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The Search to Obey: Bio

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So, before I start searching for any Shepard Fairey art here in Austin, I though I would give a quick bio on the man himself.

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Fairey was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1970. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design and obtained his B.F.A. in Illustration in 1992. During his years at RISD, he found himself influences by punk music and creating his own t-shirts using stencils. In 1989, Fairey used an image of Andre the Giant to demonstrate stencil making to a curious friend. After creating the original "Andre Has a Posse" sticker, he noticed a huge response to the image while putting these stickers up around town. After a while, he simplified the design of the image and added the slogan "Obey" underneath. This became his signature piece and has been used in several different works since while continuously evolving.

Later, Fairey gained recognition for his Obama "Hope" poster. This image became a staple during the first election Obama was involved in. There are also other versions of this poster that either have the words "Change" or "Progress" on them. Fairey found himself caught in a legal battle with the Associated Press over the poster because the image was based off of a photograph by AP photographer Mannie Garcia. After several years in court, The Associated Press and Fairey settled outside of court in January 2011. In January 2009, the original "Hope" poster was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery.

Fairey resides in Los Angeles with his wife and two daughters. Over the past few years, he has been working with several musicians and celebrities doing various pieces for these people. He also has a clothing line called "Obey" that shares imagery with his work.


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