In Spring of 2008 I spent several days with Robert Indiana, with whom I had been both friends and a collaborator with for decades. Bob complained that everyone knew Love but no one knew who he was. I told him he needed a follow up hit just as the Beatles had to follow up “She Loves You” with “All You Need is Love” – you don’t want to be a one hit wonder. Although, fairly stated, Indiana had produced a disarming catalogue of important work – from Eat to Art, from He to She, from American Dream to his political paintings – none had the intense popularity underscoring the masterpiece nature of Love. I soon realized that, having seen the book Audacity of Hope, that Hope was the new word of the times, just as Love was to the 1960s.
I began making prototypes of Hope, beginning with drawings, then computer renderings and finally a wooden sculpture prototype. I met with Bob and showed him what I had created and that I thought the Hope image I designed could be his follow up hit to Love. Of course, Bob wanted miracles and felt we needed to actually have Barack Obama involved in the project – which seemed somewhere between unlikely and impossible. After a serious of calls, meetings, idea exchanges and deep breathes, Hope became the Democratic campaign slogan and a monumental Hope exhibited in front of the Democratic National Convention kicked in the art of Hope, destined to be both the Art Icon of the Century and the Sign of the Times.