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Shepard Fairey Works Biography


Born in 1970 in Charleston, South Carolina, Shepard Fairey is a graphic artist and muralist. In 1988, he graduated from Idyllwild Arts Academy in Palm Springs, California. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island in 1992.

As a young skateboard-obsessed art student, Shepard used his drawings in T-shirts and skateboards. While in school, he realized his desire and interest in the street art culture and graffiti movement. His work has been used in screen-prints, stencils, stickers, masking film illustrations, wheat paste, collages, sculptures, posters, paintings, and murals.

Fairey is also famous for his activism and humanitarian work. After the 2015 Paris attacks, the artist paid a tribute to the victims with the creation of a poster depicting Marianne, the French national icon, surrounded by the French motto Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. In June 2016, he reproduced the image as a mural in Paris and offered the poster to French President Emmanuel Macron. In 2007 he founded the Obey Awareness Program, a program which allows Fairey to support handpicked causes he believes in by selling specially designed merchandise and donating 100% of the profits raised. In the early 2000s, Fairey began donating to organizations like Chiapas Relief Fund or Feeding America.

Shepard Fairey’s work combines elements of graffiti, pop art, business art, and Marxist theory. His work has been seen in galleries and museums around the world. One of his most famous works includes his portrait of Barack Obama, which received the Brit Insurance Design of the Year Award in 2009.

Shepard Fairey has held numerous successful solo and group exhibitions across the world. In 2019, his solo show Facing the Giant : Three Decades of Dissent, a reflection on the last 30 years of the artist’s career, was held in Grenoble, New York, Paris, Vancouver, London, Providence and Los Angeles. The selected works address recurring topics in the artist’s career such as self-empowerment, rebellion, abuse of power, environmental destruction, racism, gender inequality, xenophobia, campaign finance reform, the military-industrial complex, propaganda, war and peace, and economic imperialism.

Shepard Fairey currently lives and works in Los Angeles.


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