Designing Obama

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The Design Director of the Obama campaign, Scott Thomas contacted me several months back about a project he was putting together to chronicle the grass roots art and design contributions toward the historical campaign. The finished product is shaping up to be something really special. The book is 360 pages and hardbound. They are currently accepting donations to print the book and will only print as many books that are ordered. You can read more about the project at the official website.

Some of the work I created over the course of the campaign (that is still free for download on this site) will be in the book. Some of the same work was also recently featured in another book: Art for Obama: Designing Manifest Hope and the Campaign for Change.

The participating artists from the book:
Justin Hampton, Aaron Allen, Aaron Axelrod, Aaron Nagel, Eddie, Adam Culbert, AG Ford, Armando Lerma, Carlos Ramirez, Michelle Page, Amanda Martin, Annie Weatherwax, Ben Speckmann, Billi Kid, Delicious Design League, Brett Yasko, Brian Flynn, Christopher Smith, Caleb Kozlowski, Chad Mize, Chuck Anderson, Cody Hudson, Christopher Beaumont, Derek Gores, Deroy Peraza, Doug Cunningham & Jason Noto, Erika Iris Simmons, EMEK Studios, Emily Gallardo, Evan Bench, Felix Jackson. Jr, Frank Chimero, Graye Smith, Paula Scher, Greg Beauchamp, Gui Borchert, George Vlosich III, Greg Vlosich, Lance Wille, Aaron Meshon, Herb Williams, Christopher Cox, Jonathan Hoefler, Michael Murphy, Alex Fuller, Antar Dayal, Derek Hess, Martin Schoeller, Armando Lerma, and Carlos Ramirez, Leon Bedore, Reuben Raffael, Billy Baumann & Jason Teegarden-Downs, Jason Munn, Jeff Domke, Jimm Lasser, John Locke, John Steins, John Sokol, Judy North, Ales Bask Hostomsky, Josh Wisdumb, Jessica Witkin, Kishore Nallan C, Ratha Sok, Lance Wyman, Larry Roibal, Michael Leavitt, Mr Brainwash, Margaret Coble, Adam S Doyle, Michael Forbes, Manick Sorcar, Marc Scheff, Marco Pece, Mason Fetzer, Max Estes, James O’Brien, Melvin Heng, Michael Jacob, Don Garcia, Christina Alexandra, Oliver Barrett, Gugger Petter, Phillip Clark, Frank Plant, Rafael Lopez, Ray Noland, Renan Molin, René Garcia, Jr., Robert Haining, Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, Ron English, Russell Young, Steve Deer, Rick Sealock, Shana Barry, Shawn Hazen, Shannon Moore, James Widener, Sofia Fridman, Melinda Beck, Scott Hansen, Thomas Brodahl, Todd Hirsch, Todd and Cain Benson, Tristan Eaton, Charis Tsevis, Ralph Ueltzhoeffer, Van Monroe, Wade Hampton, Wes Winship, Zara Gonzalez, Zilly Rosen, Zina Saunders

Is it just me or have we lost some steam since the amazing days of the campaign? It seems now that we are as mired as we ever were. Where did our voices go? Why did we stop after he got elected? Wasn’t that just the beginning? I guess I need to get off my ass and start doing some political design work again.

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,


01.20.09 Inaugural History

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Tuesday will be an important earmark in American history as Obama will take office and put a new face on the American body politic. We have come a very long way since Bush was first inaugurated in what seems like a lifetime ago. I wish very badly I could have been in Washington for this historic day but just living here in Denver during the DNC was special enough. I am thankful for having been here in that special place in time.

As much as I want to just drown myself in the excitement and hype of the inauguration, I still feel very troubled about where both America and the world are right now. It has become impossible to ignore the dire straights we are in and even more impossible to know what to do about it. We so desperately need real leadership right now to put America back to task. I cannot admit to having much faith in our political system or leaders at this point, but I do still believe in the American people. I do think we are good at heart and truly want to make the world better, but we have lost our way these last few years. The best thing for us now would be for Obama and his administration to help lead us back to collectively working to solve some of the issues we face.

I am in no way claiming that we are helpless sheep, but we elect our officials for a reason, and that reason is to provide a constructive leadership that improves both our national situation and global situation. However, we have let our officials get away with too much for too long and part of the reconstruction process of our government will have to include prosecuting the politicians who have been operating and continue to operate outside of the law. Corruption has become the norm and real effective change that benefits the working class cannot happen under the watch of greedy, corrupt and criminal politicians.

