John Brown Publishing, October 1999
Ho ho ho, Green Giant
He is an artist who does not sign some of his work. “I don’t want people to think of art through the ego of the artist,” states graphic underground proliferator and consumptive culture dialogue-ist Shepard Fairey.
You may be familiar with Fairey through the ubiquitous street sticker of obey giant indicating that Andre has a posse or proposing the directive to “OBEY.” The image was first created in 1989 by accident as Fairey was showing a friend how to create stenciled graphics. The example he made his friend work from was an advertisement for professional wrestling. “It all started with a copier and a ball point pen and a stencil,” states Fairey with a confident tone of fatalist inevitability.
Since 1989, Fairey has created miriad posters, spraypaint stencils, art exhibitions, T-shirts and stickers bearing the likeness of the wrestler, who died in 1993. But why Andre? Explains Fairey: “He’s so ugly and big, he’s a phenomenon in and of himself.”
Fairey has also performed his billboard alterations in San Diego and San Francisco. He works without so much as a ladder, climbing up drainpipes with his materials in tow. And don’t think for a minute that he doesn’t suffer for his art – Fairey has been jailed in five cities for vadalism. Visit Fairey’s web site: www.andrethegiant.com