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Four years ago, just over half of all Americans were in the midst of the ecstatic, Obama-induced euphoria of hope and change. People rallied and canvassed and registered voters in cities covered in images of Shepard Fairey's "Hope" printed on everything from lighters and mugs to sides of buildings the world over. Fairey’s image became the image of the election, the visual representation of the time’s exuberance, and emotional fuel for the exhausting campaign. It also powerfully symbolized the art community's investment in Obama.
Fairey’s image was just one of countless Obama-inspired artworks to emerge from the election. Ron English’s “Abraham Obama” found a prominent place among the Obama-art ranks, as did Robert Indiana’s “HOPE” sculpture, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Obama campaign. Artists for Obama put together a portfolio of prints by 13 iconic American artists, which sold for a donation of $20,000 and Obama's website sold prints by 10 different artists, some for as little as $60. There was also enough Obama street and folk art to fill dozens websites and at least a few books, like the 2009 “Art for Obama: Designing the Campaign for Change” edited by Fairey and Jennifer Gross.