SHEPARD FAIREY | POSTER DESIGN
When graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1992, Fairey was already well known among graffiti artists and fans, thanks to one of his early works of "guerilla" art, an impromptu stencil design based on an ad for Andre the Giant, a professional wrestler. Fairey made stickers of the image in the late '80s, and the image went viral, spreading far and wide through urban America, on street signs, billboards and walls.
Mixing left-wing politics with appropriated images and bold graphic design, Fairey now works as a fine artist and advertising designer, with a gallery in Los Angeles and business ventures that dip into publishing, fashion and urban sports (skateboarding). Supporters call what he does 'appropriation art', but others call it plagiarism, and Fairey's success has put him in the middle of a legal and artistic debate about who owns what when it comes to images in the public.
Many of Fairey’s posters are based on photographs of revolutionary politicians and rockstars. In this way, he creates meaning for his audience by using familiar cultural iconography. Fairey also utilizes his posters to provoke thought about hierarchies, abuse of power, and social issues.
He has been recently well known for his Barak Obama “Hope” poster (below), for which he received a personal message from the now American President.