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Shepard Fairey's OWS Poster: The Rise And Fall of Hope:

First Posted: 11/23/11 02:50 AM ET   Updated: 11/23/11 01:25 PM ET

Shepard Fairey, known for his "Andre The Giant Has A Posse" propaganda and his iconic Obama "HOPE" poster created during the 2008 presidential campaign, is finding out that creating pointed political rhetoric is more complicated than it used to be.

Fairey initially designed a poster that re-imagined his famous "HOPE" image as an homage to the Wall Street occupier. The artist replaced the image of President Obama with a presumed member of the group "Anonymous," sporting a Guy Fawkes mask. The piece bore the message, "Mister President, We HOPE You're On Our Side."

The famed street artist-turned-muralist also altered the small Obama logo and inserted a "99%" to coincide with the Occupy Movement's cause. Despite his efforts and good intentions, Fairey experienced a wave of criticism after he released the image on his blog.

The main critique that was echoed by several people believed to be associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement is that it did not coincide with their "Statement of Autonomy," claiming that the poster gave off the impression of hopeful partisanship.

In a move to promote constructive criticism and open discussion, Fairey and the OWS organizer published their conversation for all eyes to see. After a few exchanges, Fairey eventually decided to revise the poster, removing all references to the President with the exception of the overall composition that many will associate with the 2008 campaign.

Fairey told HuffPost Arts: "I made the image the way I thought it should be made. Images can also create a valuable dialogue, and I took into consideration some of the feedback generated by Occupy HOPE. I have not replaced tho original design, I have added another version that places more emphasis on the hope of OWS."

It would be easy to say that Fairey was simply out of touch with the grassroots movement and that his attempt to contribute fell on deaf ears, but the published exchange between the two camps reveals more of a difference in execution than intent.

In the end, it wasn't the supposed gaffe on Fairey's part that became the topic of conversation, but the willingness of both sides to air their conversation so that we can all better understand today's political climate.

Check out the image in question and a slideshow of other OWS poster artwork below.

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By New Yorker artist Eric Drooker (who also did the animation in "Howl")
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Filed by Andrew Reilly  |