Born in 1970, Shepard Fairey is a widely known and acclaimed contemporary artist and graphic designer. His work is known for its paired down, punchy aesthetic, encompassing lithography, vinyl stickers, murals and multiple business ventures that have made him notorious in the Fine Art, Street Art and Style worlds alike.. Often political, Fairey's work intends to provoke conversation, change minds and educate. By 2008, his now iconic "Hope" poster featuring Barack Obama spoke to an excitement for America's future and launched Fairey's career to previously unforeseen heights.
Shepard Fairey realised the disruptive power of Street Art in his salad days working at The Watershed Skate Shop alongside his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design. There, the iconic stencil of "Andre The Giant Has A Posse" was born. It would later evolve into his well known "OBEY GIANT" slogan and went on to be infamously plastered around New Jersey. As his career progressed, Fairey incorporated lithographs, murals and apparel into his practice.
Fairey delights in the confusion his guerrilla street art causes and believes it an exercise in “phenomenology”, which is to say the "meaning" of the sticker manifests itself within the viewer and reveals more about themselves than it does the artist’s intentions (Fairey, 1990). When confronted with these stickers, the artist wishes for the viewer to embrace what arises for them (Fairey, 1990). Be it laughter, confusion, intrigue or anger, these disruptions try to “stimulate curiosity and bring people to question both the sticker and their relationship with their surroundings” (Fairey, 1990).