Sunday, December 28, 2008
SHEPHERDING THE MASSES TO CHANGE
Obama Art from a Thirteenth Generation Artist
Shepherding the Masses to Change: Shepherd Fairey's
Obama Art Instrumental in
( At top: The Artist with one of his commissioned Obama Campaign posters; in the black and white at upper left, Fairey with a gaze as dreamy as his Barack posters' wistful stare. The artist is as ethereal looking as the images he imposed on America; there is the impression that unconscious storms brew within the man and the politician he uses as a projection. )
Election season was made to feel surreal with Fairey's images gazing from various positions , as though the cities' landscape had become his own exhibit. Something in the serious gaze which Fairey chose as his Obama-palette, the eyes raised to some distant mountain top, and the American-flag colors, subdued and softly muted, and with the oddly 1960s-style words of "Hope, Progress, Change", had the most curious effect on me, and many people I knew. Most of them Obama supporters, but some not. And yet still mesmerised, inwardly transfixed. These were strangely hypnotic images.
Whatever one thinks of Frank Shepherd Fairey, the Generation X artist - and indeed, some have labeled him a "Plagarist" and self-serving enemy of art - his Obama posters of "Hope , Change, Progress" brought inspiration to millions during the campaign .
Knowing the human psyche through years of philosophical study, and the reading of Jung, Freud, Reik, and many others, the fact that Fairey tapped into the American collective psyche, unconsciously hungry for Change, is clear to me. Quasi-Socialist in their look, and lending to Obama a sort of heroic image frozen on posters and city murals, Fairey's art work bespoke the FDR era of serious commissioned artists. On his website, Fairey says he links his work to the phenomenology of Martin Heidegger.