Shepard Fairey, aka Obey, is one of the most highly regarded street artists of the moment.
Born in 1970 in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of a doctor and an estate agent, Obey has always had a passion for Punk style and mostly hung out with the skaters' environment with his company of skaters' friends, whom he calls posse. It was during the high school years that Obey created his first skateboard stickers as a hobby, thus starting to range in the creation of stencils.
Obey's story as an artist begins in Providence, where he moved at the age of 18 to attend at the Rhode Island School of Design.
While attending school he deepens his knowledge of Sticker Art and he discovers the communicative power that this type of art has, regardless of the topic or message that needs to be delivered. Obey (Shepard Fairey) began working as a graphic designer at the Skateboard Watershed Store designing logos, sticker graphics and t-shirts, laying the foundations and the knowledge for his future fashion brand: Obey Clothing.
Why does the artist choose the name Obey? Shepard Fairey soon realized how society taught him absorb and react on images, but without actually explaining the meaning.
This society led him to the blind obedience without awareness thus becoming the reason for his name choice. Obedience is both a personal story of the artist and a provocation to society, but it is also the meaning and motivation that lies behind his works, from stickers to screen prints.
With his Street Art Works Obey wants to impose and provoke a reflection on the viewer; at the same time, the absence of an effective response triggers a reaction of interpretation so deep that it leads to self-reflection.
Obey's story officially began in 1989 with the campaign of stickers depicting the face of André the Giant, the famous wrestler.
The walls of Providence, where the artist studied, were the first "canvas", followed by those of other cities such as Los Angeles, Boston, New York. The choice to use the face of the wrestler stems from a personal anectode of the artist: Obey, wanting to teach a friend how to create a stencil, accidentally chose from a magazine the image of André the Giant, signing "André the Giant has a posse". From this first work, which Obey calls "a fortunate accident of Sticker Art", thousands of stickers and posters have been produced to date. André the Giant's image in itself means nothing and the public only notices the sticker when it is seen everywhere: this phenomenon, voluntarily designed by Obey, contains the meaning of his art, which creates a reflection on advertising and communication in our society. The artist then creates a campaign from this image, which soon became an icon; the provocative intent lies in the meaning: the ability to manoeuvre people at will, thus inducing the viewer to reflect on what surrounds him.
In 1998 Mozilla.org decided to invest in the artist Shepard Fairey and his Street Art.
Obey was called by the now dissolved Netscape Communications Corporation to redesign the mascot Mozilla, from which the open source browser Mozilla.org would take its name. With the launch of this web browser, the design of its logo was also remade, providing a more professional image than the old mascot green and purple lizard.
Hence Obey designs a larger, more imposing and more powerful red and black Tyrannosaurus rex. This collaboration with the world's most widely used browser immediately helps to increase Fairey's worldwide popularity.
Obey Clothing is Obey's clothing brand born in 2001. When his artistic career is already underway, between street walls and galleries, Shepard Fairey decides to spread his message of rebellion in the world of fashion. Street Artist Obey thinks that one of the easiest ways to get a message across and spread his brand is to put it on the clothes of people who inevitably will walk around the streets.
So he founded Obey Clothing, the well-known clothing company, as an extension of his work in activism. The Obey logo, the Obey writing and André the Giant's face are reproduced on sweatshirts and t-shirts sold all over the world that echo her brand.
Like Andy Warhol with his Pop Art, Obey also makes the most important celebrities in the world the protagonists of his Street Art Paintings.
During the 2008 presidential elections in the United States, Obey produced the Hope Manifesto. In this poster the face of Barack Obama, accompanied by the words "Hope", "Change" and "Vote", is reproduced in quadrichromia and becomes the icon of the election campaign of the future American president. However - rightly - Obama's electoral committee never formalized the collaboration with the artist, since the posters were illegally hung, as per Street Art tradition. Art critic Peter Schjeldahl defines this poster a masterpiece as "the most effective American political illustration since Uncle Sam's time". After his victory, President Obama sent a letter to the artist, which was later made public, thanking him for his support, creative contribution and participation in the change he had given to his campaign.
