Last post for a while, since I need to clamp down on work for other classes, but this one’s props go to Prof. Lyman Chaffee of California State Univ, Dominguez Hills.
The full text of the L.A. Times article is here, but basically describes this new trend in street art (“regarded as creative, non-gang graffiti by its admirers and as vandalism by its detractors — evolved in part out of the do-it-yourself punk movement of the 1980s”) to make pro-Obama stickers, posters, and murals, spotted all over in the U.S. but also internationally, with Beijing and Paris as the two named examples.
“It’s an odd twist in the world of street art, an arena where creative renegades question power and convention with their homemade posters and hand-painted murals — and don’t usually endorse major party politicians.”
(Of course, this description doesn’t hold in Argentina, where political graffiti has been ubiquitous for decades. I see pro- and anti-Cristina graff everywhere, referencing the current president, Cristina Kirchner. Also, according to some grafiteros, there is usually an explosion of graffiti on behalf of various organizations/parties during the height of the campaign season, and stencil–a very political and homegrown form of street art here–became popular as a response to the 2001 economic crisis and government failures)
One of the most interesting parts of the article for me was the part about who was leading the street art campaign: L.A.-based Shepard Fairey, the creator of the “Obey Giant” sticker campaign, launched in the late 1980s while he was studying at the Rhode Island School of Design.
(There seems to be somewhat of a parallel between how his work has unfolded and how Argentine art has… DOMA, one of the beginners of the contemporary street art scene here, began with stickers too, before realizing it wanted a more permanent art form and turning to aerosol/paint. DOMA also began when its three members were seniors studying at Buenos Aires’ public university (UBA).
The L.A.Times article also mentions Fairey eventually donating his now-famous image to the Obama campaign as a campaign poster, which is now SOLD OUT on the Obama website. “And with that, the renegade went mainstream.” It’s a similar story with lots of street artists here, but of course, the question that grafiteros have struggled with in New York and everywhere is what it means to “go mainstream”–a concept truly puzzling in a place like BsAs, where the history reads a bit differently… More on that to come as I begin to make more conclusions…)
sidenote: there is actually a page on the Obama website with just images submitted by artists.
Here are some images from the Obey campaign: