July 10, 2009 / 7:23 PM / 10 years ago

Obama portrait creator pleads guilty to graffiti

BOSTON (Reuters) - An artist who created an iconic red, white and blue portrait of U.S. President Barack Obama that appeared on thousands of posters and T-shirts pleaded guilty on Friday to graffiti charges in Boston.

Shepard Fairey, a Los Angeles artist whose “Hope” image of Obama hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, was arrested in February while traveling to Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art to kickoff his first solo exhibition.

Police accused the 39-year-old of damaging property with graffiti in several city locations.

Fairey pleaded guilty to one count of defacing property for placing a poster on an electrical box in 2000 and to two counts of destruction of property in 2009 for placing a sticker on a traffic sign and affixing a poster to a condominium.

Eleven charges were dismissed.

Fairey agreed to pay $2,000 to a graffiti cleanup service and apologize to Bostonians. He also faces two years of probation, which means the California artist must notify authorities if travels to Boston and cannot possess graffiti materials except for authorized art installations.

Reporting by Jason Szep; editing by Eric Beech

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