Exit Through The Gift Shop is Banksy's first documentary, starring Mr. Brainwash (Thierry Guetta).
The documentary was born from Guetta's idea of documenting Banksy, but given Mr. Brainwash's incredible biography, the subject of the film becomes Mr. Brainwash himself.
During the film Obey is mentioned as one of the most important street artists, who continues to engage in Street Art, although his paintings are sold and exhibited in galleries around the world.
As the docu-film proclaimed Mr. Brainwash's official entry into Street Art, so Obey's presence in this documentary confirms his great importance in the world of Street Art.
Obey's artistic style has now become a logo with powerful messages.
His art - a manifesto in which the image becomes an icon - has been at times compared to the king of Pop Art Andy Warhol, who creates a series of portraits of famous people.
In Obey's history, most of them are political figures, such as Nixon, Mao, Bush and Nelson Mandela.
His posters are all characterized by the unmistakable style of the artist: the figures are static and stylized in the forms in full Street Art style.
Obey opts for the predominance of simplicity in the use of strong primary colors and strong and sharp contours that create a strong contrast between the forms.
In addition, the quadrichromia technique, the one most used to print posters, is often recurrent and emphasizes the absence of realism.
The power of Sticker Art, and more generally of Street Art, is to be able to spread an idea and a message, offering the public the right (and strong) visual stimuli through the use of graffiti; Obey is an example of this great current of Contemporary Art. If the word is only one of the forms of communication, the image has an even greater power for its universal meaning. Therefore, Street Art plays a fundamental role: it is the only art that is considered "pure" because of its non-corruptible nature, not dominated or controlled by any (governmental) institution. The reaction that Obey wants to provoke in the viewers concerns the reflection on the real meaning of the things that surround him. The message of his art is to "ask questions about everything"; we need to reflect on what surrounds us, without letting ourselves be manipulated at will by society.
Deodato Art Gallery offers Street Art lovers - and not only - some types of artworks from the production of Obey, artist of posters and prints. Deodato Art offers in its collection three different categories of artworks, which are part of its wide production.
The screen prints are famous and sought-after all over the world: Obey first creates the sticker, which becomes over time a screen print in a unique style Street Art. Some of them are made in such a limited number of units - about 7 - that they are considered unique pieces on the market; this gives not only a very high value but also a less modest price. One of the examples of these works is represented by the fascinating "Rose Girl": Obey proposes an enchanting girl surrounded by red roses, creating an artwork with an extremely refined and suggestive taste.
With the posters Obey became known for his art and his visions of this. Among the main artworks we cannot fail to mention: "André theGiant", "Rose Girl." "Power” "Society of Destruction”; specifically the last two are an invective against the society of great power. Starting from the stencils with which he created his first works of Street Art, the artist developed a work full of an alternative and charismatic style. The most famous example of Obey's posters is offered by André the Giant. His career as an internationally renown artist began with the - random - choice of using the face of the famous wrestler to create an icon and today he has become the model and icon of all his work in Street Art. Obey managed to build his career thanks to his genius.
Finally, part of his artistic production is dedicated to Album Covers: Obey is inspired by his passion for Rock music and Punk music and creates record covers that convey the same power and energy as the music itself, as well as its democratic character. These works, with their very special characteristics, are reminiscent in many ways of his first stencils, but they are transposed onto different supports (paper and sometimes aluminium). This is the case with "Original Groove", an extravagant screen-print and collage on paper, signed and numbered in original by the artist and considered a unique piece, since there are only 8 of them in the world.
If you are interested in the extraordinary artistic production and prices of artworks by Obey, Milan hosts the collection at the Deodato Art Gallery. Obey's art can be browsed online or in one of our galleries together with a a wide selection of artworks of Contemporary and Modern Art. The artworks of the artist and icon of Street Art Obey are searched worldwide for their value. Market prices increased over time thanks to the artist's development of highly original, communicative and fascinating art, which emerges from the street but reaches the top of the market.
Obey's artworks are for anyone who wants to own art with significant content about our society today. If you want to see Obey's artworks by person, visit the Gallery Deodato Arte in one of the three stores, our team will be at your complete disposal to guide and advise you. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information!