Obey

Obey

Obey starts as a joke. A well structured joke considering that its consequences have been absolutely out of control up to spread like wildfire all across the planet. Shepard Fairey, a student from Providence that spent his time among campus, record shops and skate spots decides to channel his rebellious nature and DIY attitude of punk rock in a media project. Read more

Obey starts as a joke. A well structured joke considering that its consequences have been absolutely out of control up to spread like wildfire all across the planet.

Shepard Fairey, a student from Providence that spent his time among campus, record shops and skate spots decides to channel his rebellious nature and DIY attitude of punk rock in a media project. Hyped by the revolutionary message of the John Carpenter movie “They live”, where aliens hide subliminal messages for humans such as “obey, consume, reproduce and conform”, Shepard sees a coherent methaphore of modern society.

Legendary wrestler Andre The Giant was a figure that aroused reflections and evoked ancestral fears. Shepard then produces a sticker with the face of the fighter, xeroxed like it came out of a fanzine with the words “Andre The Giant has a posse”, that will become later on “Obey has a posse”.

Shepard carries on his street artist work, in love with New York graffiti, with the “fame in the shadow” logic that reigns among street art adepts. He is convinced that passion is stronger than money and he wants to leave his mark. He wants to do it in his own way, with an iconography where he juxtaposes soviet propaganda style (therefor against the US) of real or fictional personalities with a message against war, racism, media and mind control in general.

We are dealing with an artist that has no political target but promotes an individual revolution whose goal is develop consciences, breaking the chain of establishment that needs customers and no individuals.

Shepard is a inexhaustible source of ideas and keeps on working among art shows, documentaries, public works and t-shirts, representing his punk cultural heritage that doesn’t seem to extinguish in him. From a t-shirt to a cap to a clothing collection is not a quick step but it keeps on following a progressive logic that it will take him to be Obama chosen artist for his “Yes we can” campaign.

From there on his image has been seen everywhere, up to the cover of Vogue Italia, the main fashion magazine in the world. Shepard doesn’t change a bit his modus operandi, he keeps undaunted to represent alternative musicians such as Chuck D from Public Enemy or Johnny Cash in its works. With his brand Obey he found a way to collaborate with artists like Jamie Reid, Sex Pistols graphic designer, like Bad Brains, milestones of East Coast hardcore punk and even with Debbie Harry, punk rock first lady.

 

Now if you think that there are people that buy Obey knockoffs because “it’s a fashionable brand”…

 
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