There have been a number of interesting items over the past few weeks related to The Graphic Phenomenon that is the Barack Obama campaign for the presidency. For the sake of brevity, I’m just going to condense them into one post, even though any one of them could justify individual attention.
So to get started- just in time for Olympic fever, Obamagraphics have invaded Chinatown… most of the pics online are from San Francisco but I would guess these are in various Chinatowns nationwide. Made by Oakland-based designers at 5733, this poster/sticker campaign emphasizes the candidate’s cross-cultural appeal. The Chinese script translates to “forward” and has a retro-propaganda feel. The viewer looks up at a confident Obama arms crossed and sun rays beaming around him (btw- there is a great little blurb by Steven Heller in the most recent issue of Print that points out the rampant use of “sun rays” in advertising- once you start looking, you find them everywhere).
On July 17th, the Wall Street Journal ran a great article by Christina S.N. Lewis called Picturing Obama. The story details the rise in the collectability of Obama merch- in particular print/posters. It’s really worth a read. This must be a first, a presidential campaign that introduces people to the art market. From the article…
Knowledgeable collectors have already turned a profit by buying multiples. Tanley Wong, a 30-year-old consultant for Fannie Mae in Washington, D.C., owns 30 to 40 Obama art prints, including several of Mr. Fairey’s “Hope” prints, which were originally handed out at a rally at the University of California, Los Angeles. Mr. Wong, who has donated $1,000 to the Obama campaign, bought the posters for roughly $75 each on eBay from UCLA students and has subsequently resold some online for about $700 each.
There appears to be little demand for art promoting Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, art experts say. According to statistics from eBay, only six McCain-related art items sold on the site in the past 60 days, with an average selling price of $57. That’s compared with 889 Obama-related art items that have sold in the past 60 days, with an average selling price of $127. Of course McCain-related art sales may be lagging behind because there are fewer pieces available.
Speaking of Steven Heller, he’s written a piece for the New York Times called Stuck on Lapel Pins. He invited a number of designers to solve Obama’s lapel pin problem. In addition to Heller’s group, if you start looking around there are tons of DIY, artist-produced pins out there promoting his campaign.
And finally- this goes back to May. I never got around to posting it. Some Obamagraphics graffiti that for obvious reasons was covered most thoroughly by video game blogs. Apparently Grand Theft Auto IV promo posters in Los Angeles were “liberated” by Obama supporters to send a very different message. Obama’s face and message were wheat-pasted over the GTA ads. I like the idea of one print campaign attacking another like a virus. Photo credit goes to Luke Wahl…
And related: Get your swag from JasonUrban.com:
Politics are giving me a headache… or at least that’s kind of the idea behind this op/pop stack of paper. These are 24″ x 18″ two-sided offset posters with Barack Obama printed in cyan and John McCain printed in magenta. They were made for a show at the Schmidt Art Center in Belleville, Il (outside of St. Louis)… I’ve been doing so many posts on Printeresting about The Obama Graphics Machine that I felt compelled to add to the pre-election noise. Special thanks to Christina and Libby for supporting the project and thanks to printingcenterusa for doing such a professional job with the printing. Most of the 1000 copies of this poster will be at the exhibition but I did hang on to a few in the event that any one is interested. I’m selling them for $10 in order to recoup my expenses from the project. Email [jason] directly if you’d like one.