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Born 1970 – United States
Frank Shepard Fairey is an American contemporary street artist, graphic designer, activist, illustrator, and founder of OBEY Clothing. He first became known for his "Andre the Giant Has a Posse" sticker campaign and is now one of the most influential and best-known street artists.
Shepard Fairey is a key figure in the creation and development of modern urban art. Emerging from the skateboarding scene and rising to prominence in the early 1990s, his street campaigns are wide-reaching and prolific, with some sparking international cultural movements. Fairey's posters, stickers, and murals are a combination of parody, subversion, and dissent and seek to disrupt the boundaries between traditional and commercial art, asking questions about notions of public space and expected behaviors. He has also made his mark as a graphic designer in both political and commercial spheres, with his work utilized in a number of very high-profile campaigns.
"People often wonder about my artistic process. I explain that I’m a product of the era of mass production and the mass culture it has created. I can’t imagine my art practice without the influence of, and the use of, printing. Some of my biggest art influences were not paintings but printed things like album covers, skateboard graphics, punk flyers, and T-shirt designs. When I discovered stencil-making and screen printing in high school, I used them to make t-shirts and stickers, but I began to use screen printing to make art in college. I enjoyed illustration, photography, collage, and graphic design separately, but I could synthesize those techniques into an integrated final product with screen printing. Screen printing also provided latitude for experimentation and the ability to make multiples, and my style began to evolve as I explored the graphic nature of the medium. I tried to create images that would translate well to screen print production. A harmony of beauty, power, and utility was my goal. The aesthetics of my paintings and fine art pieces evolved from my practice as a screen printer, rather than the other way around. Some people say print is on its way out, that digital media will wipe it out, but I say you can never replace the provocative, tactile experience of an art print on the street or in a gallery. Printing still matters."