Shepard Fairey: War By Numbers

Addicted Art Gallery
May 29, 2022 11:42AM

In 2007, Shepard Fairey released “War By Numbers”. It was his reaction to the thought of being a part of a society that cultivates the justification of killing foreign innocent children, and people for that matter, to protect the American idea of freedom and democracy.

Title: War by Numbers (Red)

Medium: Hand signed, limited edition screenprint on paper

Edition: #161/300

Year: 2007 Size: 60.9cm x 45.7cm

Question Everything

In the words of the artist:

“Tactics to create a climate of fear are nothing new. LBJ [Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States from 1963 to 1969] escalated U.S. military presence in Vietnam as soon as he took office. The irony is that as we worry about outside threats to our kids, we are creating a culture where it is fine to bomb kids from other countries like Vietnam or Iraq. The Iraqi civilian body count due to U.S. forces is between 56 and 62 thousand. No wonder there isn’t a lot of popular support in Iraq for the American versions of freedom and democracy. I feel just as bad for our troops who are being killed. Now we are mired in a civil war that is terrible for us and them. Try to keep in perspective that for every media image of a disabled U.S. veteran of the war in Iraq, there are 20 Iraqis who are in a similar or worse situation.” [Source: Shepard Fairey, Obey Giant, 2007]

Earlier in May, Shepard Fairey, in collaboration with Ernesto Yerena Montejano, released a new variant of "War By Numbers” as a reminder that the quest for peace requires perpetual vigilance, and the current invasion of Ukraine is a reminder of the brutality of war. The image is a reminder not to become desensitised by war to the extent that it becomes as banal as a paint-by-numbers painting.

Title: War by Numbers (Gold)

Medium: Hand signed, limited edition screenprint on paper

Edition: #53/300

Year: 2007

Size: 60.9cm x 45.7cm

About Shepard Fairey

Street artist, graphic designer, activist and illustrator; these are just a few of the words used to describe the diverse talents of Frank Shepard Fairey.

One of today's most influential street artists, Fairey began his career in the skateboarding scene creating stickers, in particular the famous, "André the Giant Has a Posse." Fairey is known for his varied use of media that includes stencils, screenprints, collages and works on wood, metal and canvas. Fairey's diversity is exemplified by his works as a "fine" artist as well as a commercial artist and businessman.

The influence of politics and powers of the day feature heavily in Fairey's work and he explains his driving motivation as being to, "question everything". He is focused on creating art that everyday people can relate to and his work can often be found in public art spaces.

The American OBEY artist produced the iconic Barack Obama "Hope" poster during the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Following Obama's win the image was procured by the Smithsonian Institution for inclusion in its National Portrait Gallery.

Fairey's works have been incorporated in the collections of the Smithsonian, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art - New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Art - San Diego, the National Portrait Gallery - Washington D.C., and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London."I want to reach people through as many different platforms as possible. Street art is a bureaucracy-free way of reaching people, but T-shirts, stickers, commercial jobs, the internet - there are so many different ways that I use to put my work in front of people."

Artist: Shepard Fairey

Addicted Art Gallery