Obama will only be as good a leader as we push him to be. If we expect a savior who will work while we continue to drown ourselves in debt and excess then we will be sorely disappointed and continue to spiral into apathy. We cannot afford this any longer and we must both elect better representatives and force them to be responsible. The government should fear the people and not the other way around. It is easy to say this but it must also be backed by action. If this means protesting in the streets, then so be it. We control this country, not them, and it is time that we use the law to remind them of that. Corrupt politicians and white collar criminals in this country should suffer penalties that are equal to their crimes. As far as I am concerned some of the worst offenders deserve no less than life sentences in prison for the damage they have inflicted on the economy and in turn a massive amount of people, including people outside of our borders.

It has become much harder for the working class in this country over the last decade and it keeps getting harder. We have been living out of league with sustainability for too long, and I think now we are feeling the result of that lifestyle. Hopefully we can learn to fare with less from here on out. It is painful though to see so many people becoming so disproportionately rich that it is beginning to topple the middle class in America. The middle class is and always will be the solid backbone of this country, and without it America will fail. As exiting as it has been to see Obama’s inaugural celebrations, it does stick in the back of the middle class Americans’ throat to see the front rows of the events lined by the rich and famous, when it seems those rows should have been saved for the working class people who went out of their way to make sure Obama reached the highest office of the government. Those people did not have the luxury of donating large sums to Obama, but instead paid him with time away from families they were trying to support and jobs they need to survive. I am not so blind that I do not see how it is those very rich and liberal people that the conservatives feel are completely out of touch with average Americans, and how they are angered by their access to everything while that access is denied the rest of us. It will be up to Obama to balance out his relations with the rich and famous in a way that he can still remain the peoples’ president and not lose touch with the average American. I hope he can do this because if he cannot, I fear people will not follow his lead. I hope to live to see the day that celebrity will not be so celebrated. It would serve us better to start sincerely rewarding our teachers, thinkers and scientists instead of those who entertain and sometimes distract us. If we continue to refuse to do this then America will continue to fade into the background of the continually progressing outside world.

Through it all, I remain optimistic because there is only one alternative that is not worth consideration. I am ready to work to make this country better, and I know I am not alone. The world and America are in desperate need of healing, and I fear we are losing precious time. Lets lift this administration up and force it to hold it’s mantle while we work to put this country back into the hands of the people it belongs to and was created for. Congratulations to Mr. Obama, and while we behold this historical day, let us do so in productive spirit as now is the time to turn the page of history and stop talking about change and make it happen for real.

written by Christopher | tags: , , , ,


Sol Sender Interview

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An interesting interview is available at the NY Times from the man, Sol Sender (Senderllc.com/) who put the famous ‘O’ in the Obama brand.

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,


Obama Dingbats

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Obamamania rages on and you can quench your thirst by downloading some pretty sweet free Obama dingbats here. Pretty cool graphics to be giving away.

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,


Yes We Did

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I know a lot of you out there get upset when I write about politics, but tonight I will just have to ignore that. To me this moment in the history of the country in which I was born means more to me.

Tonight really overwhelmed me. As an American and as an American who still loves this country but has been wounded by watching such a dismal last few years unfold, I really do pray with all my heart that this is a step in a new direction. For being such an influence on the global politic, as a young person it has been hard for me to watch other parts of the world make important steps towards progress while America has lagged behind. We still have a very very long way to go, but I feel that this really is an important step.

I have never seen so much energy directed toward something like this election in all my life. It was amazing seeing so many young people finally wake up and get involved. I only hope this is just a start and we will only see more and more young people take up their civic duty and not only vote but contribute to the electoral process in this county.

We did it. We worked hard. We hoped and toiled against some very hard odds and we did it. We finally elected our first black president. I have prayed that I would one day live to see this day in my life. I worked all weekend on graphics for MoveOn.org that were created for if Obama won the election (you can see two of those graphics above).

It scared the hell out of me because I felt like the person who must be responsible for creating all of the paraphernalia for the team expected to win the World Series only to have to watch them lose on game day. It made me all the more tense and I had no idea how I would react tonight if Obama won. The moment it was announced I burst into tears.

It is important to note that John McCain gave a wonderful speech tonight that revealed his true character and his love for this country. He showed true heart tonight and was incredibly gracious.

I think it is just impossible if you live in the United States to ignore the importance of this moment. I hope we can find a way to once again unify this divided country and heal the rift that has lately divided us. I sincerely do.

My sincerist congratulations to those of you out there to whom this means so much. And to those who do not agree with Obama or his policies, I sincerely hope we can find a way to begin to work together and try to make this country better. It is going to take everyone, not just one side versus the other. We need unity now more than ever before.

