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. Anthony

    Shepard Fairey is overrated.

    February 7, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    The artist Sheperd Fairey has always been known for his street art campaigns. That was the whole point of getting him to do work for Obama – it worked, he got a lot of young voters. This isn't the first time he's been arrested either...

    February 7, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  3. boone

    Dammmmm! My son is guilty of copywright infringe3ment too! He used the photo in a book report!

    February 7, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  4. JO

    This is dedicated to Dave and Gene – a bipartisan salute. I bet his "graffiti" is really great looking. Many places in big cities like to have free lance art work on buildings. Take a walk around parts of DC – some graffiti is really good art work. I would bet his is too!

    February 7, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Arrested for graffiti? He's graffiti artist for crying out loud. Big story about nothing if you ask me, but I'm sure it will be Fox New's cover story for half a year lol.

    February 7, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  6. jdavis617

    Good for Boston, the guy stole an AP image... Art.. Not really

    February 7, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  7. S Callahan

    The guy is good...CNN should post some of his 'wall and bridge' paintings....... A ture artist.

    February 7, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  8. Nick

    When Monkey House rocks, he rocks the D sippers.

    February 7, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  9. adam.peart

    Jon Stewart isn't touching an Obama joke with a ten foot pole, as for the prop[aganda] artist...."Hope" he's got a good lawyer.

    February 7, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. America

    I can't believe I just heard Steele on CNN just say that government has never created a job. I guess the military is ran and created by a bunch of elves living in a tree.

    February 7, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  11. Barbara M.

    I'd let the guy come do graffiti on my house.

    All of the crap going on in Boston–including rapes of college women-and this is what Boston cops contribute, keeping us all a little bit safer.

    (And yes, the guy who raped a young friend near BU a year and a half ago–not caught. Nothing heard from the Boston police department.)

    The cops might be able to do more than one thing at a time, but it seems that they don't, so grab the low hanging fruit: graffit artist, especially if one can make the national news.

    February 7, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  12. Braden Mailloux

    now that this guy is gone they might need new marketing. check out my portfolio.

    –bray

    February 7, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  13. Christopher

    LOL What an idiot!

    February 7, 2009 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  14. Leah DiMarco, Texas

    The painting was creative and was MUCH MORE than the photo.
    The AP's photograph was just a photo.
    The artist will win this one in court.
    AP doesn't have a chance of winning.

    February 7, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  15. Steve

    adam.peart: "Jon Stewart isn't touching an Obama joke with a ten foot pole"

    He's been doing Obama jokes all along. So you're either ignorant or a liar. :D

    February 7, 2009 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  16. Sweet Pea

    This artist is creative, and should be honored for his work and not arrested. How about the police doing some heavy lifting and arresting real criminals.

    February 7, 2009 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    I am an Artist...I know everyone hates us !
    Until they can gain from our works...however they still hate us ...but love the money ! ! Lokk at what happened to Purvis Young...from Miami Florida ! !

    February 7, 2009 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  18. Eddy-MD

    Michea steele=The current republican party chairman.

    Over the years, money trouble has been a persistent problem for Steele. His first race for public office, a 1998 bid for the Republican nomination for state comptroller, ended nearly $35,000 in debt, much of it to his sister. He was fined twice by state officials for missing deadlines to file campaign finance reports and was in debt and had faced foreclosure in 2001, the year before he was selected as Ehrlich's running mate. The state party threw Steele a financial lifeline, awarding him an unusual $30,000 consulting contract.

    February 7, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  19. travis

    He is no great artist or anything but at least he is out there doing it. usually artist are a dime a dozen. it is good to see one seperated themeselves from the crowd, even though it's crap I like the guy. unlesss his friends think he is a wanker or a squid, then i'm probably on their side.

    February 7, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  20. Bud Burgoon-Clark

    The thugs of the BuschReich go free, and an artist goes to jail. Only in Amerika!

    February 7, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  21. Steven

    I am an Artist....and I know everyone hates us ! Until the can benefit from our hard work. And make a large profit from our works. However we are still hated ...only the money is loved. Lokk at what happened to Purvis Young....from Miami, Florida. I will not stop being an Artist no matter what! Need I remind everyone in the entire world...if it were not for artists....nothing would be built or drawn or...blueprinted...etc. So when you decide you do not like artists...lokk around you FOOL! Big Up tp the Artist who won the battle!

    February 7, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  22. yomama

    I don't know any real artist. case in point

    February 7, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  23. Rob

    Just another criminal in the Obama camp

    February 7, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  24. jdquest

    I wonder how much money republicans will spend, this time, chasing Obama supporters like they did Clinton supporters. Obama's administration will have to raise taxes to pay for the republican witch hunts.

    February 7, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  25. Lynn

    Funny that CNN would have something about a street artist and nothing about the investigations about Mike Steele's inappropriate use of campaign contributions. Interesting you are not vetting this man( who pretended to be a Democrate in his losing Senate run )like you did every Democratic nominee!!

    February 7, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7