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Australian Politician Steals Obama “Hope” Poster Design for Garish Graphic

A Fairey "Hope" poster in Boston right after the 2008 US Presidential elections. (via flickr.com/geoftheref)
A Fairey “Hope” poster in Boston right after the 2008 US Presidential elections. (via flickr.com/geoftheref)

Politics these days is as much about image as it is about ideas, and nothing exemplifies that trend so well as President Obama’s “Hope” poster. Though independently designed by street artist Shepard Fairey, the portrait quickly came to represent just how hip Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign was.

Australian senator Jacqui Lambi took note and recently produced her own portrait based off the Obama poster featuring the same screen-printed look and red-white-blue color scheme, but with “TRUST” instead of “HOPE.” According to Mashable, Lambie featured the image as an email header in a statement she sent to Australian media today. But it hasn’t had quite the wow-factor she intended, if Twitter is any indication:

It’s not totally clear why Lambie would have commissioned what looks to have been a first year painting student to copy the most recognizable political image of recent years. While the tones of the colors in Fairey’s portrait create realistic shadows and a sense of depth, the ones in Lambie’s image make her face looks like a pasty blueberry pancake. The garish, angular shadows — including one inexplicably emphasizing her double chin — only make it more flat.

And why does the politician appear as if she’s just emerged from a bar fight? The lids around her manic eyes are puffy and black, and there’s a bloody wound on her forehead. She looks less like a person you’d want to trust than one you’d want to avoid at all costs.

You’d think someone from Australia, the land that gave us the word “selfie,” would know better. It also may have been wise not to steal a design from Shephard Fairey, who has recently learned a thing or two about intellectual property laws after being sued by the Associated Press in 2011 for basing the Obama print off one of their images.

But this isn’t the first time Lambi’s actions have bewildered the public. Speaking on a radio show in Hobart, Tasmania, the single mom recently said she’s looking for a lover with “heaps of cash, a package between their legs and I don’t need them to speak.”

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