Meet the Artist Whose ‘KAVANOPE’ Poster Has Gone Totally Viral
The widely disseminated poster is the work of illustrator Tracie Ching and appears to be an homage to Shepard Fairey's Obama 'Hope' image.
The contentious confirmation hearings for judge Brett Kavanaugh drew to apparent close in Washington, DC, this afternoon, with the Senate Judiciary Committee voting to advance president Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee to the full Senate, despite a last minute request for an FBI investigation from Jeff Flake. Both inside and outside of senate chambers, protesters have been outspoken in their disapproval of Kavanaugh, widely seen as a threat to women’s reproductive rights, and now accused of sexual misconduct by three different women.
Omnipresent among the signs and posters brandished by demonstrators across the country in recent weeks is a stark image of the nominee, rendered in red, gray, black, and white, a slightly befuddled expression on his face. The text reads “KAVA NOPE” on two lines, split above and below the judge’s face.
The graphic is the work of DC-based illustrator and “vector artist” Tracie Ching, who created the image for the group Unite for Justice and its coordinated day of action opposing Kavanaugh’s nomination on August 26. On the bottom of the image, she included the #StopKavanaugh hashtag and a link to the Unite for Justice website.
As a commercial illustrator, Ching’s clients have included Adobe, Disney, TIME, Google, and Marvel. She has also launched her own mentorship and grant program, christened She Creates, for which she will meet with and advise a female artist, designer, or illustrator, over the course of one year, culminating in a $2,000 grant upon completion of the program.
The graphic style of her “KAVANOPE” poster clearly evokes Shepard Fairey’s instantly recognizable Hope poster for former President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, with the word “NOPE” replacing “HOPE” in Ching’s new image.
In the decade since its origin, Fairey’s iconic image has been an easy starting point for parodies of all kinds. These have included a variety of widely circulated images of president Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual harassment himself, replacing “HOPE” with “GROPE.”
While many artists have created works inspired by Fairey’s striking image, Ching has made the design her own, incorporating intricate crosshatching in her portrait. The intersecting lines are a staple of her expertly drafted work, but here take on a somewhat sinister quality.
(The same style is in evidence on an April 13th cover by Ching for Newsweek, for a story about Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s effect on world politics. An accompanying video, embedded below, gives a sense of her process.)
Whereas Fairey’s Hope image is draped in red, white, and blue, suggesting the American flag, Ching’s KAVANOPE has an all-red background, suggesting the colors of the Republican party and also giving it a sinister appearance, when combined with the stark black-and-white text blocks.
See more photos of demonstrators with the KAVANOPE poster on the streets below.
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