Design Inspiration – Blog Post 2
Jim Fitzpatrick was an Irish artist whose work included very intricate illustrations, inspired by Celtic methodology; however, his one very famous piece stands apart from his usual artwork he produced. His poster “Viva Che” released in 1968, and has been known as one of the top 10 most iconic images.
Jim Fitzpatrick idolized Guevara and the artist had met Che Guevara himself in 1962 while working at bar. When Fitzpatrick heard of Guevara’s death in Bolivia, he outlined the image of Guevara that was taken by Korda (Fidel Castro’s official photographer) using a process called “line drop” and put the image above a red background. Creating a monotone image with only red and black as the main colors, he drew the star in yellow with a felt-tip pen. The poster became an iconic image of the anti-Vietnamese war protests worldwide and used by many.
In an interview, Jim states that his artwork “Viva che” was making a statement of outrage at the murder of Che Guevara, a Cuban revolutionist and to keep his memory.
Barack Obama’s “HOPE” poster designed by Shepard Fairey in 2008 for Obama’s presidential campaign is another very famous piece of political artwork used by many of his supporters and became the primary image for the campaign.
Like Fitzpatrick’s poster, Fairey has only the face as the focal point to create an impact of a solitary figure with only three colors. Fairey however, added singular words as promise or hope in the poster.
Obama’s gaze, the imagery, simplicity and the two poster’s flat graphic treatment is a strong reminiscent of Jim Fitzpatrick’s Viva Che. As stated by Laura Barton from The Guardian, “…it has acquired the kind of instant recognition of Jim Fitzpatrick’s Che Guevara poster, and is surely set to grace T-shirts, coffee mugs and the walls of student bedrooms in the years to come.”
Barton, Laura. November 2008. The Guardian. <https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2008/nov/10/barackobama-usa>.
Tipton, Gemma. Feburary 2011. Irish Times. <https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/art-and-design/visual-art/the-irish-artist-who-captured-the-image-of-che-guevara-1.576934>