Born 15th February 1970 in Charleston, South Carolina, USA, is a street artist and designer well known for his thought-provoking, and often controversial, designs. His influences come from skateboarding, punk music, graffiti and street culture. Fairey’s first major work was reproducing black and white images of the wrestler Andre ‘The Giant’ Roussimoff. The posters, paper and vinyl sticker reproductions of the wrestler were originally targeted at punks and skateboarders, but eventually became a more widespread phenomenon.
OBEY caught on, and within a few years, Fairey’s stickers were on stop signs, walls and college campuses across the United States. The more the OBEY message spread, the more importance people attributed to the perceived message of resistance and purposeful opposition to corporations, politicians and authority figures.
Shepard Fairey is one of the most influential street artists of our time. Shepard Fairey’s work has been used in screen-prints, stencils, stickers, masking film illustrations, wheat paste, collages, sculptures, posters, paintings, and murals. Shepard Fairey enjoys working with the colors black, white, and red. Fairey has constantly shifted between the realms of fine art, commercial art, street art, and even political art.
His most famous being the propaganda poster of Barack Obama, “Hope”. This poster received the Brit Insurance Design of the Year Award in 2009. The first Obama poster produced by Fairey, which he dubs his ‘grass roots’ poster because it was produced without any connection to the official Obama Presidential Election Campaign, showed a portrait of Obama (gazing upwards in the guise of a visionary leader) with the word ‘Progress’ underneath. Initially, official Obama campaigners kept a distance from the poster, but eventually embraced it, asking Fairey to produce two revised versions.
Fairey has had his fair share of run ins with the law. With his very first work of “Andre the Giant” having to be change to “OBEY” for copyright reasons. And then his poster of Obama for similar reasons. Shepard Fairey has always been open about controversial social and political topics and often donates and creates artwork in order to promote awareness of these social issues and contributes directly to these causes.