Obey Design – Shepard Fairey  

During the 2000s, Shepard Fairey is the popular straight artist. At the beginning, he thinks that André the Giant sticker it’s an inside joke, he is just having fun. He likes to think that the more stickers are they out there, the more important they will be and more people will want to know and ask each other what those stickers mean. Fairey and his friends created paper, stickers and posters with an image of the wrestler André the Giant as an inside-joke to start his project and began clandestinely in Providence, Rhode Island and the rest of the Eastern United States.


André René Roussimoff was born in May 19, 1946 and died in January 27, 1993. He is a well know professional wrestler and actor. André René’s best-remembered acting role was that of Fezzik, the giant in the film The Princess Bride. Because of the acromegaly, he was bigger than most people, and that led him to being called “The Eighth Wonder of the World”. And in the World Wrestling Federation (now known as WWE), André was a one-time WWF Champion and a one-time WWF World Tag Team Champion.


The reason Fairey wanted to start the OBEY project, because he said: “The Andre The Giant sticker was just a spontaneous, happy accident. I was teaching a friend how to make stencils in the summer of 1989, and I looked for a picture to use in the newspaper, and there just happened to be an ad for wrestling with Andre The Giant and I told him that he should make a stencil of it. He said ‘Nah, I’m not making a stencil of that, that’s stupid!’ but I thought it was funny so I made the stencil and I made a few stickers and the group of guys I was hanging out with always called each other The Posse, so it said Andre The Giant Has A Posse, and it was sort of appropriated from hip-hop slang – Public Enemy, NWA and Ice-T were all using the word.”

At 2001,OBEY Clothing was formed and it was founded on the art, design and ideals of Shepard Fairey. OBEY is such a big brand now and it all started with a sticker. Fairey was just trying things out at the beginning, he didn’t know his idea would be such a success, but he was following the golden rule of advertising. When you are watching TV shows or watching a movie at the movie theater, there are so many advertisements at the beginning of the show, people pay a lot of money to do the advertisement and make pay to repeat it as much as possible so people can see it. They want people to remember them, remember their products and make people to buy their products or service. Fairey also wanted the same thing, he put a lot of artworks and stickers around the city, which made people wonder what they meant and why they were everywhere. It’s a really powerful thing to repeat the same thing again and again. He didn’t spend a lot of money on his advertisement but it worked better than the one from big companies.

I know a lot of people say Fairey was putting the stickers and the big posters around the city are illegally, since he didn’t have a permit to put them up, but on the other hand they are street art at the same time as advertisement. Street art gives the city a different look; they give the city more personality. Whether it is illegal or not, street art is everywhere, in different cities and different corners, it is the power of street art. The OBEY campaign is based on the “So It Yourself” counterculture of punk rock and skateboarding, but it also has the idea of popular culture, commercial marketing and political messaging. The T-shirts design uses a lot of classic military design elements, work wears basics and as well as the same elements and cultural movements, Fairey had based his art career on.

All in all, the OBEY campaign is a great project; it proves the truth in the advising world. It doesn’t matter which way you begin to do your projects, like with OBEY, even with only a sticker you can succeed to create something great, you just need a lot of work and a good idea. Shepard Fairey is a good example. When you are doing or starting something, you have to believe yourself and do something you love. Try something in different way and see if it works. He is very lucky, he was having a lot of fun doing what he likes to do and now OBEY became a huge success.

Works Cited:

Exit through the Gift Shop 2010. Madman, 2010. Film.


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