Obama artist Shepard Fairey in graffiti arrest

US artist Shepard Fairey, who created the iconic red, white and blue portrait of President Barack Obama that appeared on thousands of T-shirts and posters, has been arrested on suspicion of graffiti charges.

Media reports in the US say that Fairey, whose ‘Hope’ image of Obama hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, was arrested on Friday night while travelling to Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art to launch his first solo exhibition.

Fairey is accused of damaging property with graffiti in several locations. If convicted on all charges, he could face up to three years in jail, according to Boston police.

The charges are understood to relate to an earlier street art campaign featuring Andre the Giant and the word ‘Obey’.

Fairey’s lawyer, Jeffrey Wiesner, told the press, ‘Shepard Fairey was completely unaware that there were any warrants for his arrest. Had he known, he would have resolved all such issues before the opening of his art exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.’

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