Friday, 29 August 2008

OBEY - Shepard Fairey

OBEY is a company/brand that I always look out for, and take inspiration from its success story. Fairey created the "André the Giant Has a Posse" sticker campaign in 1989, while attending design school. This later evolved into the "Obey Giant" campaign I'm pretty sure you would have seen the posters on a wall near you. This campaign has grown via an international network of collaborators replicating Fairey's original designs. Fairey has also spun off the OBEY clothing line from the original sticker campaign, He uses the slogan "The Medium is the Message" borrowed from Marshall McLuhan.

Fairey's story shows how a simple sincere idea, can grow into multi-million company with a vision, a bit of talent and lots of dedication.

Check out Fairey explaining his story at detail here.

Key Points:

* “A lot of stuff for corporations – it’s not even that they don’t mean well, it’s just that they’re a little bit clueless as to the right way to go about addressing what skateboarders, street artists, punks, and hip-hop kids want to see. So finding someone who can be a liaison to that culture and help them deal with it authentically can be a real benefit for the artist and the company.”

* “After getting some attention for my stickers, it really opened my eyes to the idea of putting something in public that people see and get curious about. It really opened my eyes to the power of communication in public space.”

* “I think almost everything I’ve achieved has come from me perusing what I felt really strongly and passionately about and not second guessing my instincts and trying to have a level of authenticity.”

* “My idea was always to make my work seem bigger and more important that it really was. The result was, it started to resonate with a lot of underground culture types – skateboarders, people into punk music, etc – but additionally from people representing companies that wanted to identify with that demographic as well.”

* “There’s so many times where you go, ‘OK, should I be spending more time on my art or on my business?’ And I’ve found that I’m not happy doing either exclusively – that its all important.”

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