The man whose art symbolized the political ascension of Barack Obama is not backing the president's onetime Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, for president.
Instead, Los Angeles' unofficial street-art laureate, Shepard Fairey, is getting behind the left-wing thorn in her side, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Fairey announced his presidential endorsement over the holiday weekend.
“I’m supporting Bernie Sanders for president because I think that he’s the candidate most likely to work for the needs of normal people, not the wealthy and powerful,” the artist said in a statement. “He believes in campaign finance reform and is practicing what he preaches by not accepting corporate donations or creating Super PACs.”
Urging his fans to donate to Sanders' campaign, Fairey said, “Bernie needs help from people like you and me, and I think he’ll look out for the needs of people like you and me.”
Fairey's “Hope” poster became an icon of Obama's 2008 campaign for president, but it wasn't without heartache for the artist.
Associated Press claimed the image on which “Hope” was based belonged to it, since one its photographers snapped the original photo of Obama depicted in the artwork.
Fairey sued AP in hopes that a judge would declare his art was “fair use” — artistic expression, comment or criticism — under the law. But the artist lied in submitting evidence to the court, and he ultimately received probation for the error in judgment.
Perhaps his latest art for Sanders* won't be as controversial. It highlights the self-proclaimed socialist's role as a supporter of America's working families.
*UPDATE at 4:45 p.m., Monday, Jan. 4, 2016: A representative for Fairey says the Sanders' image isn't his. In his statement, it's used without credit, and it clearly reflects Fairey's art. Here's what the rep says:
“The artwork was an HOMAGE to Shepard's Andre the Giant Has a Posse sticker; it was NOT created by Shepard Fairey. Please see Twitter for the proper credit, but the artist who created it is Jeremy Merrill.”
— Jeremy Merrill (@DustyVinyl_FA) August 31