Anti-Obama Street Art Update (UPDATED)


After a lot of asking, probing and following every lead I could possibly find, there is no sign of who the artist behind the Obama/Joker image could be.

Two LA street art gallery owners replied to my query and said they didn’t recognize the style at all and Andrew of Thinkspace told me that the pieces “are ‘up’ in two very safe spots” and that “the work resembles no one that is really gettin’ up down here.”

Then I turned to two renowned LA street art photographers and each offered an opinion:

PHOTOG 1: “I’m baffled by the ‘socialism’ posters myself. Nobody I know is taking credit for it and it’s out of character for all the known hoodlums”

Sebastian of UNURTH:  “I’m afraid I don’t have any clues for you… I can say it’s not the style of any LA street artist that I know, so I would agree with the view in your post that it’s more likely a right-wing group rather than a street artist.  I’m sure campaign strategists are poring over the Obama campaign to find tactics they can appropriate… the use of social media tools being one, and it wouldn’t surprise me if street art is another. But it looks like they couldn’t find a recognizable artist to do it!”

So there you have it, we’re all puzzled but considering the fact that no new street posters have emerged my hunch is that the poster is the job of a lobby group. One version of the poster (with another slogan) has popped on mailboxes in one Florida town, but this was all initiated as a publicity stunt/contest for a website [SEE BELOW].

The most saddening aspect of this case is that the LA Times has helped the lobbyists along and offered some ridiculously written articles/posts, specially by David Ng, who doesn’t seem to know what he is talking about.

In his post “Obama, Bush and the Joker: Cultural double standard?“, Ng deflects the issue of the provenance of the image and seems to suggest that because George W. Bush was caricatured as the Joker in an issue of Vanity Fair (which was actually a shitty illustration) that this is somehow parallel…which doesn’t make sense, an anonymous image possibly created & disseminated by a lobby group vs. a caricature by a named illustrator in a periodical known for creating controversy? Then again, most of Ng’s arguments don’t make much sense.

The LA Times asked Obama/HOPE poster creator, Shepard Fairey for a response to the new Obama/Joker poster and he offered: “It’s not grammatically correct.” You’d think that someone who made a career from mixing signifiers (ahem…Andre the Giant with the words OBEY) wouldn’t be such a stickler for correct language usage. In other Shepard Fairey related news, the infamous vandal has added an anti-vandalism coating to his studio walls. I like Gawker’s response to this, “Vandalize Him Now.” Having said this, I’m off to Boston this weekend to see the Fairey show at the ICA

Other related news:

Image credit: lunchbreath, via eyeteeth



How about this theory? Even though I dismissed it above, was it really all the work of A cheap publicity stunt to popularize the idea that there is no difference between the two parties and a way to give the website a giant traffic spike?

The site has released a new poster of George W Bush with the same Joker white face and the words Fascist underneath (though not Fascism, the Obama poster had Socialism and NOT Socialist). The website’s politics also has some obvious political affinities to the poster spotted in Jersey City I blogged about yesterday. But I have to admit that the Bush poster doesn’t seem as successful as the Obama version. While it’s possible that they are the work of the same person….anyway, there is no definitive answer….yet….

Thank you to Sebastian of Unurth in LA, who sent me the photo on the far left of the Obama poster with babble superimposed ontop. Click on the image for a larger version.

16 responses to “Anti-Obama Street Art Update (UPDATED)”

  1. Caroline Avatar

    I saw a really cool monopoly guy on the street the other day. It was signed alec by it and I came to find out the artists full name is alec andon check his work out. The piece i saw was this cool monopoly guy holding a clock. Kinda symbolic to whats going on in our world rt now huh?

  2. hv Avatar

    Thanks Caroline, I already saw them. I took a photo of one in Boston a few weeks back & posted it here on my hyperallergic Tumblog.

  3. arlis Avatar

    yea hes a really good street artist i heard hes from NY Ive seen similar monopoly graffiti in Miami and the Hamptons

  4. sven vanoksovich Avatar
    sven vanoksovich

    ive seen lots of his pieces around he is a pretty talented kid..kinda reminds of a more subtle Banksy

  5. hv Avatar

    Sven, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Please elaborate.

  6. Nina Avatar

    Alec has some amazing art, not just the graphitti…

  7. st Avatar

    Alec sucks. Are you kidding you fucking yuppies

    1. hv Avatar

      Take your personal beefs elsewhere.

  8. brooke Avatar

    the artist alec is a complete poser who is nothing but a spoiled rich kid from westhampton with way too much free time. he is no artist.

  9. robone Avatar

    Alec, Free Humanity and Leba all deserve to be beaten the sh!t our of. They are not very good at what they do and have pissed off a lot of other graffiti writers and wheat pasters here in LA. They have the balls to go over Obey, Sharktoof, and other guys with real street cred.

    Nothing original about this toy or his buddies. A lot of the street artists here in LA are looking to beat their heads in. Trust me, it ain’t going to be pretty when they get caught. Even pedestrians here are painting over their vomit.

  10. brooke Avatar

    I could not agree more. There are so many talented artists in LA that deserved recognition, this guy is just a trendy poser.

  11. robone Avatar

    It’s beyond poser.

    They have no creative identity. A monopoly man? How cliche’ can you get? A picture of Tupac with the words Free Humanity? C’mon man…where did these guys get their ideas from? A freakin coloring book?

    Do you know how many of Alec’s pieces are just simply bad design? All of them. Let’s not even get into Free Humanity, whose work is just straight junk. It’s an eyesore. For God’s sake, learn some contrast, study some symmetry and have some idea of what design is before you hit the streets. Have a real message not something you threw together simply to gain fame. Lame.

    These guys could have made a huge splash with the amount of hours they put into hitting the streets. Instead, they release crap. Meaningless junk that pollutes the streets. What’s worse is the amount of people tearing down their “art” on Melrose.

    The streets of LA have run some the most prolific urban artists…Seizer, Bandit, Crypttic, Restitution Press, SharkToof, Obey, Nomade and many others. Let’s not even mention the awesome graf work put in by AWR, CBS, and many others.

    IS this what LA street art has become? A bunch of hacks who cant even draw a straight line or even know the street rules?

    Lame….really effin lame. LIke I said before…these guys are all wanted now by real street artists who don’t take kindly to kids effin up their pieces. PERIOD.

    Guess these days if you have alot of time on your hands and

  12. al Avatar

    A true artist is original not some star fucker poster who hangs out in hollywood nightclubs. Alec is the most unoriginal “artist”. try and focus on the real street artists who have talent and originality.

  13. al Avatar

    A true artist is original not some star fucker poser who hangs out in hollywood nightclubs. Alec is the most unoriginal “artist”. try and focus on the real street artists who have talent and originality.

  14. m Avatar

    His real name is Alec XXX [REDACTED] and all he does is destruct property in LA with his unoriginal “art”. In a city of starfucker unoriginal posers he is the biggest.

  15. GB Avatar

    You all sound like the biggest haters ever… XXXX [REDACTED] … Anyone who appreciates real art is knows that where you’re from or what your family has doesn’t determine your ability to create art. Alec’s work is cool, and anyone who says otherwise is just hating because he’s doing something and they’re just sitting online talking shit!

    And shut up XXX [REDACTED}, you’re the worst anorexic in the world! 🙂

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