Aug 19, 2009

The Obama Joker artist is fellow Chicagoan

Interesting posters began showed up in various cities depicting Barack Obama as the Joker from "Batman."

The first question was - who was behind the image?

Was it an ultra-conservative with a chip on his shoulder or a down-and-out street artist just wanting attention? Or maybe someone from the “he will pay my mortgage and buy my car gas” crowd who thought Obama wouldn’t deliver.

It was none of the above. It turns out the artist was a 20-year-old college student from Chicago named Firas Alkhateeb (shown above).

Alkhateeb, a senior history major at the University of Illinois, was bored during his winter school break.

He crafted the picture of Obama with the recognizable clown makeup using Adobe's Photoshop software.

Alkhateeb used a tutorial he'd found online about how to "Jokerize" portraits.

He downloaded the October 23, 2008 Time Magazine cover of Obama and began digitally painting over it.

Two days before President Obama's inauguration, Alkhateeb uploaded the photo and put it on his Flickr site.

Someone else downloaded the image, removed the references to TIME, added the word "socialism," and created a poster that has appeared all over the country.