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Shepard Fairey Street Artist


									Shepard Fairey:
Street Artist+

Presented by
Debra Detamore
Moore Public Schools
From skateboarder to famous street artist, Shepard Fairey
was named “Icon Maker” of 2008 by Time Magazine for his
portrait of Barack Obama.
Up until 2008, 38-year-
 old Fairey was
 known for his rock-
 music album covers
 and an advertising
 campaign that
 featured a wrestler
 named Andre the
Fairey graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design
and went on to found a design studio which specialized in
“guerrilla marketing.”
While Mr. Obama
was accepting the
nomination, Fairey,
who had been
arrested for putting
posters up in an
alley in Denver, got
out of jail and began
filming a YouTube
account of his 14th
arrest. He is
America‟s foremost
street artist.
The multimedia collage was a symbol of the Obama
political machine. The portrait is now part of the
Smithsonian‟s National Portrait Gallery.
The artist attributes the
beginnings of his
creative ideas to being
in the skateboarding
culture in South
Carolina. At 14 he
listened to punk- rock
and saw a lot of hand
made art like stencils,
stickers, and drawing on
While in college, he was trying to teach a friend how to make a stencil,
when he found a photo of Andre the Giant in a newspaper. He tried to
get the friend to practice with the photo, but he wouldn‟t. Fairey decided
to do it himself. It turned into what he calls the “Obey Giant” series.
Fairey realized that people absorb images in
public. He also thought that manipulating the
press could make something even bigger. So, he
began to sabotage billboards. He put a large
face over that of a candidate who was running
for office. Coco-cola had a billboard for a new
product that looked like an underground soda.
He thought that was false advertising, so he
changed around all the ads. He traveled around
the world putting stuff up, and subsequently
ended up getting put in jail many times.
“The message with my work is: “question everything…question
everything that you are bombarded with.”
Fairey‟s artistic style
is reminiscent of the
Chinese and
propaganda posters
of the past century.
“There‟s a whole very
amazingly researched
and crafted art of
persuasion in
advertising and
politics. I feel like
some people just kind
of walk around like
zombies and they
complain that things
aren‟t the way they
want – but yet, that‟s
why I use the “Obey”.
It really means the
opposite, questioning
or disobeying.
“Snap out of
“Even with my own work
I‟m saying, „Be aware of
this too, be aware of me,
be aware of what I‟m
doing, be aware of what
companies are doing.”
 What kind of statement would you like to
    make with your art???
 If you could do street art, what kind of
    images would you want to display??
 Think of another powerful word like „obey‟
    that could be your motto for your artwork.
Resources for photos and Information:

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