Franck SHEPARD FAIREY : from Street Art to the Smithsonian Museum
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!)
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.
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 ».
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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