Obama "Joker" poster
The Barack Obama "Joker" poster is a digitally manipulated image of United States President Barack Obama, designed by Firas Alkhateeb in January 2009, that was adopted by some critics of the Obama administration and described as the most famous anti-Obama image. The image portrays Obama as comic book supervillain the Joker, based on the portrayal by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008). Alkhateeb has said the image was not intended to make a political statement. He uploaded the image to the photo-sharing website Flickr, from where it was downloaded by an unknown individual who added the caption "socialism".Described by The Guardian as the "American right's first successful use of street art", since April 2009, the poster was frequently used by anti-Obama protesters.Barack Obama 2008 presidential campaign
The 2008 presidential campaign of Barack Obama, then junior United States Senator from Illinois, was announced on February 10, 2007 in Springfield, Illinois. After winning a majority of delegates in the Democratic primaries of 2008, on August 23, leading up to the convention, the campaign announced that Senator Joe Biden of Delaware would be the vice presidential nominee. At the 2008 Democratic National Convention on August 27, Barack Obama was formally selected as the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States in 2008. He was the first African American in history to be nominated on a major party ticket.On November 4, 2008, Obama defeated the Republican nominee, Senator John McCain of Arizona, making him the President-elect and the first African American elected President. He was the third sitting U.S. Senator, after Warren G. Harding and John F. Kennedy, to be elected president. Upon the vote of the Electoral College on December 15, 2008, and the subsequent certification thereof by a Joint Session of the United States Congress on January 8, 2009, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States and Joe Biden Vice President of the United States, with 365 of 538 electors.Barack Obama Day
Barack Obama Day refers to two days of recognition in the United States in honor of Barack Obama, who served as the 44th President of the United States from 2009 to 2017.
The State of Illinois celebrates the commemorative holiday every August 4, which is Obama's birthday, beginning in 2018. Obama was a member of the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004 and represented the state in the United States Senate from 2005 to 2008 before becoming president. Similar to other commemorative holidays, it is not a legal state holiday, meaning workplaces are not closed on the day.Perry County, Alabama, has celebrated the second Monday of November as Barack Obama Day since 2009. County offices and schools are closed for the holiday.Bibliography of Barack Obama
This bibliography of Barack Obama is a list of written and published works, both books and films, about Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States.Change (film)
Change is a feature documentary about the Barack Obama - John McCain United States presidential election, 2008 directed by Matteo Barzini and produced by Feel Film. It premiered May 15, 2010 at Rome Independent Film Festival. It was later distributed by Cinecittà Luce.Electoral history of Barack Obama
Barack Obama served as the 44th President of the United States (2009–2017) and as a United States Senator from Illinois (2005–2008).Hope
Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one's life or the world at large.
As a verb, its definitions include: "expect with confidence" and "to cherish a desire with anticipation."Among its opposites are dejection, hopelessness, and despair.Hope! – Das Obama Musical
Hope! – Das Obama Musical (English: Hope! - The Obama Musical) is a German musical inspired by the personal life and career of U.S. President Barack Obama, from his time in Chicago, Illinois, until the 2008 U.S. presidential election. The show premiered on January 17, 2010, at Frankfurt's Jahrhunderthalle, a 2,000-seat venue. It is believed to be the first stage production portraying the life of a U.S. president while he is still serving in office.List of honors and awards received by Barack Obama
The following is a list of accolades and honors conferred upon the 44th U.S. President, Barack Obama.List of presidential trips made by Barack Obama
The following articles cover the presidential trips made by Barack Obama while he was President of the United States:
List of international presidential trips made by Barack Obama
List of presidential trips made by Barack Obama (2009)
List of presidential trips made by Barack Obama (2010)
List of presidential trips made by Barack Obama (2011)
List of presidential trips made by Barack Obama (2012)
List of presidential trips made by Barack Obama (2013)
List of presidential trips made by Barack Obama (2014)
List of presidential trips made by Barack Obama (2015)
List of presidential trips made by Barack Obama (2016)Obama Day
Obama Day was a holiday celebrated in Kenya on November 2008 in honor of Barack Obama's victory in the United States presidential election, 2008.Shortly after the U.S. election result was announced, Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki declared the holiday, because Obama's father, Barack Obama, Sr., was Kenyan.Obama logo
The Obama logo was the primary symbol of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. The design became one of the most recognized political brand logos during the 2008 U.S. presidential election, and was used again for Obama's reelection campaign and for the Obama Foundation.Of Thee I Sing (book)
Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters is a children's book by Barack Obama, with illustrations by Loren Long. It is described by the publisher as "a moving tribute to thirteen groundbreaking Americans and the ideals that have shaped our nation." The stories of thirteen Americans are told in the book: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Neil Armstrong, Sitting Bull, Cesar Chavez, Billie Holiday, Maya Lin, Albert Einstein (who was born in Germany), Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and Jane Addams."The proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to a scholarship fund for the children of fallen and disabled US service personnel.
Obama finished writing the book in 2008, after he was elected but before taking office.The Road We've Traveled
The Road We've Traveled is a 2012 documentary film about the events of Barack Obama's presidency. Directed by Davis Guggenheim, the documentary was produced by Obama's re-election campaign and was narrated by Tom Hanks.Timeline of the Barack Obama presidency (2017)
The following is a timeline of the Presidency of Barack Obama, from January 1, 2017 to his final day in office on January 20. For his time as President-elect, see the Presidential transition of Barack Obama; for a detailed account of his first months in office, see First 100 days of Barack Obama's presidency; and for a complete itinerary of his travels, see List of presidential trips made by Barack Obama.