Street Art

obeyBroken Spines has previously discussed the work of Ron English.  But, with all the hub-bub around the inauguration, I was interested in the story behind the ubiquitous Obama “Hope” posters created by Shepard Fairey.  It turns out that Fairey is a street artist best known for his “Obey” stickers with an abstract black and white face based on Andre the Giant.  He’s a southern California skater, former punk rocker, and graphic artist who happens to avoid compliance with local ordinances.


But, his omnipresent poster of Obama has ironically brought him huge mainstream success ultimately helping to elect a president, the personification of government.  Listen to this Terry Gross interview with him where he deftly explains how he balances his street cred with his new found success.

Also, check out Time Magazine’s photo series called “Art of the Street” (it includes one of Fairey’s pieces).


For giggles, I included this parody of the Fairey’s hope poster. It was published on the front page of the Willamette Week paper in Portland. The image is created by Barry Stock.  I’m sure Fairey doesn’t mind.

4 Responses to “Street Art”

  1. 1 Steve M. January 28, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    I don’t know that he would think of his mainstream success as ironic.

    Shepard the Giant

    Andre the Giant has a posse.


  2. 2 bobbyjones February 6, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Oooo, it’s getting interesting. The AP is claiming copyright on the photo which the Fairey poster is based. But, it turns out that the photographer was a “temporary hire” who never signed an AP ccontract – so, technically, he’s the copyright owner.

    Fair use? Stay tuned…

  3. 3 bobbyjones March 4, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Well, the saga continues. Fairey (with Stanford’s Fair Use Project) filed a preemptive lawsuit against the AP arguing that the work is protected under fair use. Meanwhile, the AP photographer, Mannie Garcia, was a freelancer and did not have a contract with the AP – so, he is arguing that he owns the copyright. What an interesting case.

    Listen to Terry Gross interview both Fairey and Garcia here:

  1. 1 Old Ben Kenobi « Broken Spines Trackback on July 9, 2009 at 10:37 am

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