Now lets move forward. We have an incredible amount of work to do and this is only the beginning.

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,


Callie Shell

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I just found the photographs of Time photojournalist Callie Shell fantastic. There are some really amazing moments captured along the rise of the Obama campaign and some sincere personality really comes across, especially in the moments shared within the immediate Obama family.

written by Christopher | tags: , , , ,


The Great Schlep

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Well, get yourself on a plane and schlep on down to Florida. Watch the video for Sarah Silverman’s explicit instructions, and then you’ll know what you gotta do once you get there.

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,


Obama Commemorative Poster

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The large format 24 x 36 Obama Commemorative Posters are now in the official Changethethought storefront and are available for purchase. These posters were produced with the utmost attention to detail out of respect for Barack Obama and all that he has achieved. This poster was featured and sold at the Manifest Hope show at the DNC in Denver, Colorado.

The posters are produced in bright vivid color and will easily fit a standard American-sized poster frame. They have been printed on extra heavy durable 80lb Mohawk Felt paper which gives the print a canvas like texture while holding true to the color. Every single poster has been signed and numbered. A limited quantity were printed and several have already sold at the Manifest Hope show. The posters are selling for $50 dollars a piece and a percentage of the profit from every sale will go towards the Obama for America campaign.

You can purchase one here.  International orders and credit cards are accepted. Posters are shipped in durable heavy .125 inch thick tubes to prevent damage during transit.

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,


Barack Obama 08 DNC Speech

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It was everything it needed to be last night and more. It was tough, it was smart and it was dead on. It was exactly what needed to be said.

written by Christopher | tags: , ,


Hope is a 4 Letter Word

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Well, try as I did, I was not able to get tickets to watch Obama speak tonight. I pulled out every stop but it just didn’t happen. I am planning on running by the Andenken Gallery one more time today for the Manifest Hope show and give away some posters I did for MoveOn.org this week along with what is left of the stickers I made a year or more back. So, if you are in the neighborhood today, stop by and pick up some free stuff.

I have been creating stickers and t-shirts for MoveOn all this month, and if you are at the speech tonight they will be selling the t-shirts afterwards. I don’t get anything from the sales, but I do believe some of the money goes towards the Obama campaign.

I think tonight will be a moment to remember in American history. I have zero doubt that Obama’s speech will be anything less than amazing. I just hope this pushes on through all the way. I really do. I will be downtown in Denver tonight with my wife and hopefully some friends to watch it happen wherever we can squeeze in and catch it on T.V. Then I will be out tonight downtown for a while. Even though I won’t be in the arena, it is still amazing to be living here in Denver while this is all happening. It really is history being made. It has been very surreal and I am so glad that even in a small way, I have been able to be an active part.

Hope may be a 4 letter word, but those are 4 very powerful letters that when combined can create a movement and make history.

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,


Obama Stolen Shirts

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There are some really cool new Obama shirts for sale in the Stolen Shop. They have put about 3 or 4 new designs up since I last visited. You can show your support and maintain your hipster image. Everyone wins.

written by Christopher | tags: , , , ,


Free Obama For America Posters

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I created yet one more pack of free posters as a creative alternative to the existing posters. This set comes with a version at 8.5 x 11 so it is even more ‘at home’ printer friendly. It is also available in both 11×17 and 24×36. In all honesty these were created because I was experimenting with a new style of vector illustration and a poster came out of that experimentation. I thought I might as well offer it up to anyone who might like to use it to promote Obama. I created this at the same time as the commemoritive poster but decided to go with the look and feel for the commemoritive poster versus this style. It’s a bit more of a characatur than previous images. The image does translate well from a distance though.

As always you can download all of the files in the Obama section and use at your discression (so long as you do not intend to sell them).

I am in the process of gathering price quotes for the printing of the large scale commemoritive poster, so it should be available for sale within the next 3 weeks.

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,


Obama Commemorative Poster

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I decided just before Obama won the nomination for the Democratic party that I wanted to do a commemorative poster for him. I felt like what has been missing lately with a lot of the work that has been done out there for him is something a little more ageless and less trendy. I thought a lot of older voters would appreciate having something they could hang on their wall as well. So I set out to try and create something that would bridge that divide a little bit and appeal to both young and old. I wanted the image to almost appear as a giant commemorative stamp. At least that was how I saw it in my head. I realized that his logo worked with the same composition as I had done earlier for the poster I created commemorating Buckminster Fuller. So, I decided to stick with that design and potentially do a series of these.

