SHEPARD FAIREY is an American contemporary street artist, graphic designer, and illustrator who emerged from the skateboarding scene and first became known for his « Andre the Giant Has a Posse » (…OBEY…) sticker campaign, in which he appropriated images from the comedic supermarket tabloid Weekly World News. (He stuck over a million stickers in the streets!)

 

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In 1998, the company Titan Sport threat him of prosecution for illegal use of the trademark « Andre the Giant », which is a registered trademark. The artist took the opportunity to bounce back: it changes its logo, refines its design and renames his campaign OBEY GIANT.

 

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Consecration : OBAMA « HOPE » portrait.

Shepard Fairey created a series of posters supporting Barack Obama’s 2008 candidacy for President of the United States, including the very famous  « HOPE » portrait. About it, the New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl considered  it was « the most efficacious American political illustration since Uncle Sam Wants You ».

 

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Versions of his Obama portrait have graced the covers of Time and Esquire magazines, and the Smithsonian Museum hung an hand-finished version in the National Portrait Gallery. It is the same place, Fairey notes with an incredulous tone, that has hung « the George Washington that’s not finished on the bottom. »

 

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