Trayvon Martin Gets the Shepard Fairey Treatment

The 'Hope' poster artist has immortalized the dead Florida teen in a new work for Ebony magazine.

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21 Mar 2012, Miami, Florida, USA --- Here's tragic Florida teen Trayvon Martin, who was fatally shot by a self-appointed neighbourhood watch rep George Zimmerman as he walked in an apartment complex in Sanford. The 17-year-old's killing has caused a national outcry and sparked calls for Zimmerman's arrest. Zimmerman has claimed he fired his gun in self defence. Pictured: Trayvon Martin --- Image by © Splash News/Corbis

It was probably bound to happen: L.A. street artist and Obama “Hope” poster creator Shepard Fairey has turned Trayvon Martin into an icon.

The artist was commissioned by Ebony magazine a few months ago to create the piece; Fairey only just shared the image on his blog, saying he had to keep the artwork under wraps until the issue hit newsstands earlier this week. (Ebony is owned by Time Inc., the parent company of TIME and

(VIDEO: Shepard Fairey talks to TIME about his ‘Hope’ Poster)

On the Trayvon Martin case, Fairey writes:

“I have followed Trayvon’s case closely and I think any compassionate human being can relate to Trayvon as a brother or son and would want to see a thorough investigation into the killing of an unarmed person. In my portrait I wanted to emphasize Trayvon’s humanity as well as the public outcry for a just investigation into his death.”

The artwork is based on the now-famous image of Martin in a hooded sweatshirt, in the same signature style as Fairey’s Hope posters and TIME Magazine covers.

(READ: Shepard Fairey Unveils New Hope Poster to Support Occupy Movement)

Some have wondered, however, whether it’s too similar to Fairey’s earlier work, and whether at this point in the news cycle — as Martin’s accused killer George Zimmerman faces the prospect of a long and complex trial for second-degree murder — its message will make much difference. L.A. Weekly’s take:

“The image would have made a much huger splash a few months ago, when Fairey says he created it. The artist’s faithful Haters love to rail on him for never meeting a social-justice cause he didn’t like — nor one he didn’t want to filter through his tried-and-true contrast tool. Collage some urban-looking patternry onto the background, and voila! Name-brand T-shirt activism!”

MORE: New Trayvon Martin Evidence: 10 Things You Should Know