February 8th, 2009
06:40 AM ET
6 years ago

Obama 'Hope' artist arrested in Boston

Fairey stands next to his famous depiction of Obama at the National Portrait Gallery.
Fairey stands next to his famous depiction of Obama at the National Portrait Gallery.

(CNN) –The street artist who created the ubiquitous red, white and blue Obama "Hope" posters was arrested Friday in Boston on outstanding graffiti charges, police said.

Shepard Fairey, 38, was arrested en route to an opening party for his first solo art exhibition on two outstanding warrants for property damage by graffiti, Boston police said.

Officer James Kenneally said the instances of graffiti involved images of the late wrestler Andre the Giant - Fairey's tag.

The Friday arrest represents Fairey's second legal tangle this week.

Earlier, the Associated Press accused him of copyright infringement, saying the iconic "Hope" portrait of the president is based on an April 2006 photograph of Obama taken by AP's Mannie Garcia.

The AP - the world's largest news organization - is seeking credit and compensation from Fairey, who contends the image is protected by fair use laws.

The graffiti artist is no stranger to law enforcement. In a recent interview, Fairey told the Boston Globe he has been arrested at least 14 times.

Fairey was released on bail shortly after his arrest Friday and is scheduled for arraignment Monday.

Calls to his lawyer were not immediately returned Saturday.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    total baloney.... I thought we had ended the Nazi Police State when Bush got kicked out of Washington.....

    February 7, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  2. Matt

    C'mon AP! He makes a great stencil icon and doesn't get paid for it and you want compensation?

    He get s money for his appearances and he has benefited from a greater profile, but the art was art, so let it be. Greedy greedy greedy

    February 7, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  3. jrzshor

    those obama handelers need to be more careful. letting obama praise a guy who was charged and/or arrested 14 times should not be glorified.

    PS

    before you rant back, have you ever tried to remove "graffitti art" from your wall?

    February 7, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  4. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    I give up. Vote Faith this time around guys.

    February 7, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  5. toddparker

    should have known better than to stay out of the spotlight...he should know the score with the cops and of course major media is going to get theirs. hope he painted a police building and an AP office.

    February 7, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  6. Dumas McGee

    ok seriously, how can one NOT make fun of this.

    Jon Stewart, here's an easy one for you!

    February 7, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  7. Gene

    This is all Obama's fault! Told you he wasn't qualified to be president!

    Ok.... just thought I'd get the first right wing conservative nutjob comment out of the way :)

    February 7, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. BB

    For God's sake – fine him and let him go. You all have a man guilty of bilking billions from taxpayers living in his penthouse.

    Why are you picking on anyone or anything Obama? It's a shame.

    February 7, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  9. Ernie in LA

    Obama has a problem dealing with honest people.

    February 7, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  10. Zach

    He has been arrested at least 14 times. He was not arrested for anything to do with his Obama poster. Personally, I don't really care.

    February 7, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  11. Denise

    Aren't there any real criminals to arrest? Good God.

    February 7, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  12. Jake

    Fairey should be exempt from graffiti charges. His work is beautiful.

    February 7, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  13. Dave

    This is all Bush's fault! Told you he wasn't qualified to be president!

    Ok…. just thought I'd get the first left wing liberal nutjob comment out of the way

    February 7, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  14. FL Granny

    My kids used to draw on the sidewalk with colorful chalk. I wonder if I was putting their liberty at risk by allowing this.

    February 7, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  15. Steph

    Who would've want more four years with a President McCain. The taxcut President? Dont think so.

    February 7, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  16. TJS in MN

    HA! HA! That too funny!!

    February 7, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  17. Steph

    Sorry for the artist. He's good. Maybe the democratic party can do something about it.

    February 7, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. Will From VA

    Give the man a break! Afterall his painting and Mannie's photography captured part of history.

    Obama 2012!!!

    February 7, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. ron

    i think his painting is his own work...no different than Andy Warhol...would Campbells soup cue him for copywrite infringement? AP should go back to being reporters

    February 7, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  20. tcaudilllg

    Oh, now I get it: hope for a purple America. That's why the red and blue hues.

    I gotta agree that he needs to share the limelight on this, but it's Mannie Garcia who deserves some of the credit. NOT the AP.

    February 7, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  21. Andre the Giant has a posse

    Shepard Fairey has always been a graffiti artist. I, for one, like graffiti. Except when someone spraypaints it on my car. So, I can see why someone like him would get arrested. I bet he will be asking President Obama for a pardon, claiming that he, Shepard Fairey, got Obama into office through his iconic imagery of the President. Everyone knows this is a lie, and Obama Girl is the real one who got Barack Obama elected. Anyway, I can see why Mr. Fairey's lawyer does not return calls on a Saturday. That is the Sabbath! It would be blasphemy against G-d to return calls on Saturday, if it is part of your job representing your client, since it is a day of rest, which means you do not do your job.

    February 7, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  22. Steph

    No healthcare = taxcut, No job = taxcut, No 401k = taxcut....... Thats the republican way.......

    February 7, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  23. MZ

    The artist is a sham. I'm waiting to see how long it will be before this country realizes that this President's " recovery" program is a sham.
    Probably around the time that everyone realizes how much change his "Change" will cost.

    February 7, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  24. Rick Sutter

    It's Sarah Palin's fault! Just thought I'd get the first left wing nut comment out of the way.

    February 7, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  25. Han

    This is one more chapter from Obama show. What a disgrace.

    February 7, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
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