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BACKING BARACK: With the pivotal Texas primary looming on Tuesday, graphic artist Shepard Fairey is giving some street cred to Sen. Barack Obama. Joining forces with apparel line Upper Playground and political volunteer group The 008, Fairey produced a slew of visually arresting T-shirts emblazoned with the Democratic presidential candidate's portrait floating above the word "hope" or "progress." Fairey — who is popular among youths for not only his André the Giant and other provocative street images, but also for his art magazine, Swindle, and Obey sportswear line — originally designed the portrait for a limited edition of posters early last month. After becoming collectibles, the posters inspired the T-shirts, which are on sale for $25 at Upper Playground's stores and Web site. All proceeds will go to Obama's campaign.
"[Fairey's] art resonates so deeply because the graphic simplicity of the illustration connects with Obama's clear message of hope," said Yosi Sergant, a founding partner of The 008. "People are excited by this. They are hungry for a change in political dialogue. Shepard's image captures that."