Wave of Distress.
24 x 36 inches.
Offset print on thick cream Speckletone paper.
Signed by Shepard Fairey.
Street artist, activist, designer and illustrator: Shepard Fairey has done it all. He especially became widely known for supporting the 2008 Obama campaign, executing murals dedicated to Nelson Mandela and posters representing Marianne in honour of the victims of the November 2015 Paris attacks. His distinctive palette and choice of medium make his work all the more original and attractive.
Frank Shepard Fairey (born February 15, 1970) is an American contemporary artist, activist and founder of OBEY Clothing who emerged from the skateboarding scene. In 1989 he designed the “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” (…OBEY…) sticker campaign while attending the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
Fairey designed the Barack Obama “Hope” poster for the 2008 U.S. presidential election. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston has described him as one of the best known and most influential street artists. His work is included in the collections at The Smithsonian, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
His style has been described as a ”bold iconic style that is based on styling and idealizing images.”
Fairey created the “André the Giant Has a Posse” sticker campaign in 1989, while attending the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). This later evolved into the “Obey” campaign, which has grown via an international network of collaborators replicating Fairey’s original designs. Fairey intended the Obey Giant to inspire curiosity and cause people to question their relationship with their surroundings. According to the website, “The sticker has no meaning but exists only to cause people to react, to contemplate and search for meaning in the sticker”. The website also says, by contrast, that those who are familiar with the sticker find humor and enjoyment from it and that those who try to analyze its meaning only burden themselves and may condemn the art as an act of vandalism from an evil, underground cult.
Originally intending the sticker campaign to gain fame among his classmates and college peers,
At first I was only thinking about the response from my clique of art school and skateboard friends. The fact that a larger segment of the public would not only notice, but investigate, the unexplained appearance of the stickers was something I had not contemplated. When I started to see reactions and consider the sociological forces at work surrounding the use of public space and the insertion of a very eye-catching but ambiguous image, I began to think there was the potential to create a phenomenon.
In a manifesto he wrote in 1990–1991, and since posted on his website, he links his work with Heidegger’s concept of phenomenology. His “Obey” Campaign is from the John Carpenter movie They Live which starred pro wrestler Roddy Piper, taking a number of its slogans, including the “Obey” slogan, as well as the “This is Your God” slogan. Fairey has spun off the OBEY clothing line from the original sticker campaign. He also uses the slogan “The Medium is the Message” borrowed from Marshall McLuhan. Shepard Fairey has stated in an interview that part of his work is inspired by other street artists.
Select Exhibition List:
2000: Obey Giant, Anno Domini Gallery, San Jose, CA
2002: Overnight Delivery, BLK/MRKT Gallery, Culver City, CA
2002: Shepard Fairey, Kinsey/DesForges Gallery, Culver City, CA
2003: This is Your God, sixspace Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2004: Obey, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen
2004: Supply and Demand, Merry Karnowsky Gallery – LA, Los Angeles, CA
2005: Manufacturing Dissent, Merry Karnowsky Gallery – LA, Los Angeles, CA
2005: Shepard Fairey, Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI
2006: Obey, Magda Danysz Gallery, Paris, France
2006: Rise Above, Merry Karnowsky Gallery – LA, Los Angeles, CA
2007: E Pluribus Venom, Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, NY
2007: Ninteeneightyfouria, Stolenspace Gallery, London
2007: Imperfect Union, Merry Karnowsky Gallery – LA, Los Angeles, CA
2009: Supply & Demand, ICA – Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Boston, MA
2009: Shepard Fairey, National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, ACT
2009: Supply & Demand, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
2010: Supply and Demand, CAC – Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH
2010: May Day, Deitch Projects – 76 Grand Street, New York, NY
2011: Revolutions – The Album Cover Art Of Shepard Fairey, Robert Berman Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2012: Sound & Vision, Stolenspace Gallery, London
2015: On Our Hands, Jacob Lewis Gallery, New York, NY
2015: Sid Superman is Dead : Shepard Fairey et Denis Morris, Magda Danysz Gallery, Paris, France
2015: Your Eyes Here, CAC Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Málaga
2016: Victory is Peace – Shepard Fairey x NoNÅME, Positive-Propaganda Artspace, Munich, Germany
2017: Shepard Fairey: Work Against The Clampdown, Art Museum of West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
2018: Shepard Fairey: Salad Days, 1989–1999, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield, Hills, MI
2019: Retrospective Shepard Fairey, (600 works for Grenoble Street Art Fest), Grenoble, France
2021: Future Mosaic, Opera Gallery, Dubai
2022: New Clear Power, Amuseum of Contemporary Art, Munich