I will be printing this poster sometime in the next few weeks before the DNC and it will be available for purchase in my Merchline Storefront when it is off the press. Once the cost of production is paid for through the sales, whatever profit is accrued by the posters will be donated directly to Obama’s campaign. The poster is very large measuring in at 24 by 36 inches (2 feet by 3 feet). It just about destroyed my computer as the actual 300 dpi Photoshop file was nearing 3 gigs. I have been whittling away at it for about 2 weeks off an on now and I am finally satisfied with the result. The poster will be printed on crisp white 100lb stock paper to preserve the highlight effect on Obama’s face. I also used the official Obama typeface as well since it has become such a known part of his propaganda, and I felt it was important to make sure that was in this poster.

I will write another entry announcing when the poster will be available for sale. Stay tuned. As always you can see the poster along with a closer detail in the PRINT section with the rest of my print work.


written by Christopher | tags: , , ,


Ron English Obama Poster

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I haven’t yet posted news about Upper Playground’s ongoing Obama poster series because of mixed emotions. I haven’t been able yet to determine if all the money they are making is going toward the Obama campaign or not. In times like these, I say give if you can and if you are earning money from Obama’s image, give that money back to his campaign. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is great the Upperplayground is contributing. I just think it’s a little immoral to be turning a buck of the Obama trend on one hand and touting support with the other. This is America though and that is how capitalism works I guess. Like I said though, I could be totally wrong, they might be giving a small amount of money to the artist and then giving all the rest back to the campaign. With each poster costing a whopping $200 in this economy, with a target audience that is most likely comprised of artists and creatives, I hope they are putting that money towards a good cause.  If they are, then I applaud them whole-heartedly and apologize sincerely for any misperception on my behalf.

That peace being spoken, the poster by Ron English really is noteworthy. Not just because Ron English is such an interesting and controversial artist but because of his interpretation of Obama in his poster. It stirs a lot of emotions looking at the image he has created and it also brings about an idea of a circle in history finally being closed once and for all. I think it’s a brilliant idea and speaks a lot about the intelligence behind English’s work. Of all the posters so far, I would say this one, if you have the actual money to spare, is worth the cost. It’s a brilliant effort by English and beautifully conceived. In a world of clutter it is so often the simplest images that speak the loudest.

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,

Our First Black Presidential Nominee

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Hilary Clinton has officially announced tonight that she is officially dropping out of the race for President. She has plans now to endorse Obama later this week.

That being said it is time for the next important order of business and that is the news that for the first time in the history of the United States of America we officially have are first black presidential nominee. It is a proud and historic moment for our country and it is a moment that so far has been hard fought by Obama and his supporters. I think at this point it is safe to say that he has run an intelligent campaign and his people have done an absolutely phenomenal job in winning this nomination. It really is an amazing time right now in the United States and it is exciting as a young person to feel, even in a small way to be actively participating in something so important. It’s an amazing moment to see someone young, energized, exciting and more symbolic of our shared creeds in this country.

The real work lies ahead now for the Obama camp. McCain will be pulling out all the stops to do whatever he can to smear and bring Obama down. It is going to be a tough time but what could potentially be gained is worth the fight. It is a thrilling time for sure and I think a lot of eyes, all over the world will continue to be focused on where this is all going. There is no doubt that America now finds itself in the throes of political history. I just hope for all our sakes that this is the beginning of correcting some awful mistakes made over the last 8 years. We have a lot of work to do and we need to get to it.

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,


A Historic Night for American Politics

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I have been holding off on writing this entry until the video was in from all three remaining presidential candidates tonight. I watched all three and there were some good speeches given tonight. They are posted above and I apologize for the commercials but it was the best and most complete video I could find. I think the speeches tonight were the first time the American public got a glimpse of some of what they can expect in the coming months. I am probably misquoting the exact number, but McCain used the word ‘change’ around 35 times or more in his speech. A particular note that offended me from McCain’s speech was his touting that Obama somehow represents or is supported by special interest. That was hard to sit through considering McCain is supported by some of the most powerful corporate lobbyists in the country. His attempt at posing himself as the original change candidate seemed a little contrived and a touch desperate but I think it is just the beginning of his part pulling out all the stops against a potential run against Obama. I have heard from inside his party that the proposition of running against Obama and his ‘new’ way of campaigning scares the hell out of some of his affiliates. Apparently Obama has been able to move younger conservative voters over to his side and this worries McCain’s organizers. It should and it is also why I think we can expect to see a very interesting race that will highlight some of the polar factions of American politics.

