The topic of Shepard Fairey has been a hot and cold subject with artists and designers over the past few years, and the arguement has recently been thrust into the spotlight with the lawsuit over his photo referencing for the now famous Obama poster. There are those who disagree with Fairey and his work calling him a plagiarist (see Obey Plagiarist Shepard Fairey), while others are coming to his defence as an artist (see The Medium is the Message).
Given the nature of Fairey’s art and his methods of appropriating found imagery, the argument is quite understandable and I’ve read countless valid points on both ends of the spectrum. Obey Giant blurs a lot of lines. I have been following Fairey’s work since 1998, discovering his website shortly before I graduated from college and entered my career as a designer. I watched him grow from an obscure street artist with a modest selection of posters for sale to the almost household name he is today. His work and ambition has been a constant inspiration for me as an artist, and I’m sure many others.
The reasons for my supporting Shepard Fairey are mostly personal as I believe in him and the work he is doing. He’s not afraid to stand up for what he believes in, which is obvious given the political and social subject matter he deals with in his art. In his book Supply and Demand he cites many of his inspirations, sources and reference material outlining how he goes about making his art and the ideas they hold.
Creating the poster above is my own small way of showing support to one of my favorite artists, and I completely understand and respect that some do not agree. This is a touchy subject, so please feel welcome to voice your thoughts on the matter. A healthy dialogue on such topics are always good.
As far as this poster goes, I will be printing a very small run of 40 to be given away to those interested in showing their support for Shepard. I will write a post soon on how I will make these available.
And for the record, I used the press photo of Fairey from this article to construct my design :)