Badge, 'Hope', metal, designed by Shepard Fairey for use in the Barack Obama Presidential Election Campaign and victory celebrations, maker unknown, Los Angeles, United States of America, 2008
The 'Hope' badge formed part of the promotional merchandise of Barack Obama's Presidential Election Campaign and victory, with this particular example being sold in stalls throughout New York City on the night of Obama's inauguration. It features the American street artist and designer, Shepard Fairey's, iconic representation of Obama with his head tilted up, gazing into the distance, which was initially designed for posters, but was later adapted for badges and stickers as well.
The Obama merchandise produced by Fairey, which originated independently from the official Obama election campaign in the form of a poster, was the birth of 'brand Obama'. Purported to have appropriated a photograph taken by Mannie Garcia of the Associated Press in 2006 at the National Press Club in Washington, Fairey recreated Obama, not as a black man or a white man, but as an American patriot and statesman. Before the official Obama election campaign formally embraced Fairey's posters as a key marketing tool, Barack wrote a letter to Fairey which said '┬?I would like to thank you for using your talent in support of my campaign. The political messages involved in your work have encouraged Americans to believe they can help change the status-quo. Your images have a profound effect on people, whether seen in a gallery or on a stop sign. I am privileged to be a part of your artwork and proud to have your support. I wish you continued success and creativity'.
The iconic image of Obama represented on this badge has also become synonymous with Fairey and from it, he has reaped great success. His works are represented in the collections of several major international museums and in 2009; he was awarded the Brit Insurance Design Award for the unofficial Obama 'Progress' poster. Earlier in 2009, Fairey also held his first exhibition of retrospective works at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston titled (after his book) 'Shepard Fairey: Supply and Demand'.
Fairey, S., 'Supply and Demand - the art of Shepard Fairey' (Gingko Press, 2006)
Obey Giant - The Official Website of Shepard Fairey, http://obeygiant.com/about (Downloaded 25/6/2009)
Assistant Curator, Design History & Society
This badge was designed by Shepard Fairey in Los Angeles, United States of America for the promotion of Barack Obama during his 2008 Presidential Election Campaign and victory celebrations between his election and inauguration. The design has been adopted from Fairey's original silkscreen posters and applied to the badge. While other badges were circulated during the campaign, the trademark image of Obama with the word 'Hope' was the only type of badge produced and sold by the official Obama campaign. This badge complemented other Obama merchandise designed by Fairey, including stickers and t-shirt designs.
This badge was purchased by the donor, Rosie Ward, in Union Square, New York at around 7.00pm on the night of Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration (January 20, 2009). Rosie said 'that night was the wildest night I have ever witnessed on the streets of New York┬?there was hooting and fireworks and celebrations until the sun came up. A moment I will never forget and I experienced a very new feeling - for the first time I thought it would be pretty great to be an American'.