Thank Portrait for Obama's Success: Hope Artist
LA graphic designer says image boosted power of art
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 18, 2009 12:19 PM CST
Los Angeles street artist Shepard Fairey poses for a picture with his Barack Obama Hope artwork in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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(Newser) – The iconic Hope image of Barack Obama helped get the Illinois senator elected president, says the graphic designer who created the image. “It has exceeded my expectations almost from the get-go,” Shepard Fairey told Smithsonian magazine, adding that Obama’s “unique” look was an inspiration for him and the public. “That it’s not just another 65-year-old white guy helps.”

The Los Angeles-based artist wanted to “transcend the limitations of a photograph,” and Obama was impressed with the results. “Wow, I love this image,” he told Fairey. The artist initially made only 700 prints, but the images soon adorned buildings and cars nationwide. “Now there are some people looking at art as a valuable tool that never did in the past,” he said.