TIME’s Person of the Year is “The Protester,” as Presented by Shepard Fairey

TIME just announced its Person of the Year this morning, as well as the cover of the magazine’s print edition. The winner is “The Protester,” in honor of the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, and the Russian election rallies. And who else designed the cover’s iconic portrait but the HOPE man himself, Shepard Fairey!

The winner seems perfectly appropriate for a year of social and political upheaval that has only continued late into 2011, showing no signs of halting in the new year. Protesters in the Middle East overthrew dictatorial regimes in Egypt and Libya, while the Occupy movement electrified America’s middle class, spreading to cities around the country in an ongoing show of momentum.

TIME’s choice of illustrator, though, is funny. Fairey has been reticent about throwing his support behind the Occupy protests, contributing a kind-of-lame poster and a few press quotes. In contrast, this cover is a tour-de-force of Fairey’s signature style, showing a masked protester in a thick hat against a background of collaged rally scenes.

See the full cover below.