OBEY Clothing was founded on the art, design and ideals of Shepard Fairey. What started for Fairey with an absurd sticker he created in 1989 while studying at the Rhode Island School of Design has since evolved into a worldwide street art campaign, as well as an acclaimed body of fine art.
Why do you do T-shirts, posters, album covers, all the different things you do?’ I tell them this is how I connect with many different people that wouldn’t care about museums or galleries,” he says. “It’s important to do things for people who don’t necessarily see the value of an elitist art world endeavor. I make art to communicate with as many people as possible, and the more universal I can make it, the better.”
During one late night ride we spotted a set of posters with the stenciled image of wrestler Andre the Giant and one lone word printed boldly below the face: “Obey.” It got our attention. Soon, it was impossible not to see “Obey Giant” plastered all over Washington, D.C., Boston, or Baltimore, and appearing next to the famous tags “Cost” and “Revs” in New York.
And just to repeat – these are not produced by some cut rate art house fashion outlet. The company that makes these gets stocked at Urban Outfitters and Nordstroms, among others. In fact
Unlike many other screenprint companies, Obey actually offers provocative and interesting t-shirts for girl and not just the guys. I can only wear guy t-shirts so much before I start wanting to wear something a little more feminine. Obey shirts aren’t super fitted to begin with
Frank Shepard Fairey started the Andre the Giant has a Posse street art campaign in Charleston back in 1986. The posters and stickers of the famous wrestler/actor started out as an inside joke in the hip hop and skater culture, but the phenomenon soon spread throughout the east coast, and eventually they became prevalent in urban areas.
Shepard Fairey is the man behind OBEY GIANT, the 1989 art and graphics campaign that changed the way people see art and the urban landscape. Fairey steeps his ideology and iconography in the self-empowerment of those who refuse to be manipulated by the machine of manufactured consent.
Shepard Fairey, the Los Angeles street artist, has received a sentence of two years' probation and a $25,000 fine in his criminal contempt case involving his "Hope" poster of Barack Obama.
Fairey, along with artists like billboard hacker Ron English and British graffiti artist Banksy, has helped elevate street art, changing public perception of such works. Instead of vandalism, street art increasingly is viewed as a radical art movement worth preserving.
Shepard Fairey, the 38-year-old street artist known for a guerrilla art campaign that coupled the ominous slogan "Obey" with the face of pro wrestler Andre the Giant, is behind the Obama design that has become synonymous with the Democratic nominee.
The clothing is heavily inspired by classic military design, work wear basics, as well as the elements and cultural movements Shepard has based his art career on. Through designers Mike Ternosky and Erin Wignall, Shepard works to create designs that represent his influences, ideals and philosophy.
Fairey steeps his ideology and iconography in self-empowerment. With biting sarcasm verging on reverse psychology, he goads viewers, using the imperative “obey,” to take heed of the propagandists out to bend the world to their agendas.
The OBEY campaign is rooted in the Do It Yourself counterculture of punk rock and skateboarding, but it has also taken cues from popular culture, commercial marketing and political messaging.