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Shepard Fairey created the iconic image of the 2008 Obama campaign, the stylized red, blue and yellow portrait of the candidate promising the single word “HOPE” has found that his own belief in the president has long since faded.

Fairey said the politician had not lived up to the promises, “Not even close.”

The artist created the image as support for the then-relatively unknown junior senator from Illinois, and it appeared on nearly one million posters and stickers during the 2008 campaign for the presidency.

“There have been a lot of things that he’s compromised on that I never would have expected… drones and domestic spying are the last things I would have thought he’d support,” said the self-styled street artist, activist and illustrator in the current issue of Esquire magazine.

Fairey settled a lawsuit with AP after admitting that he used an Associated Press photograph for the portrait without attribution. He also pleaded guilty to criminal contempt of court for destroying documents and manufacturing evidence during the case and was sentenced to two years probation, 300 hours of community service and a $25,000 fine in federal court.

Although the Obama campaign denied having any connection to the portrait, Fairey has stated that he took direction from campaign officials, changing the original caption from “PROGRESS” to “HOPE.” He also received a warm letter of appreciation from Obama in February 2008, nine months before the election.

 

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