As the spec project deadline looms, another poor soul is lost to its bug-zapper-like glow.
I find Shepard Fairey to be an interesting case. No-one can argue at this point that his HOPE poster has made an indelible mark on graphic design history. I’m always on the lookout for the poster or the mark or the something that would occupy the very next imaginary page in Phillip Meggs’ tome, and without a doubt, the Obama HOPE poster is it. It sparked a movement in America greater than itself, and, like the I [heart] NY symbol before it, has already been the subject of a near infinite amount of parodies. It has made it so far as the National Portrait Gallery, for pete’s sake.
That’s why it bothers me so much that his new poster, A Mutt Like Me, follows the Obama-poster design doctrine to the letter. Yes, it was inspired by a quote from Obama. Yes, it is the original artist staying in style with himself (Fairey’s never been one to branch out of a fairly short range of styles — not that he’d ever need to, either). But after so many parodies of that specific style have invaded our pop culture, how can even the originator of the movement have weight among the clutter anymore? Hell, even Two & A Half Men promos on CBS were Fairey-a-sized this week. Sadly, the artist — and I believe Fairey is an artist — has fallen into his own wave of parody, and that robs the new work of any value. In his shoes, I would leave forever the Obama HOPE style behind me, lest I let it define me forever.
And of course, now there’s this, which so awesomely proves my point I must stop now.