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Shepard Fairey, Icon, 2017. Courtesy of NextStreet Gallery.

Shepard Fairey: Andre the Giant

Shepard Fairey designed his first sticker campaign, “André the Giant has a Posse,” while he was still a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. The sticker featured the late professional French wrestler alongside his legendary height and weight—seven feet, four inches, and 520 pounds. After Fairey and his skateboarding community plastered André’s face across Providence, Rhode Island, the motif took on a life of its own and began appearing in cities nationwide. Responding to this growing popularity, Fairey produced a stripped-down version of the design, which he titled Obey Giant, that soon became the artist’s logo. Obey Giant has made cameo appearances in movies and shows including Batman Forever (1999), Phone Booth (2002), and Family Guy, and the campaign was the subject of a 1996 documentary by Helen Stickler. Fairey has since modeled a number of his most iconic works after Obey Giant’s simple aesthetic, including Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign poster, “Hope.”

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