Saturday, January 17, 2009

Niche Marketing For Artists-On The Coat Tails Of Obama

In these tough economic times, Shepard Fairey, a Los Angeles artist has taken advantage of Obama's election win to catapult himself from a Political Art street artist to a mainstream phenom in a very short period of time. Do a search on "Niche Marketing" in Google, and you will get 5,600,000 results, which is a lot of information to sort through.

A Niche can be defined as a segment, or portion of a larger market that can be exploited by the astute marketer particularly if the competition in terms of numbers is small. The smaller the competition the better, particularly if there are large numbers of buyers within a particular niche.

In a very short period of time, Fairey found a photo of Obama on the Internet and produced a silk screen poster of the image. He quickly brought it to market, made some money from it, got praise from Obama himself for the effort, and now the poster is being acquired by the National Portrait Gallery. A good example of being in the right place at the right time, producing the right product.

Think about it, by gaining national and worldwide media attention, the artist will certainly reserve and enjoy a footnote in the history of the world for as long as the world has a history.

So what say you? Is there an artistic niche out there that you can exploit? Could you use more information on the subject? It is not my intention to blog about niche marketing, but I have lots of information on the subject that I am willing to share if any artists out there want it.

Consider leaving a reply and let me know.
Los Angeles Times article on Shepard Fairey
Obey Giant Website


  1. Well we must also consider what are the factors in Obama’s marketing campaign on Presidential inauguration.

  2. Isn't it stealing to use a photo someone else took without their permission? While I'm happy for any artist's success, it should not be at the expense of another.

  3. I must admit I was wondering if Fairey obtained permission from the photographer of the original photo.

    I did a google search and found an article on Wired Blog Network which claims that the Obama campaign supplied an official photo for the production of the poster which contains the word "Hope" at the bottom of the poster.

  4. I just received a twitter alert from David Darrow that photographer Mannie Garcia took the photograph that was used for the poster.
    His statement on the photo can be found at this link.

  5. Mannie Garcia just found out yesterday that it was his photo. I have every reason to believe the artist could not have created his famous piece without this photo or any other without a high chance of breaking copyright laws, unless the photo was the creating of the artist as well.

    Naturally, I would like to be proven wrong, since that will open up new avenues of fame and fortune for me and other artists.

    I wonder if Fairey shoots any of his own photos, or just converts them to "his art" when he finds ones he likes.

    This whole event and the lack of praise and career advancement for Mannie Garcia is exactly what the Orphaned Works Bill makes even easier to occur, and is driven by media gluttons such as Microsoft and Getty. If they cannot "easily" locate the originator of the created work, they can use it or sell it for profit.

    I like Fairy's work. He's talented. great with color and concept.

    But let's see how far he could go if he had to start all over and shoot his own images.

  6. Well said David, there is no mention of Mr. Garcia in the video, and if the photo was used without his permission it may be considered a copyright violation. And I doubt if it would survive the "fair use" loophole in current US copyright law.

    I agree completely with your comments as well on the Orphan Works Bill which will prove to be a disaster for artists around the world who publish on US platforms, and will result in copyright theft by not only large money hungry corporations, but as well from uninformed users of the internet with regards to copyright.

  7. A New York Times article stated on February 5, 2009 that Associated Press owns the copyright of the image used by Fairey in the poster.
    Here is the link.


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