Born in February 15, 1070, Frank Shepard Fairey was a skateboard kid. Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina there wasn’t much to do but skateboard, draw and listen to the Clash, one of his favorite bands. He started his art career by drawing on skateboards and t-shirts for local kids through most of the 80s, before attending the prestigious art school, Rhode Island School of Design.
After graduating from RISD, along with friends Dave Kinsey and Phillip DeWolff, he started design studio BLK/MRKT Inc. The company specialized in guerilla marketing and had some pretty large clients including Pepsi, Hasbro and Netscape. Fairey was the designer behind the red dinosaur logo for Mozilla. In 2003 he began Studio Number One with his wife Amanda. Designing movie posters and album covers. It wasn’t until the 2008 Obama Hope poster where Farey gained worldwide recognition. A sign of his activism, he created the poster to show support to the young Senator from Illinois. He’s not all talk, he puts him money where his mouth is by donating proceeds from the Obama posters to ACLU and Feeding America, only two of the many organizations he donates money to. In 2017, Farey created the posters used in the Women's March on Washington, allowing people all over the world to download the pieces of art for free. As a type 1 diabetic, he also donates money for medical research.
Drawing influence from 50s communist propaganda and artists like Barbara Kruger, Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, Fairey has created a body of work that has already left a mark in American culture. Although he is considered a polarizing figure for his political views, no one can deny the work is powerful and beautiful. He continues to speak out against injustice and create the work to back up his work.
The mastermind behind Obey, part artist and activist, Shepard Fairey is not one to be kept quiet. His rise came by the way of the streets. As a prolific street artist, he covered walls all over the world from Los Angeles to Paris, no one was immune to the spread of the Obey campaign featuring Andre the Giant. Stickers showing up everywhere kept people scratching their heads wondering what it was all about. But it’s not the beautifully designed artwork that has people talking, it’s the message behind the work. Messages of protest against authority, that forces us to “question everything.” A voice for social and civil issues, Shepard Fairey is more than making us pay attention, he is changing mindsets with his powerful work.