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Two Obama Books Are Out & Another Is On The Way!

The day before yesterday, I finally received in the mail two of the Obama art movement books that are hitting the market this fall, thanks to my wonderful girlfriend who had pre-ordered them both as birthday presents for me when I found out about them several months ago. I knew for sure I was going to be in the Art For Obama book, as it was themed around the Manifest Hope:DC show I participated in last January during the inauguration, but I wasn't 100% sure I was going to be in the Hope: A Collection of Obama Posters and Prints.

Well as it turns out, I am in both. I took more crappy cell phone pics of the pages I'm on and posted them to my Flickr account, if you're curious to see. The Art For Obama book has a small pic of my stencil canvas that was in the show, while the poster book has one of my original stencil prints of the "Believe" design, in blue, and a small bio paragraph. I feel honored to be in both of them, and so elated to have that shining moment of my creative life immortalized in not just one but two books!

And as if that isn't enough to be excited about, the third book that I mentioned in the above-cited previous blog post, Designing Obama, is getting a lot of publicity right now via its Kickstarter project page. Kickstarter is a fundraising site for creative projects and ideas; it's genius, really, and has already in its infancy helped a lot of really amazing projects find funding. Scott Thomas, who was the Design Director of the Obama Campaign, put together this amazing 360 page book chronicling the art and design of Obama's historic campaign. But he is self-publishing it, and therefore needs to raise the money to get it printed up front. So far he has 483 backers pledging $30,859, but he's got to get to $65K by November 5th for the project to be fully funded. Help him reach his goal by making a donation or passing around his Kickstarter URL to others who may be interested in supporting this project. I'd love to see this beautiful book get published, not just because I'm in it but because it seems the most comprehensive and in-depth look at the grassroots art and design movement that helped Barack get elected.

I'm sure many of you are tired of hearing me talk about the Obama art movement and my contributions to it, but for me, not only was it a year of my life where I felt fully engaged in the world, my country, and politics in a way that I've never felt before, but also it was an amazing example to me of the power of the internet, and of the grassroots, to effect change in a really concrete and creative way. And, as an artist, it showed me the power of using my creativity in combination with my communication skills (PR, social networking, publicity, etc.) to a very successful end.

I'm really thankful these books have been published, as a reminder of all that and of the excitement and feeling of hope and possibility that permeated that timeframe. And as I look at my life and the reality of all our lives now, nearly a year after the election, I can't help but wonder, what happened? Why have we become complacent again so quickly? Obama's work has barely begun, and, well, he's been a little sidetracked what with the economy on the brink of utter failure and all. Why have so many given up hope already, become cynical and unengaged again? We - and yes, I'm including myself here as well - need to recapture that spirit and desire again and apply it to the issues at hand now: health care, the environment, the economy, the war in Afghanistan, etc. We shouldn't need someone like Yosi Sergant - masterful as he is at organizing and orchestrating - to get us off our butts to make things happen in our own communities, or even on a regional or national level. We have the tools and the creativity, we know how to make things happen. So lets do it!

For my part and on a local basis, I'll be helping out my friend Karen Ocker with her Ray Nagin Coloring Book launch party and art show, and contributing a piece to the show that will riff on the last page of the book, about our future mayor. Currently there's only three candidates who've declared their intentions to run for mayor in February's election, and so far, I have to say that James Perry seems to be saying all the right things and sounds like the kind of mayor I want. I've yet to meet him or even hear him speak, but my gut is telling me he's the guy. So for now, unless someone else much more impressive enters the race, I'll be putting my efforts in his direction, and will hopefully come up with something brilliant for the aforementioned art show themed around him. Stay tuned!

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