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This Street Artist Has Spent The Last 25 Years Spreading Positive Propaganda Around The World

Shepard Fairey has made us obey and given us hope. Here's how he does it.

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Shepard Fairey is an American street artist, designer, and activist whose work has appeared on walls and in galleries around the world.

Titan Books

During his 25-year career, the outspoken artist has created some of the most recognisable work in the street art movement, inspiring generations of artists such as Banksy.

He is perhaps most famous for the 2008 Obama campaign poster, and for propaganda-style imagery featuring his iconic “obey” motif.

This originated in 1989, when he designed a sticker featuring then WWF wrestler André the Giant. That sticker evolved into the image seen above – a stylised version of André the Giant’s face, often accompanied by the word "Obey", inspired by the 1988 science-fiction film They Live.

Fairey said of the design: “The André the Giant sticker was just a spontaneous, happy accident.”

“I was teaching a friend to make stencils and I looked for a picture to use in the newspaper, and there just happened to be an ad for wrestling with André the Giant. I thought it was funny, so I made the stencil.”


Over the years his imagery has been repeatedly copied and parodied, and Shepard has evolved from a sticker-bombing vandal to a presidential campaigner and gallery artist.

Titan Books

Fairey's art often involves satirical images of war, such as this girl playing with the grenade. To the right you can see the "Obey" image hidden in text.


"It’s hopefully inspiring or provocative, and I raise a lot of money for charities."

Fairey made a canine-version of his Obama poster (right) to promote dog adoption, with proceeds from poster sales going to a good cause.

Images taken from Shepard Fairey, Inc, out now from Titan Books. All artwork reproduced with permission.