Remember that iconic Obama “Hope” poster from 2008?
Artist Shepard Fairey’s probably hoping you don’t.
Fairey, who created the red, white, and blue Obama poster that seemed to be hanging in every college dorm room in 2008, gave an interview with Esquire Magazine, where he was asked pointblank: “Has Obama lived up to the poster?”
His answer: “Not even close.”
Fairey elaborated: “Obama has had a really tough time, but there have been a lot of things that he’s compromised on that I never would’ve expected.” He directly referenced issues like domestic spying and drone killings of American citizens—issues that Republican presidential candidate, Rand Paul, has helped bring to the public consciousness.
Fairey has met Obama several times, and still considers him to be a good person—just a lousy president. He bemoans the fact that Obama has, quite honestly, been caught flat-footed, saying that Obama too often “finds himself in a position where [his] actions are largely dictated by things out of [his] control.”
Because of the fame of his poster, Fairey was considered a high-profile supporter of Barack Obama. He actually never worked for the Obama campaign—the poster, in fact, was created solely out of his grassroots support for the then-Illinois Senator. In fact, Fairey was even sued by the Associated Press in 2009—who claimed he based the famous poster off one of their photographs. During his lawsuit, he destroyed evidence—he later pled guilty and was fined $25,000, and narrowly avoided jail. And admitted he had used the copyrighted photograph.
Despite the eventual personal cost, Fairey claims he never made money off the poster: proceeds went to print more posters, or to directly support the Obama campaign.
Despite the unofficial nature of the poster, it became so strongly affiliated with the Obama campaign that even Paul Ryan referenced it in 2012, when he said in a speech at the Republican National Convention that Obama’s young supporters were now unemployed and living at home “staring up at faded Obama posters.”
Looks like Fairey is one of those disillusioned Americans—staring up at the faded poster that helped make him famous—who has lost hope in Barack Obama, who still has almost two years left of his presidency.
If you’re President, you have to know that when you lose even the guy who helped win you the Oval Office, you’re in trouble.