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Obama Mural Defaced; Political Statement or the Work of a Hipster Wannabe?

Splash town: A statement of artistic or political principles?
Splash town: A statement of artistic or political principles?
Photo by Monica Fuentes

Since 2008, commuters coming off the Southwest Freeway have been met by a large mural version of Shepard Fairey's "Hope" poster of Barack Obama.

It adorns a shop, across the street from the Breakfast Klub, that served as the Obama campaign's Houston headquarters.

For at least the second time since going up, it's been defaced.

In 2009 someone scrawled the word "puppet" on it; this time it looks like less of an effort was made, and cans of paint were simply splashed onto the image.

Or is it actually an artistic statement rather than a political one? In 2007 someone went around defacing artworks by Fairey and others in New York; the perpetrator briefly became a hipster phenomenon, one that was examined by our own Troy Schulze in a DiverseWorks production.

Schulze's critical eye notes that the splatterer took pains to use different colors, and the result is far closer to the semi-famed Splasher's work than just a random defacing.

"Looks identical," he says. "As identical as a paint splatter on a Shepard Fairey image can look."


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