Today, Shepard Fairey‘s fame goes way beyond the world of street art aficionados: his “OBEY” image has turned into a logo and invaded every big town in the world. Since his Obama poster Hope put him under the spotlight, he is undoubtedly the artist in fashion! With an iconography inspired from communist propaganda, he is often pointed out because of his many collaborations with big multinational brands and corporations. Has success turned him into a sellout artist? We will let you make up your own mind, but in the meantime, we give you 10 funny facts about him that you might not know!
1. His fetish color
Shepard Fairey has made a particular hue of red his signature color: present in all of his work, this is the sign you are looking at a Fairey’s.
2. Shepard Fairey, a skater kid
Shepard Fairey was first just a skater kid into punk rock music: he started as an artist at the age of 14 screeprinting t-shirts and skateboards for himself and his friends. Later, while studying at the Rhode Island School of Design, he worked part-time at a skateboarding shop. This would explain his brilliant street-artist career.
3. Andre the Giant
His famous « Obey » visual, originally comes from an advertisement he found in the newspapers with the face of the famous French wrestler and actor, André Roussimoff, known under the nickname Andre The Giant.
After the success of his « Hope » poster during Obama’s campaign in 2008, he was sued for copyright infringement by Mannie Garcia, the photographer who took the original picture Fairey used.
5. Shepars Fairey’s extra curricular activities
At nighttime, the street artist also spins his music in clubs under the nicknames DJ Diabetic and Emcee Insulin.
6. Smashing Pumpkin
In 2007, he designed the cover album for the Smashing Pumpkin, an American alternative rock band.
7. Shepard Fairey is a wanted man
Fairey was busted more than 12 times for damage to public or private property. He actually just got arrested in Detroit upon his return from Europe for malicious destruction of property. Punishment for the offense carries up to five years in prison…
8. Unexpected collaborations
In 2010, he designed the wedding invite for Katy Perry and Russell Brand’s wedding.
9. Shepard Fairey and Classic Literature
In 2008, he designed the cover for a new edition of the English classic “The Animal Farm” by George Orwell.
10. Shepard Fairey : Robin hood or sellout?
Because Shepard Fairey had not saturated public space quite enough, he partnered up with Curio Wallcoverings to produce limited-run wallpaper with its “Obey” visual.