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29 Mar, 2013 16:37

Obama 'Change' poster artist infuriates gun advocates with his new work

Obama 'Change' poster artist infuriates gun advocates with his new work

Graphic designer and street artist Shepard Fairey has released a new print associating gun owners with Satan. Claiming to be inspired by recent massacres, he created the image to pressure politicians into tightening gun control legislation.

Fairey, who is known for his iconic “HOPE” poster that he created during Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, has enraged gun advocates with his latest design. The newest print, which Fairey is selling for $150 a piece, depicts an AR15 rifle and the words “America – The Land Where God Saves & Satan Invests in Assault Weapons and High Capacity Magazines.”

The 43-year-old designer says recent mass shootings inspired him to create the image. In a blog post published on his website, Fairey promised that a portion of the proceeds from the print will be donated to a “common sense gun law advocacy group.”

He says that he’s not religious, but that he wanted to demonstrate the hypocrisy that he believes Americans exhibit by practicing Christianity while also carrying ‘Satan’s tools’ that end up being used in accidental deaths, homicides and suicides.

“I’m not a big fan of the absurd abundance of guns in the U.S…. I’m also perplexed by the claim of much of the nation to have ‘Christian values.’ If god tells us to love our neighbor and not to take another human life, where do the assault weapons and piles of ammo fit into these ‘Christian values’?” he writes.

“Anyway, if you claim to dig god, lay off of Satan’s tools… if you don’t believe in god, lay off of Satan’s tools!” Fairey adds. “We live in statistically the safest time in human history, so the idea one would need an assault weapon for self defense is ridiculous.”

The artist claims to understand the importance of upholding the Second Amendment, but believes that the right to bear arms should “not be unconditional” as technology evolves to create deadlier and more efficient high-capacity magazines and weapons. He calls ‘assault-style’ weapons ‘tools of aggression, not defense’.

“When I ponder the demand for these killing machines, I see Satan metaphorically at work in the darkest, fear-based impulses of humanity,” he writes.

Fairey’s latest print has sparked a flurry of outrage among gun advocates who feel offended by his religious comparison. Internet commenters have denounced the artist for making the satanic comparison, with one claiming that

“he obviously has no religious background or knowledge because God tells us in His Word that we are to protect our own.” Critics have pointed out that senseless killing is immoral, but that defending oneself is not.

Other commenters have noted that the US government is just as bad as those who own assault-style weapons, and that ordinary Americans should not give up their weaponry as long as the feds keep theirs.


“So does that Satan investing in assault weapons and high capacity magazines count for the Department of Homeland Security and their recent order for 1.625 billion rounds of rifle and handgun ammo, 2,700 MRAP vehicles, 7,000 ‘personal defense rifles’ (assault rifles for the regular citizenry), and their order of ‘no hesitation targets’?” one commenter writes.

But despite criticism from gun advocates, the artist is continuing to express his opposition to assault-style weapons through a number of images, including a print that he made for clothing retailer Karmaloop. The retailer is selling T-shirts with one of Fairey’s prints for $24. Titled “The Gun Control Tee”, the image depicts a pistol attached to a building, with a sign reading, “2ndAmendment Solution.” In small print below the image is the phrase, “It’s not the bullet with my name on it that worries me. It’s the one that says, ‘to whom it may concern’.”

With his latest prints, Fairey may be re-igniting a debate on gun control that President Obama on Thursday said is being slowly forgotten.

"The notion that two months or three months after something as horrific as what happened in Newtown happens and we've moved on to other things?" the president said in remarks at the White House. "That's not who we are. That's not who are are. And I want to make sure every American is listening today."