Is that an iconic Obama “Hope” sign or an illegal supergraphic?

It’s easy to find artist Shepard Fairey’s Echo Park studio. Just look for the giant version of his famous Obama “Hope”poster stretched across the side of a building at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Elysian Park Avenue. But what’s harder to tell is if this eye-catching image is a commercial wall sign, mural, temporary political banner or an illegal supergraphic under the city’s complicated sign laws.

Looks like we will find an answer soon, possibly later today. After The Eastsider called the Building & Safety Department to determine how the city would define a sign like the Obama banner, principal inspector Luke Zamperini said he would be sending out an inspector to take a look.

“It’s somewhat confusing,” Zamperini said of city sign regulations during a phone interview on Thursday. “It’s hard enough for the inspectors. I will send someone out tomorrow.”

But that inspector will not be able to ask Fairey, who is facing a copyright challenge over the Obama poster, if he has permits for the wall banner. The artist is in Boston today for the opening of his first museum retrospective.

Photo by Holly Hampton

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