Shepard Fairey on the creative choices behind his Barack Obama poster.
Fairey begins with a news photograph of Obama, grabbed from Google images. He wants his Obama "wise but not intimidating."
The artist simplifies: Fairey straightens Obama's jacket lapels, eliminates facial lines, creates geometric shapes. "I want strong," he says.
Fairey employs a red, white and blue patriotic palette, but plays with the colors, using beige for white, a pastel blue, lots of red.
Red? "People are freaked by red," Fairey says. Perhaps flashing on socialist constructivist propaganda? "But I say don't let the Soviets steal our red. Red is a good primary color," he says.
Bold lettering: "PROGRESS." When the Obama campaign orders posters, it's switched to "CHANGE."
Instead of a flag pin, Fairey inserts one of his own Obey Giant logos, transforming the poster into collectible art.
ILLUSTRATION: Shepard Fairey; WEB PRODUCER: Maura McCarthy - washingtonpost.com