Shepard Fairey is a graphic artist known for his images of André the Giant and the word obey. Fairey was born in Charleston, USA and started drawing his pictures on t-shirts and skateboards as a young man and became more and more interested in art. Fairey's father is a doctor and his mother is a realtor. The artist attended Idyllwild Arts Academy in Palm Springs, USA and graduated here in 1988. At the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, USA he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1992.
On the side, Fairey worked in a skateboard store. This side job was a perfect fit for Fairey's burgeoning interest in street culture and graffiti. During this time, the artist also became interested in punk music. When Fairey was demonstrating stencil making to a friend, he used a simple image from a newspaper ad by French wrestler André the Giant. A short time later, Fairey used this stencil to create graffiti with it. Two of Fairey's well-known works are Obey (1992) and Hope (2008). Hope is an iconic image of American President Barack Obama that Fairey created during the 2008 American presidential campaign.
Fairey participated in solo as well as group exhibitions. There have been solo exhibitions of the artist's work at Capsule, Birmingham, England (2000), Kantor Gallery Window, New York, USA (2003) and Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (2007). Fairey's work has been exhibited in group shows at C Pop Gallery, Detroit, USA (2001), Ducky Waddle's Emporium, Encinitas, USA (2004), and OX-OP Gallery, Minneapolis, USA (2006), among others. Fairey won the Brit Insurance Design of the Year Award in 2009 for his Hope poster.
The artist has been involved in several debates, mainly involving accusations that he used other artists' work without permission. Fairey was commissioned to design the cover for Time magazine in 2001. The Irvine Contemporary Gallery in Washington, USA represents the artist's works. Fairey lives and works in Los Angeles, USA.