Shepard Fairey is arguably America’s best known street artist. Fairey began his street project in 1989 by taking the image of wrestler Andre the Giant and combining it with the instruction to ‘Obey’.
A prolific artist, his Obey project has continued for over twenty years with the Andre the Giant image having been placed in the streets tens of thousands of times.
He is fascinated by contemporary culture’s obsession with advertising, fame and the media, in particular the possibility of taking something which is essentially meaningless and by endless repetition giving it a perceived power and meaning.
Fairey demonstrates through the development of his own symbolism and mythologies that eventually perceived power transforms itself into real meaning.
Fairey’s method of working found a new focus during the American election campaign of 2008 where his images of Obama become synonymous with the campaign. Eventually the image would feature as the front cover of Time magazine and earn Fairey a place of the magazines list of the most influential figures of 2008. The original canvas of the Obama image was purchased by the Smithsonian Museum where it now hangs.
In 2009 a solo retrospective of Fairey’s work was shown at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art and in 2009 Time magazine commissioned Fairey to design his second cover for the magazine. In a year that included Occupy Wall Street and the wake of The Arab Spring, this cover was dedicated to 'The Protester'.
Fairey's work can now be found in many Museums and Galleries around the world including MoMa in New York, The National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. and The Victoria and Albert Museum in London.