Another note from the nights events is that Clinton made it clear that she is not yet deciding to drop out of the nomination process. She has amassed a large cache of voters, and as a wealthy woman, there can be no doubt that she knows when you have acquired valuable assets you hold on to them as long as you can or at least as long as you can to use them for leverage. That being said, it is looking like she wants to use that cache of voters as a potential way of maneuvering her way into a V.P. position. News is breaking from her camp that she wants to seek personal council with Obama as soon as possible so they can discuss future plans. The nagging question is, why doesn’t she just meet with him then? Why does she have to ‘announce’ that she wants to meet with him. One thing is for sure, the Clinton supporters are standing firmly by her and regardless of her attempt at congratulating Obama and speaking of party unification.

Lastly, and of course I can admit bias as an Obama supporter, I think Obama gave a rousing speech tonight. It was truly inspiring and it was the first time I felt he really started laying down the issues he wants to address as the nominee. The news has been quick to jump on the story of his nomination and I was very excited by it myself. The problem is, Clinton has not yet officially ceded the nomination and until she does I worry that she could cause a tear in the party. Obama is doing his best despite this to talk to all potential voters on both sides of the aisle. Despite the muddy conditions under which he did his best at accepting the apparent nomination, it is a historic evening for American politics. Obama will be our first black presidential nominee and it is due time. I still believe he is a real symbol for a new America and it is an America that young people understand and openly accept while some older Americans are still clinging to past prejudice. I have heard it said and uttered that America is not ready for a black President and I feel this is totally untrue. If we are not ready now then we never will be. Skin color should no longer be an issue in this country. Period. It’s an important and overdue step for the U.S.

I know some readers do not like it when I write about politics but as an American citizen this presidential race and it’s impact on both the U.S. and the world are impossible to ignore. The current administration has put a strain on this country and it has made it a difficult climate in which to practice a creative career. It will be better for us all if America takes a step in a more intelligent, diplomatic, ethical and prosperous direction. These are interesting times we find ourselves in and I think it’s important to pay attention. The world could be a very different place in the future and making changes may require sacrifices from us all, specifically in the U.S. We need a leader now more than ever that can inspire us to take up our civic duty and make both America and the world a better place. We have been apathetic for too long and it is costing us dearly.

written by Christopher | tags: , , , ,


ISO50 – Artists for Obama

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The official national Obama for President campaign has asked enormously popular graphic artist Scott Hansen A.K.A. ISO50 to design the next poster for the Artists for Obama program. The last poster was designed by Shepard Fairey and has already sold out long ago. There will be 5,000 posters printed at $70 a piece. It should hopefully help raise a nice little chunk of change for Obama. I think this is a brilliant idea on Obama’s behalf and it shows how in touch and intelligent his organizers really are.

Hansen has written on his blog that the poster was one of the largest files he has ever produced. The final Photoshop layered file weighed in at 2.77 gigabytes and nearly a thousand layers. That’s pretty mind boggling if you ask me. I think the biggest Photoshop file I ever produced was close to 2 gigs but I have never gone over that.

It’s great to see that he was so inspired to create something so spectacular on Obama’s behalf. I am excited to see it and I am also very happy to see the money will be going where it should, into the hands of the campaign where it can be used to help Obama gain the nomination this summer.

The poster should be available at Obama’s online store sometime later this week or next. It may also be available at ISO50. I will post more when the news breaks.

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,


Free Obama Portrait Posters

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I have created one last round of free downloadable vector-format posters for the Obama presidential campaign. I created these myself because of some of the recent problems and allegations that have been swarming around Obama. I still feel very strongly that he is the most viable candidate for president in 2008. It has angered me to see him being accused of being an elitist. Barack Obama is a self-made man of the people and he is very much for the people.

Again, these posters are completely free and were created deliberately as vector art so they would be small in file size making them ideal for fast distribution through email. They are available in both 11 x 17 format and large scale poster size at 24 x 36. The 11 x 17 posters are ideal for home printing on tabloid size paper and should be fairly inexpensive to print in large quantities. The small file size should allow you to email them directly to Kinko’s if you would like to print a run for your local Obama campaign group.

I created this new series to be much more aggressive in tone and convey more of Obama’s strength and determination. The last series was meant to help communicate Obama’s humanity and his qualities as the ‘thinking-man’s candidate’ which I feel he is.

Once more, if you do not like the style of these posters or feel they can be improved or translated into your native language, I encourage you to download them and do so. I have made the raw Illustrator files completely available so you are welcome to alter them in any way you see fit. The previous post announcing the alterations of the already existing posters also contains a long list of other places on the web where you can download Obama posters. Those posters and mine should give you several options suiting many tastes for posters to distribute at little to no cost.

As always you can download all of the posters I have created in the Obama section of the website.

written by Christopher | tags: , , ,